New York Fashion Week Returned September 8th and Tried Very Hard To Be Politically Correct. But, What Happened To The Jewish Designers?
New York Fashion Week came and went. I was fortunate enough to attend several shows in one day, because as usual, September shows usually coincide with the Jewish holidays. This year’s shows competed with September 11th anniversary commemorations, a new COVID rise with mask and vaccination mandates and a rise in crime in New York City, causing some concerns among designers, attendees and business insiders.
Here Is My Concern
New York Fashion Week was actually Black Fashion Week. I attended shows featuring gorgeous clothes by Black designers, sat in mostly Black audiences and even attended shows with my BFF, who happens to be Black.
That was not the problem.
The issue is when the fashion business became WOKE. When the fashion associations highlighted shopping for Black fashion designers, they did not give the same considerations to Hispanic, Asian, Native American or Caucasian designers. In an industry that suffered terribly during the pandemic, it really wasn’t right.
Coincidentally, September is Hispanic Heritage Month, yet no “Shop Hispanic Designers” logo or theme was featured.
Yes, Black Lives Matter, and Black fashion matters. But, so does All Lives Matter, and All Fashion Matters.
February hosts the other major New York Fashion Week shows. Black History Month is also February. I could understand an equation then.
I buy my clothes because of the design, fit, cost and availability. I don’t go into a department store and seek an outfit because of a designer’s skin color.
All small businesses need all customers and promotions, not just Black fashion companies.
Shop Jewish Designers
As a Jewish media personality, brand ambassador and proud activist, I realized after attending the shows and reviewing the press, I can not remain silent. Jewish fashion designers and businesses did everything to promote fashion week and the “Shop Black Designers” campaign at the expense of highlighting the Jewish fashion business and most important, the Jewish customer.
When I say Jewish customer, I mean all Jews, even Black Jews. It’s not about Tznius or modest dressing versus strapless or lingerie. It is also about accessories, beauty and makeup and the store owners.
Jews have been an important part of fashion history. We know Calvin and Anne Klein, Ralph Lauren, Elie Tahari and Diane Von Furstenberg to name a few. But our history goes much deeper. As a result of the Yiddish speaking factory workers, survivors of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911, unions for every occupation started and grew into powerful voices for job security, benefits and safe working environments.
We know how Jews developed department store shopping and how Isidor Straus died in the sinking of the Titanic.
Jews were leaders in European fashion houses before the Holocaust. Judith Lieber is the best known survivor to become a designer icon.
Gottex brought international attention to Israeli fashion and fashionable swimwear.
We should be proud. We should continue retelling the history of Jews and fashion.
Jews in the fashion industry have no problem supporting Black fashion. In fact, it seems like they support every group in the business. Do you know who they don’t support enough? Jews in the business.
There are plenty of Jews in the business, plenty of new names that are making headlines and setting trends. Yet, they don’t do enough to build a coalition and raise a voice.
Through my work in the industry, I often hear the complaints of Jewish designers, investors and shoppers of the lack of “Jewish Fashion Matters.”
Let’s change that. Please help me unite all of us. And, I mean all of us. I am talking about the religious and unaffiliated, old and young, rich or poor, wherever you live and whatever your budget.
Jewish fashion can and will unite us in ways no other area can. It is our common ground. We all wear clothes, wear accessories, follow skincare and beauty routines. Most of us desire jewelry. Fashion includes menswear and clothes for children, sportswear and shoes.
We can support Black, Hispanic, Asian, or any other designers we choose.
But, we must support international Jewish designers and fashion businesses if we are to survive and thrive. We must talk about and invest in companies like Batsheva and Jonathan Simkhai in the same way we made Donna Karan and Steve Madden household names and icons.
If we don’t start working together in a “Shop Jewish Designers” group, then we will be like the last Jew of Afghanistan. The area was once a vibrant and populated community that was forced into exile. He left for fear of death. In time, history will tell a different story or worse, forget it. Do you want our recognition in fashion to fade away?