A slew of international fashion experts and journalists recently visited Israel during Tel Aviv Fashion Week, held in November on two separate occasions–before and after Operation Pillar of Defense which happened to fall somewhere in between the fashion shows.
Hosted by the Israel Ministry of Tourism, the fashion experts were sent to observe Israel’s young but quickly expanding fashion industry, while learning of the leisure and entertainment opportunities in Israel as well as visiting various cultural and tourist attractions across the country.
The most famous of the fashion magazines–Vogue, ELLE, Glamour and Cosmopolitan all sent representatives from their offices around the world, including Italy, Germany, Russia, France, Finland, Norway, China, Canada and Japan.
The first fashion show week (November 11-13), was organized by Ofir Lev, the general manager of the Israel Textile and Fashion Association and was held at the old Jaffa train station, an Ottoman-empire landmark. The fashion show featured models wearing designs by up-and-coming young Israeli designers as well as the Italian label Moschino. More established designers like Sasson Kedem and Dorin Frankfurt were featured in the second show week (November 26-28), which was run by Israeli publicist Motty Reif known for his Beverly Hills Fashion Week in California.
For Denis Desro, the Fashion Editor-in-Chief, at ELLE Canada, Israel is a young country for fashion. “You don’t find clothes here like you would do at Paris fashion walks, but what you do see is what an important role culture plays in fashion here,” he said in an interview with Tazpit News Agency.
“For fashion experts, visiting Israel is not just about the fashion, but about getting to know the country, culture, and people. There is a special energy here, and you can see how this impacts people’s creativity and designs. There is a feeling of having to get things done, to catch up with the rest of the international fashion world among Israeli designers.”
This was not Desro’s first visit to Israel. He was invited to Israel’s first ever inaugural Fashion Week held exactly one year ago in Tel Aviv, the first in 20 years, to which renowned Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli also showed up.
“Israel is so different from the way you imagine it to be,” said Desro, explaining that he expected to see soldiers and signs of war the first time he visited. “When I arrived here, I was surprised to see people smiling, happy, and just living normal life. In Tel Aviv, you can see people surfing and biking and experiencing a nightlife that goes on for 24 hours. It’s so lively here,” he continued.
“It’s really sad how people have such a terribly wrong impression of Israel. You have to really discover the country and for me—it’s the best country in the world,” explained Desro.