NEW YORK — When José Ramón Reyes and Fernanda Domit met at a Miami trunk show for the designer’s Reyes line in 2004, they immediately hit it off.
“We talked about fashion, film, art,” said Reyes, a Dominican Republic native who lives in New York. “Traveling, food, restaurants,” chimed in Domit, who hails from Mexico and now lives in Miami.
To the industry, Reyes is probably best known for the contemporary line he launched in 2001 but shuttered in 2009, while Domit was working as a freelance fashion writer and creative director of resort-inspired loungewear label DNAxy. “We were talking about what we could do,” Domit said over tea with Reyes on a recent day in the NoMad Hotel’s library. “People always ask me things like ‘What do I wear to the wedding?’ or ‘Where do I buy this?’”
And so the two came up with their recently launched The Custom Project, a wardrobe building and personal image consultation service that aims to lift the global style scale through a step-by-step program, starting with closet editing and organization. “We take everything we feel needs to be taken out, and mark everything we feel might needs alteration or certain modification,” explained Reyes. “We bring in a rack, put everything out there and start organizing and merchandising the closet as it would be in a boutique — by color, shapes, silhouettes.”
This is followed with a makeover of existing items worth keeping, with the duo working with tailors to tweak ill-fitting clothes. Simultaneously, they help clients shop for new merchandise, partnering with designer showrooms and retailers to offer them a curated selection to choose from. “We also come up with a list of suggestions of what we feel are voids in the clients’ closet,” noted Reyes. “We then put looks together for every occasion depending on their lifestyle and needs. We photograph them and create a look book.”
While Reyes and Domit are currently running The Custom Project on a case-by-case basis, they are still ironing out the financials; their tentative plan is to charge a to-be-determined yearly membership and monthly service fees so they can continuously update a client’s closet with new pieces.
Domit and Reyes partnered with Teal Orbit, a New York-based social media marketing, design and development agency, to develop a digital app using proprietary virtual closet software that, when launched early next year, will allow customers to interact directly with their closet. “They can find everything they have in their closet already styled for them and categorized,” said Reyes of the app. “There will also be history for special occasions, like when and where the client wore specific looks.” In other words: a modern-day device for “Clueless” heroine Cher Horowitz, who famously put her daily outfits together via a computer program.