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“I’M A MIDWESTERNER” Fashion Icon Dominates the Region

[pullquote]”I DON’T LIKE TO LABEL MYSELF .”[/pullquote]

From the  Midwest comes originality, creativity, and individuality in fashion from local designer, Rahphael Hunter .

Hunter’s presence along with masculine demeanor dominates the small Chicago coffee shop  upon entry, comes across casual, but confident.  He began studying fashion in the heart of the city and as a student he was drawn to both fashion and graphic design.  But in 2012, after dropping out of fashion school, he launched STS33, a design company that was created from his own masterful vision.

The next line for STS33 is scheduled to be released in early summer of 2013.  For this collection, Hunter was inspired by two unlikely ideas: African masks and legendary hip-hop album covers from Lauryn Hill, Nas, Notorious B.I.G, and others.  With this collection, Hunter created a fashion statement by painting a distinctive picture of what fashion truly consists of: Creativity and Individuality.  It is in the same vein that Hunter’s first collection, “Future’s Past Due,” used the 1960s obsession with technology to create a pop culture statement in 2012.

Rahphael Hunter,is originally from Cleveland Ohio. Release his first male collection in the spring of 2012 . The second one will come out late spring of 2013
Rahphael Hunter is originally from Cleveland Ohio.

He appeared to be lost in his thoughts and occasionally shy in front  the camera.   He speaks in a halting tone as he changes the subject and declares his devotion and love not just for design but art.  He acknowledges his admiration for the late, great Alexander McQueen, a forward thinking designer whose influence has been felt throughout all design disciplines and whose work now dress the halls of major art museums throughout the world.  Also like McQueen, Hunter is able to gather inspiration from just about anything, from architecture to art and history.  For him, design concepts can manifest in the most unlikely of places.

Hunter is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and speaks highly of the city, but it was his need for change that drove him to Chicago.  Both cities and their inherent Midwestern vibe, have been influential in the shaping of his brand.  .

The clothing line  design company  “STS33” stands for the statement, “style through substance” and as for the number –

Hunter says, ” It can have a lot of different meanings. ” He believes in allowing people to develop their own interpretation. He gazed out of the coffee shop window as if the meaning  was right out there in  front of him.

Hunter notes that branding the clothing line is difficult.

“You know I struggle with marketing to a specific demographic because STS33 is for people who are comfortable in their own skin and this is not bound by demographics.  The mission is more about the person than it is the clothes.”

Hunter explained the overall concept of substance,  sharing that STS33 is more than  just a fashion line. “It’s core principle and is  framed upon the notion that what’s inside, (the substance,) is what brings about confidence and true style,” he said .

Styling with T-shirt

Hunter’s body language shifts again, his well-worn cowboy boots tap the tiles of the coffee shop.  The boots blend well with his classic Levi’s jeans.  The t-shirt he wears represents his first release and fashion breakthrough, “This is Only A Test.”  The well-cut shirt boldly dominates his look while still complimenting the rest of his outfit.  Much like his effortless personal style, Hunter portrays the same confidence in his business, and is clear in stating, “Failure is not an option. ”  Not for STS33, and not for Hunter himself.

It seemed  evident from his body language and the pauses of his speech that Hunter was setting out to  bring awareness .

“Awareness is a factor because personal balance is the key to true success,” he said .

He strokes his beard and continues to dig down deep into his own thoughts and continued  “See when you are aware you don’t sweat the small shit.”


And when you’re not aware , Hunter claims, “Well…then you’re just out here living , living without any substance.”

He says he hopes to bring awareness not only to Chicago, but to the industry as well.  For Hunter, personal awareness has easily grown into something larger, the urge to give back to our communities.  Having grown up in Cleveland, he’s familiar with street violence and when it comes to Chicago’s plight, he says he’s well aware.

“I see the violence and it’s fucked up, all we can do is try to focus on the positive and do our [STS33] part in the communities,” he said.

“The mission is not just about money, we look forward to finding unique ways to give back,” says Hunter, explaining that there’s many exciting things to come.  He continues to develop more ideas and plans on expanding the line and adding more to each collection.  He doesn’t plan on leaving Chicago anytime soon, as he has much more to accomplish in the big city.

Regardless, Chicago is the best city for the birthplace of Style Through Substance. “I’m not shitting on any other cities but Chicago is NICE,” he laughs.
In the midst of what many would call a troubled city, Hunter has worked overtime to bring back culture and focus; this is part of his overall mission, he says.  But it is the mission today that will set him apart from any other designer.  He calls himself “just a Midwesterner at heart” but Chicago overnight has declared him a “fashion icon.”

STS33 clothing line , was created in Chicago by Fashion Designer Rapheal Hunter , who has plenty of more projects to come.
STS33 clothing line , was created in Chicago by Fashion Designer Rapheal Hunter , who has plenty of more projects to come.


STS33 will be sold online, please visit to shop and for more updates on fashion shows and appearances.


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