TEL AVIV'S FASHION SCENE EXPOSED
Tel Aviv’s fashion scene caters to far more than beachwear and flip-flops. In recent years, the Mediterranean coastal city has emerged as a hot spot for innovative designers re-inventing what men and women wear, all the way through to jewelry and handbags. We explored the creative spaces of four emerging local designers to get skinny on the present and future of the city’s dynamic fashion and design scene.
1. Muslin Brothers
Why the name Muslin Brothers, and how does it describes your brand? Yaen Levi and Tamar Levit: "The idea for our fashion label began during the “Muslim Spring” revolutions across the Middle East. Two members of the original team boasted long beards and short hair, traditional styles for Muslim men. We all agreed this name played with our location in the Middle East during this contentious time and related term to the Muslin fabric used in many of our designs."
What makes Tel Aviv a special city for talented creatives such as yourselves? "Tel Aviv has no rules or structure, which is ideal for artists and designers looking to start their own label or use fashion as a creative output. The downside in being a designer from a small city are its limitations of size and market, so we’ve had to re-invent ways of making our brand known and accepted throughout Tel Aviv (and the world)."
Do you find that Tel Avivians are receptive to your bold designs that are mostly unisex, being suitable for both men and women? "Today, we see lots of black and grey conquering Tel Aviv’s fashion scene. Our designs allow us to practice and experiment and cater to our clientele who craves expressionism and designs with bold statements."
What is your creative process and how do you go about conceptualizing each piece? Elinor Avni: "We usually have a strong concept for each collection and according to that we develop the pieces. The process for creating each piece, however, is non-static, and we evolve and make changes during the individual crafting process as we are constantly surprised be the materials we use."
Do you find that being a jewelry brand from Tel Aviv creates more obstacles or opportunities? "Being a brand in Tel Aviv fields amazing response from buyers. However, this city presents many challenges in terms of logistics and international brand building. Our products would be much more easy to export if we were based in Europe or North America, but a lot of the shipping is from my UK representative and I have one in Italy and Moscow, so we manage."
Is each design part of larger collection, or created individually? "Each jewelry design either begins or ends up as part of a larger collection. After we design a singular piece, we become inspired and create different pieces that can come together as a part of a whole collection."
3. Daniella Gelfer
Most of your designs incorporate vivid colors and bold designs. Where do you get your inspiration? Daniella Gelfer: "I often go to flea markets to look for vintage treats. For me, traveling around the world is a strong source of renewed energy and opportunity to explore new music, culture and art. All the contrasts, shapes and colors come together in harmony that fills me with inspiration to create."
Is it necessary for a Tel Aviv designer to have a flagship store, or do web purchases and consignment sales suffice? "Consignment is unfortunately still a very dominant factor for independent stores in Tel Aviv. It’s still such a niche market here in Israel that many designers have to have second jobs to survive or simply just open their own design store."
How do you see your brand evolving in the future? "Right now we are working on opening an online web-store in Israel and abroad. Of course the dream is to one day opening my own fashion house not only with my clothing and collages but also with design items and objects from all over the world!"
4. Tesler + Mendelovitch
How doyou apply your backgrounds in textile design to your wood-based handbags? Tesler + Medelovitch: "We both began our academic careers in different fields: Itamar with woodworking/carpentry while I (Orli) began my bachelor’s in fashion. Wood has always been a first choice for Itamar, he has a very intuitive almost personal relationship with it. I myself have always been drawn to ‘warm’ materials, the feeling of surrounding your environment with wood makes me very calm as well as it being so versatile looking."
How do you create a delicate product from wood that also remains durable? "A lightweight object in many cases is seen as non-durable (or fragile even) but in fact in our work the opposite is true. We are greatly inspired by carbon fiber and other smart textiles as they are able to withstand great pressure while being extremely lightweight due to the properties and finish of the fiber."
What species of wood do you use and are they found in Israel? "Our current collection includes woods from seven different species that we had sourced locally a few years back. All the raw material used to develop our designs in progress was salvaged from furniture manufacturers who threw out an incredible, obscene amount of rare and precious wood. Everything is handmade, no heavy machinery or power is needed for our designs to be made. We utilize up to 95 percent of the wood for each product."