A few years ago, Reuben Reuel walked into a fabric store hardly expecting it to change the course of his career.
“I saw stacks of Ankara African print fabric, fell in love with it and asked myself ‘Why is no one using this fabric in a more modern way?’” said Reuel.
Now, the fabric is at the center of his line, DEMESTIK by Reuben Reuel. It’s a line that centers on brightly colored, generally African-style prints.
“Color is something that has always been a part of my life,” said Reuel. “It makes me happy, it makes other people happy.”
Everything is made in house, here in St. Louis, by Reuel and his full time seamstress. The designer started his business out of his home in Brooklyn, New York, but as he tells it, “It got to the point where I was done with New York, and wanted to find a new space to create, so in 2016 I applied for the St. Louis Fashion Fund Incubator and luckily got in.”
He followed up the move by winning a highly competitive Arch Grant the following year – a $50,000 equity-free grant and priceless support services in exchange for keeping the company based in St. Louis for at least another year, which he’s very happy to do as he sees the small St. Louis Fashion scene growing.
“There are really great talented people here in St. Louis, so St. Louis and fashion – they do go hand in hand.”
His designs have caught the attention of several well known celebrities including Beyonce, and his distinctive style is popping up more and more around town. You can learn more about Reuben Reuel and the St. Louis fashion scene in the Arts genre on hecmedia.org.