Aariel Maliya, a Junior Fashion Design major at Clark Atlanta University, decided to take the pandemic by storm by creating a clothing line business in 2020. Aariel is a fashion designer whose business, REL, consists of custom personally hand crafted garments.
“I’ve always wanted to be a designer since I was a kid. I’ve been working part time jobs since I was 15 & having to work through school, I was tired of working for other people,” Maliya said, “So when covid hit, I took my chance & been working for myself ever since.”
Maliya takes pride in creating all of her pieces by hand. Maliya shared that she got her business name from her sixth grade teacher, “ I was telling him I wanted my own clothing line & he suggested the name REL. He said “if you sound it out it sounds like your name’ and he was right! So ever since then that’s been the name for my brand.” While REL has had a lot of revenue, the fashion designer’s most popular item are stacked jogging pants. Maliya’s proudest moment was the creation of her “Butterfleë pants” The designer said, “The print was so raw and I got a lot of great feedback. I felt like I proved what I am capable of. The pants sold out under 24 hours & I still get DMs to this day about them!”
While Maliya is proud to be self made, she hopes to accomplish faster turn around time. She explained that making orders by hand is extremely time consuming, and hopes to assemble a team or a manufacturer.
When asked what Maliya wants to be known by, she says, “I want to be known as Aariel Maliya, my first and my middle name. I’m not fond of my last name.”
Aariel Maliya is a very proud- emphasis on proud- native from St. Louis, Missouri. You can place a custom order from her website rel.squarespace.com to support small Black owned businesses.