Joining us in our JUKI Designer Ambassador Program is Samantha Rei! Samantha is the owner and founder of the clothing line “Samantha Rei,” a style that embodies sweetness, femininity, and attention to detail that Samantha is known for. You can see her inspiration in her work; she finds designs in everyday life and turns to music and stories when creating. Her recent collections have embodied themes from Vanitas painting and celestial-themed prints. Creating comes as second nature to Samantha, stating that creating is in her.
“It’s a primal thing. I don’t know why, but I’m driven to create. Even when it’s hard, I try to make myself because I know I’ll be happier on the other side, having made something beautiful.”
Samantha’s journey started not in sewing but comic book art! After pursuing her degree in illustrating and painting, she moved her art into a new medium and attended Minneapolis Community and Technical College for Apparel Technologies. After graduating, she created her first fashion label, “Blasphemina’s Closet” one of the first Lolita lines in the US, in 2000. Since starting her new brand, “Samantha Rei,” in 2013, she’s been featured in Huffington Post, Shojo Beat, the American Gothic and Lolita Bible, Gothic Beauty, Glamour UK, and Vogue UK. Samantha’s love for sewing over her 20+ years as a professional designer has come from the challenges and new skills she’s continued to gain. As she states, “I am constantly trying to learn new techniques. I love gaining new knowledge.”
In 2015, Samantha authored and illustrated a how-to-book on style for Steampunk and Cosplay fashion! Her favorite projects to create are those where she can fully be dramatic. It’s no secret why cosplay would be a fun hobby in fashion to her! Recently, while creating fashion designs for weddings, she’s found herself placing dramatic capes on the gowns, creating a look that is eye-catching and special on its own. Her most tremendous recent success has been designing and creating fashion looks for Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan for her inauguration and wedding.
Samantha’s experience in sewing has been one of growth. Her drive to learn has led Samantha to where she is now, and she continues to acknowledge that she doesn’t know everything and neither do others. Because of this, she strives to do better with each project and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. What once felt like a world of gatekeeping trade fashion secrets has turned into a world where knowledge is more openly shared. Social media has allowed newcomers to feel invited. Her best advice for new sewers, and one she shares with her interns, “Ask as many questions as possible and watch tutorials. And a weirdly specific tip, the Readers Digest Guide to Sewing, is the book I recommend to everyone from new sewers to my interns. Easy to follow with tons of info.”
Samantha’s next venture is exciting JUKI Lovers! You’ll be able to join Samantha soon, and in her favorite hobby, on her new YouTube series where she critiques costumes in science fiction media.
“I’m a huge geek, always have been, and I love analyzing story and world-building through what the people in the stories are wearing. I started the channel at the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s been so much fun!”
We’re so excited to have Samantha on board and can’t wait for the next project! Follow along with her sewing journey and more on our JUKI Ambassador site today here!