The following is written by Dreed*Tea’s latest addition to the team- Lillou Shalev from The Zig Zag Girl.
For the longest time I insisted there’s no such thing as Israeli fashion. Unless you’re prepared to call no style at all (or at best some borrowed idioms) “fashion”. It was pretty much like food; we Israelis took ownership of hummus and falafel, when in fact they originate in the Middle East.
But then it occurred to me; when every Israeli three- year old knows to wipe hummus off a plate in a circular motion it becomes Israeli. Indeed everyone here is very particular when it comes to their hummus. Some prefer it with tehina, others without; some with whole chickpeas, others without; some scoop it up with a fork; others mop it up with pita. After all, when you find hummus in virtually every household – and just about everyone claims it’s the national food – then that’s what it must be.
What goes for food is no less true for fashion. Like it or not, trendy or not, marketable or not, Israeli fashion exists. It’s ours, and we might as well be proud of it – very proud.
What’s more, just as Israel is a lot more than deserts and camels, Israeli fashion is a lot more than Tel Aviv and its surroundings.
Israeli fashion is a great deal more than textile hummus. It’s also gefilte fish, kebabs, finely chopped “Arab” salad, scrambled eggs and cottage cheese, Crembo and Bamba. And that’s just for starters.
Fashion in Israel is as varied as the traditions and nuances that are the textures and flavors of what is arguably the world’s most polyglot society; a melting pot of traditions from Russian to Ethiopian, From American to South African, From Argentinean to French, from Moroccan to Hungarian. It’s a mixture of old and new, high and low, everything in between, and everything goes. Indeed, the whole is vastly greater than the sum of its parts.
In Tel Aviv alone, one finds (much like in any American high-school movie or TV show); hipsters, freaks, bimbos, nerds, new-agers, vintage addicts, and haute couture fashionistas. Yet outside of the “Tel Aviv state” there is a whole world to explore including “modern orthodox” – as seen in virtually every city (including Tel Aviv); and “ultra orthodox” – as seen mainly in religious communities like Jerusalem and Bnei-Brak. And then there’s Bedouin embroidery, Kibbutz casual, ethnic Ethiopian, and the list is goes on an on.
In a series of articles, which will be appearing monthly here on dreedtea.com, I look forward to sharing insights into just how Israeli each of these style groups is, while learning more about the nuances of each of them (all while munching on hummus, of course).
Lillou, The Zig Zag Girl