Text: Susan Michals
Reece Solomon is all about the slow build. Her business, Reece Hudson (that she started with fellow 26er and bestie Max Stein) has been slowly but surely building her designer handbag collection for a number of years—but it was only with this latest collection that things have really taken off. Now it’s a matter of whether or not Solomon can keep up with the demand.
Stein and Solomon met through a childhood best friend who had attended school with Max at Tulane, while Solomon attended Boston University. Soon thereafter she interned at Proenza Schouler and Rag and Bone while attending Parsons. Max was interning at the same time at Men’s Vogue and then began working closely with the Duckie Brown boys, doing their PR in house. “When I graduated from Parsons, it was a horrible, horrible job market [June 2009]. I wanted to start a line and Max wanted to build one,” said Solomon. And with that, Reece Hudson was born.
Up until the Fall 2010 collection Reece Hudson was producing in NYC—but they found it increasingly difficult to continue due to demand. “The quality wasn’t what it should be, and it was very expensive,” says the designer. “It’s fabulous for ready-to-wear, but not for leather goods.” So she opted for Italy. “We met with about 15 manufacturers, and finally found the right fit. Fall 2012 was the first collection made in Italy, and the current collection (Spring 2013) will be available at Barney’s nationwide in February. It is available now at Satine in Los Angeles, and the Alchemist in Miami.
The twosome don’t negate the power of celebrity but are in no hurry to pick a celebrity spokesperson for the brand. “When you don’t advertise, you have to be extra careful. The first three people who are seen carrying your bag are going to define your brand so much,” pipes in Stein. “My top three stars—really my absolute favorites are Rooney Mara, Mia Wasikowska, and Michelle Dockery from Downton Abbey, says the young Solomon. “I recently started watching that show and have become completely obsessed with it. And I think Rooney Mara looks so chic when she wears Givenchy. That is my favorite brand and an aesthetic I respond to. We have to get her before she gets a contract.”
Let’s not forget the fact that CFDA chose Reece recently as one of latest recipients to occupy its Fashion Incubator Studios. “We’ve got really good mentors from it, Roopal Patel has become close, and we work with Kyle Andrew who is the VP of Marketing at Kate Spade and Paul Donaher from Laird and Partners. It’s really what you make of it, but we can’t begin to say how thankful we are for these wonderful resources.”
The Spring line is filled with bursts of color as well as a variety of styles that you wouldn’t normally see in handbags – like Solomon’s custom paint finishes that are also rubberized. So just how does she describe her collection this time around? “First of all it’s urban, designed around a city girl that goes easily from day to night. This collection is more daring and playful.” Stein—the man behind the designer—adds in just one more great adjective. “My favorite word to describe these is louche. They’re all sordid in an appealing way. If something’s kind of dirty and dangerous, you want it.”