A Riverhead native brought his passion home when he decided to open a local showroom for his 20-year-old business.
Reel2Reel, a new store located at 121 Griffing Ave. in Riverhead, is filled with hand-designed clothing and accessories from designer Rashad Lawson.
Mr. Lawson started Reel2Reel in the late 1990s, but didn’t officially make it a company until 2012. He used to sell custom watches internationally, and had no plans to open a retail store until a family friend convinced him it would be a great idea. Now that friend, Shawn Diming, is his business partner and serves as the face of the company.
“Shawn said we could be doing this here, and I said if you can create a buzz, we’ll see what happens — and he did,” Mr. Lawson said. “We’re doing great so far.”
The pair met years ago while both were working at Home Depot, where they realized that Mr. Diming was a good friend of Mr. Lawson’s brother, James Simmons, who is also a partner.
Reel2Reel sells men's and women's athletic wear, hoodies, shirts, backpacks, shoes and duffle bags — all designed by Mr. Lawson. They feature colorful designs that pop and many sport the Reel2Reel logo. It has been open to the public since February, but just held a grand opening March 24.
“People can expect creativity when they walk in,” Mr. Diming said. “You should really expect the unexpected.”
The name Reel2Reel comes from being real and true to yourself and to others, he explained.
Prices range from $20 to $250, depending on whether the shopper is looking for a T-shirt or custom sneakers.
Mr. Lawson has an art background and has been drawing since childhood. His mother was a model who made her own clothes. He designs all the items on his phone, then shares the designs with his partners, who offer critiques and opinions. Just a short two to three weeks later, the designs come to life on apparel for sale.
“We’re not just a clothing or T-shirt store, we’re a brand. A lifestyle brand,” Mr. Lawson said. “When you walk in here, you’re not going to know what to expect because there could be something different every time you come in, from jewelry to furniture. It’s whatever we’re passionate about in that week.”
Reel2Reel also sells hand-worked wooden pieces from Island’s End Woodcraft in Greenport, including custom baseball bats and jewelry boxes.
“That’s why we call it a showroom,” Mr. Lawson said. “It’s a showroom to show everything that we do. Art is ever-moving and doesn’t stay stagnant.”
Mr. Lawson and Mr. Diming pride themselves on being able to connect with the Riverhead community.
“We want to be able to reach out to all cultures in town,” Mr. Diming said.
Photo caption: Shawn Diming (left) and Rashad Lawson opened their showroom for Reel2Reel last month on Griffing Avenue in Riverhead. They sell hand-designed clothing, backpacks and other apparel items. (Rachel Siford)