At just 20 years old, Baltimore designer Menyelek Rose is quickly ascending to great heights within the fashion industry.
Self-taught Baltimore designer Menyelek Rose put on a buzzworthy show at the recently-concluded New York Fashion Week. (Courtesy photo)
Rose participated in his fourth New York Fashion Week on Sept. 9 and plans to premiere a new collection soon.
“Fashion Week was the beginning of the beginning,” Rose said.
Rose’s unique designs are drawing praise from high-profile fashion publications such as Vogue.
“Rose is giving the folksy aesthetic a new life…the lush and cozy pieces are head turning…the clothes have an undeniable cool,” Liana Satensein wrote in Vogue. Rose’s Fashion Week collection featured oversized cozy crotchet creations, such as those seen on prominent rapper Young Thug, and Rose’s deconstructed take on business casual attire.
A Randallstown High school graduate, Rose realized he had a passion for fashion at a young age and nurtured his interest by teaching himself how to design and sew.
“I first noticed that I loved fashion when I was in middle school, I used to go around distressing people’s jeans and in high school I taught myself how to sew completely through trial and error,” Rose said. “I’ve never had any formal training, no one ever taught me how to do what I do, I just learned through making mistakes and correcting them. I taught myself how to do everything, whether it was through YouTube tutorials or experimenting I figured it out on my own.”
Although many artists and designers draw inspiration from their hometowns, Rose decided to seek out influences elsewhere.
“Baltimore is beginning to become a place that nurtures and supports creativity, but when I was growing up it wasn’t,” he said. “Being from Baltimore had no influence on my style, my influences were Kanye, A$AP Rocky, different designers and styles from Paris and Milan. My style isn’t really representative of Baltimore or influenced by Baltimore.”
“When I start designing I don’t really have an idea in mind or know what I’m doing, I just get a new piece fabric and start cutting, wherever the cutting takes me I just create something new,” Rose added. “Even when I’m creating a show I don’t really know what the outcome will be. All I know is that in the past I’ve been successful. Not knowing precisely what I’m doing or what direction I’m headed in has taken me very far, things are moving fast and going well but a lot of things are unpredictable. The uncertainty is my biggest obstacle, the not knowing where things will take me and what the outcome of all this will be.”
Although initially an obstacle, uncertainty has become a ruling force in Rose’s life and he has learned to embrace as well as appreciate it.
“This year has been one of the greatest years of my life thus far, I didn’t know that Vogue was going to be watching me and I’d be doing editorials and participating in Fashion Week and working with celebrity stylists and seeing my clothing on artists like Young Thug and Cardi B.,” Rose said.
“These big designers now are in their late 40’s or 50’s and I’m doing all of this now. At 20 years old I’ve become a part of the fashion hierarchy, and I’m considered an actual designer,” he added. “I didn’t know I’d sell out in VFiles three times in less than a week, I didn’t know I’d sell out in LA at H.Lorenzo in a week, I didn’t know people would love my clothing that much. I can’t really say what the future holds for me because I didn’t predict any of those things, and I really don’t know where I’ll be in a few years and I don’t even want to know. I just hope for the best, as we all should for ourselves.”
To preview Rose’s next collection and view the rest of his work, visit http://www.menyelek.com/