Fashion designer Maya Reik, wearing a fur coat Fashion designer Maya Reik, wearing a fur coat Maya Reik's fashion sense is inspired by the elegance and sophistication of the 1930s Art Deco movement. (Photo: Marei 1998)

You're going to want to know this 19-year-old high school dropout turned fashion designer

The fashion world is abuzz over Maya Reik, the Israeli designer whose fashion line reflects talent and sophistication way beyond her years.

You won't find too many teenagers adorning themselves in fur shrugs and silk sheath kimonos while listening to jazz and sipping Cortado coffee.

But then again, you probably haven't met Maya Reik.

The 19-year-old fresh-faced Israeli has the fashion world abuzz with her Art Deco-inspired line that exudes the kind of wisdom and talent normally seen in designers at least twice her age. She just launched her own online store, called Marei 1998, and she is getting ready to present her collection at Milan Fashion Week. She was profiled in The New York Times, and before that, Vogue.

We have a feeling you might want to know a bit more about her now.

She's a high school dropout.

Yeah, we're leading with that. Reik, who grew up in the Israeli coastal village of Beit Yanai, decided she "was just not a school girl" and dropped out at age 14. She had known since she was 6 that she wanted to be a fashion designer, so now, with that pesky high school thing out of the way, she took a few courses at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, a leading fashion institute. She also learned how to sew at a textile market in Tel Aviv. Three years later, she felt confident enough to open a fashion house, and voila: a child prodigy-turned-entrepreneur.

She does all her own sketches.

“I think I’m very independent," Reik, in the understatement of the century, told Vogue.

She wants to open a store in New York.

Expansion is definitely in Reik's sights, and there's no better place to achieve that than in the Big Apple. She did say, though, that she wants "to grow slowly and carefully." A very mature strategy, if we do say so ourselves.

She loves fur, even though she didn't grow up with it.

Israel's climate is pretty hot, which makes for a pretty casual style scene. Furs and parkas are not exactly trendy there. But on a trip to Rome as a young child, she tried on an elaborate fur coat that was way too big for her. Then she looked at herself in the mirror. It became etched in her mind, so much so that she re-created the coat with Eco-fur, her chosen material that comes from the invasive brushtail possum.

She's actually not new to the Fashion Week scene.

Time to stop calling her a designer-on-the-rise, isn't it? This is actually Reik's fourth collection to debut at a fashion show. And we have a feeling it's far from the last.

She designed her own apartment.

Reik lives in Tel Aviv with her boyfriend in a minimalist apartment that she designed herself. She also likes hot baths in the morning, which might explain the towel turban. Or maybe she just likes to wear towel turbans.


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You're going to want to know this 19-year-old high school dropout turned fashion designer
Learn why this young designer is about to take the fashion world by storm.