Ilana Fish
Introducing you to the World of Israeli Fashion

Israel: Fashioning a Legacy

If fashion were a baby, then France would be its mother. Known as the birthplace of Haute Couture,  France became an authority on fashion in the mid 1600’s, under the rule of King Louis XIV when he decided to take over the commerce of luxury goods.

If France is fashion’s womb, then the UK is its cool, cigarette smoking, yet prim aunt. She cares about impeccable tailoring, a la Savile Row and even the toilet paper in her loo is adorned with the Burberry check print.

The cool, cultured and aloof older sister, by the name of Italia is known for her buttery soft leather that is meticulously chosen from the best hides and made by the very best craftsmanship and care.

All of these countries have had centuries to perfect their craft and build their mammoth fashion houses. But what about Israel? What legacy does this 71-year-old country posses? Some may look at this nascent nation and scoff at its “fashion”. I on the other hand, stand in humbled awe.

After the miraculous hurdle of statehood was crossed, the young country began cultivating both the land and their presence on the international stage. Roads  necessitated paving, Cities required building, crops needed sowing and the country needed trained protection. The byproduct f this industrious period was a kind of austerity and sense of urgency.  These highly consequential  undertakings hardly left room for designing clothes and curating personal style.

This industrial, frugal, tough and determined climate permeated into the Israeli people’s choice of dress. From the navy and khaki uniform that embodied the strong social laborer to the Middle Eastern caftans embroidered with Eastern European motifs, Israel slowly began forging her unique identity.

Maskit handmade Israel Vintage 1970s Black Maxi Tent Dress With Handmade Embroidery
Maskit 1960s Embroidered Burgundy Heavy-Weight Cotton Caftan

Many factors have gone into (and still continue to go into) shaping Israel’s fashion legacy. Whether it was fleeing pogroms, the Nazis, defying vast armies or getting to know the land on a very physical and intimate level, the Jewish people and their state persevered because there was simply no other option.

This unique mix of a “nothing to lose, only to gain” mentality, genuine curiosity  for pushing limits (Hello, Silicon Wadi) and a shpritz, (or a handful- depending who you ask) of chutzpah is at the heart of  what makes Israeli fashion so unique, remarkable and just plain kick-ass.

Israel is that individualistic girl you spot at the party, compliment her on her unique sartorial choices, only to be pleasantly surprised  that everything you see her wearing is handmade from recycled industrial plastic and 3D-printed fibers.

These are just some  of the incredible designers  that I believe embody this zeitgeist beautifully:

Noa Raviv – already a household name for those in-the-know, Noa is known for turning grid patterns into visual feasts. Raviv used a glitch she found in her CAD models and used this “mistake” to create breathtaking wearable art.
Tooshaya – a mother-daughter brand that gets their inspiration from nature. All their deliciously cozy pieces are made of 100% sustainable materials, such as soy, bamboo, linen etc).
MeDusa – what do you get when you mix industrial plastic with crossbody bags, totes and wallets? Answer: MeDusa! MeDusa came to life when Adi Gal and Gili Rozin Tamam searched for a way to bring innovative textiles into the fashion and accessories industry.
Danit Peleg – Wha started as Danit’s graduation collection in 2015 using a desktop 3D printer has morphed into the ultimate 3D-printed sustainable clothing brand. Danit’s ultimate goal: a world where anyone will be able to buy files and print clothes at home or at designated store.
Tamara Efrat- This collection titled, “Crafted Technology” explores how computer algorithms can mix with 18th and 19th century traditional folk embroidery to enhance the original characteristics of embroidery and turn it into practical three-dimensional objects of diverse textures and configurations.

About the Author
Ilana Fish is a writer originally from the Philadelphia area, currently living in Manhattan with her husband, Adam. She received her B.B.A in fashion marketing and international business and is the founder of Sababa in the City, the first fashion blog solely dedicated to Israeli Fashion. When she isn't writing, you can find her exploring the many museums NYC has to offer, going on architectural walking tours or pursuing the ever-elusive perfectly coated everything bagel with lox and scallion cream cheese.
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