Marei 1998, from designer Maya Reik, announced a furless spinoff collection. Marei 1998, from designer Maya Reik, announced a furless spinoff collection. Marei 1998, from designer Maya Reik, announced a furless spinoff collection. (Photo: Marei 1998)

By going 'furless,' young designer attracts fashion's biggest stars

20-year-old Maya Reik's faux fur collection is making moves in Hollywood, and it's turning the young Israeli into a fashion heavyweight.

At the age of 19, Israeli Maya Reik cemented herself as a major player in the international fashion world. Three years ago, she launched her own fashion line, called Marei 1998, and presented her collection at Milan Fashion Week shortly thereafter. She was profiled in the New York Times, and before that, Vogue. So it should come as no surprise that she's managed to catch the eyes of Hollywood's showstoppers Bella Hadid, Priyanka Chopra and Amy Adams with her latest project: an entirely faux fur collection, all made from the comfort of her Tel Aviv home.

Maya Reik's fashion sense is inspired by the elegance and sophistication of the 1930s Art Deco movement. Maya Reik's fashion sense is inspired by the elegance and sophistication of the 1930s Art Deco movement. (Photo: Marei 1998)

Reik, who grew up in the Israeli coastal village of Beit Yanai, had known since she was 6 that she wanted to be a fashion designer. She dropped out of school at age 14 and 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.

And now, she seems to have successfully faked fur. Others before her have succeeded, too, but Reik's label offers something unique, especially for someone so young: the designs are inspired by the Art Deco and Neo-Classical periods of art and fashion. With those cultural phenomena as inspiration, Reik has managed to take faux fur out of the realm of "cheap imitation" and into the style menus of high-fashion red-carpet powerhouses in Hollywood.

Another standout in Reik's presentations is the appearance of the designer herself. The fresh-faced Reik has mastered the brooding, pensive look that high-fashion models must exude. "Pull the car around, James," we imagine her saying, whilst sipping her chamomile tea.

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But, we can't help wondering, how did this native Israeli acquire a taste for fur? The country's climate is fairly hot, after all, which makes for a pretty casual style scene. Well, let Reik explain: 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. And from then on, she decided fur was for her.

Indeed, Reik's inspiration comes from the most personal of sources. One of her career goals is hosting lifestyle events designed to improve mental health, an idea she collaborated on with her mother, a psychologist. “I see so many people my age, and older and younger, who are suffering from anxiety and depression," Reik told WWD. "I would like to create lifestyle events where people could get help, talk together, create art and get out together.”

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By going 'furless,' young designer attracts fashion's biggest stars
20-year-old designer Maya Reik designed an entire fashion line from faux fur.