Israel is synonymous with innovation in tech and startups so why not add sustainable and ethical fashion to that list?
For a nation that is pioneering in so many fields, it's not surprising that we are also delving into the world of sustainable design.
Last week on the 12th of June, Fashion Revolution Project Israel came together with WeWork to host an event focusing on sustainable and ethical fashion, aiming to highlight and inform about the issues in that sphere, and to introduce several practitioners in the field of sustainability.
Starting off the evening were several stalls showcasing the work of the designers and brands involved, a keynote speech by Catia Cesari, a partner of TAU (an investment firm concentrating on innovation and sustainability in the apparel value chain), and to finish on a high note, a fashion show.
The evening was hosted by GeekChic TLV's Viktoria Kanar.
And as a final standout feature, the event had a sign language interpreter to make it even more accessible.
And now for the key players involved...
Now this is a really cool company.
Fusing together social enterprise and design, Kite Pride upcycles kitesurfing kites, sails, parachutes & wetsuits into bags while providing safe rehabilitation employment for men and women exiting human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
Their bags are funky and unique - no two bags are the same as they are all made from different kites.
They have a collection of laptop bags and cases, duffels, carry bags, and drawstring bags.
Marina Shain, named after its founder, is a funky brand that focuses on slow and ethical fashion.
All the clothes are from natural fibres, made locally in Israel, and are trend-withstanding pieces; clothing that will not lose its relevance and is able to be worn from season to season. The current and previous collections are designed to be able to be worn together, and the high quality fabric ages like fine wine.
What stood out for me is that the designs encompass several age groups and styles - a 20-year-old could wear the collection side by side with a 40-year-old.
Palta is a relatively new Israeli label with a big difference - it features adaptive clothing; clothing that is specially designed with disabilities in mind. They debuted a decently sized collection, with noticeable adaptive features such as velcro closures, scannable barcodes for the visually impaired, and pockets specially designed for wheelchair-bound users. Their models walked (or rode!) proudly down the catwalk with visible and invisible disabilities, drawing massive applause.
Palta was founded by Shai Senior and Netanel Yehuda Halevi, working together with designers Shira Assulin and Michal Gorelick.
One word for this stunning jewellery label: WOW. I was absolutely floored by the amazing designs of Sharon Chandally. Sharon comes from a long line of silversmiths from Yemen and she has also embraced the family tradition, learning the craft in Israel from her grandfather's brothers.
Sharon uses recycled or fairmined metals and conflict free stones whenever possible (she's a member of Ethical Metalsmiths), and her pieces range from earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and more.
"For me, ethical means doing what is right when it's more convenient to do what's not. When you're creating something that will be worn so close to the body, integrity is key. All parts of the creation process should be as pure as possible."
Suzanne Dekel has several things going on; she sells natural dyes, consults with businesses on how to make their dyeing processes more sustainable, sells beautifully dyed eco scarves, and hosts dyeing workshops - just to name a few!
She started her business solo and is completely self taught - before this she was working in hitech. I had a lovely chat with her at her stall and got to check out a few of her beautiful scarves; they're even more stunning in person, where you're able to feel and touch the fabric. Check out Suzanne's website and Instagram if you want to drool over her unique designs.
Sew.Sara is a project originating in South Africa and recently landed on the shores of Israel. The brand developed for women, by women, embraces inclusivity and diversity. Sew.Sara caters to all women of all shapes and ages and encourages versatility and multi-styling to suit individual expression. Back from a sabbatical, taking some time out to explore her new home and get married, creator and designer Taryn Cantor incorporates Sew.Sara into her own wardrobe and admiring friends, adorning her bridesmaids in Sew.Sara ensembles (see picture). Sew.Sara seeks to make a sustainable difference in the lives of women from different cultures, just as in South Africa, now embracing opportunity in Israel and seeking groups of women to continue empowering through creating and wearing the brand.
The event was inspiring in so many ways, proving that sustainable and ethical fashion has a very real place in the Israeli fashion industry. It was fantastic to be introduced to so many different designers who are trailblazing sustainability, ethics, and adaptivity. So chuck these guys a follow and check out everything they're doing at their respective websites.
Thanks Fashion Revolution Israel and WeWork for hosting this event!