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Meet Maya Reik, the 19-Year-Old Israeli Designer Showing in Milan

By Alex Hawgood

 
Dan Balilty
 

Name: Maya Reik

Age: 19

Hometown: Beit Yanai, a small seaside village on the coast of Israel.

Now Lives: In a minimalist apartment in the center of Tel Aviv that she designed and shares with her boyfriend.

Claim to Fame: Reik is the self-taught designer behind Marei 1998, an ultra-luxe fashion line based in Tel Aviv that includes Carolyn Bessette-esque silk sheath dresses and fur-trimmed robes that nod to the romantic Art Deco period of the 1930s. Started less than two years ago, the brand’s timeless design has been praised by Vogue and will soon be carried by the upscale online boutique Moda Operandi. “We have customers that are 17, and we have customers that are 70 plus,” she said. “It is for every woman.”

Big Break: At 14, she dropped out of high school (and dodged military service) to enlist in fashion history courses at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art in Ramat Gan, Israel. (Notable alumni include designer Alber Elbaz.) Between classes, she apprenticed at a handful of textile boutiques along Tel Aviv’s trendy Nahalat Binyamin Street. Three years later, at just 17, she had gained enough confidence to fly solo. “It seems funny to say, but I was mature enough to start a fashion house,” she said.

Dan BaliltyMaya Reik, a nineteen-year-old self-taught fashion designer whose brand, Marei 1998, has caught on with high-end retailers, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sept. 11, 2017. Reik works in a timeless style that hearkens to the romantic Art Deco period. “We have customers that are 17, and we have customers that are 70 plus,” she said. “It is for every woman.”
Maya Reik, a nineteen-year-old self-taught fashion designer whose brand, Marei 1998, has caught on with high-end retailers, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sept. 11, 2017. Reik works in a timeless style that hearkens to the romantic Art Deco period. “We have customers that are 17, and we have customers that are 70 plus,” she said. “It is for every woman.”

Latest Project: Next week Marei 1998 will open its own online store. Reik said she wants her new site to feel like an open book. “It will be a fun online diary type of thing,” she said a few weeks before the e-commerce site went live. “I am going to show how you can wear outfits to the office or an event. If the customer relates to a look I put on me, they can buy it.”

Next Thing: Reik will present her latest collection at Milan Fashion Week this month in the 154-year-old Grand Hotel et de Milan. “The windows and the floors of that hotel really inspire me,” she said. In October, she will showcase her historically minded pieces in New York.

Role Model: She has several portraits hanging throughout her apartment that show her mother in her days as a young model. “A few days ago, I talked to my mom about doing a small photo shoot or something with her, and she got very excited,” she said. “She has such good energy, so I’m sure the day I am shooting with her will be very fun.”