A Bronx fashion designer’s clothing sends a message

(l-r) Chyna, Jah-Mya James, Maya Mariner, Amarige Salvador, designer Edwin Reyes, Samantha Ortiz, Vanessa Rawls and Chyna Jones.
File Photo

Talk about making a fashion statement. Edwin Reyes is a 19-year-old from Hunts Point with an eye for style and social justice.

Edwin began his serious interest in design and fashion when he was a sophomore in high school.

Naturally, the Bronx High School for the Visual Arts student took interest in all types of creative art at first, especially painting.

“Around that time my friend invited me to a fashion club and at the time I liked fashion but didn’t know much about sewing or any of that, after the first time I went I just fell in love with it,” Reyes said.

It wasn’t until a lady from a local church lent Edwin her sewing machine that the designer could begin to master his craft.

“For those six months it was like a crash course,” Reyes said.

After much petitioning with his school, Edwin convinced the administration to allow him to put on his own ten-piece fashion show.

This was Edwin’s first chance to show off his style of ‘minimal with a twist.’

“I love using basic colors and patterns,” Edwin said as he showed off a blue jumpsuit he made with a pearl waistline.

The two colors he loves to work with most are both red and black.

Since Edwin’s high school days his creative style has grown astronomically.

Now, he’s created his own brand called ‘FINE by Edwin Reyes.’

Most recently Edwin put on a ‘FINE by Edwin Reyes Summer Collection Presentation Fashion Show’ on Monday, June 11 at Mott Haven Bar and Grill.

He’s in it for more than the fashion, though.

“I want my brand to represent things that are important to me,” Reyes said.

“Women’s empowerment, Puerto Rico, and equality are all represented by FINE,” the designer added.

Reyes went on to mention how he uses women of color to model his clothing, which according to Edwin is something not widely seen or done in the fashion industry.

“Also I don’t look for size zero models with perfect skin that would be in a Victoria’s Secret Show. I want this to be by real people for real people,” Reyes added.

As a proud Puerto Rican descendant, Reyes looks to work on projects dedicated to those lost in Hurricane Maria.

“I would love to make a jacket in memory to those that suffered from Maria, jackets are something I particularly love to make and work with,” Reyes said.

He also mentioned he wants to make a similar jacket design template with phrases and slogans pertaining to issues found within minority communities.

“My brand is more than a brand, I want to use it as a political icon,” Reyes said. “I want to represent equality and oppose bigotry with FINE,” he added.

If all goes according to plan, Edwin would grow his brand in New York, ending up with some real estate in Midtown while keeping the brand Bronx based. For now, he’s focusing on his latest pop-up shop at Charlie’s Bar and Kitchen in Mott Haven on Thursday, July 12.

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