DANA ROSENBLUTH, wife of Oren Rosenbluth, owner and co-CEO of Nimrod Shoes, attending the opening of Nimrod’s retro pop-up shop in Tel Aviv..
(photo credit: ELIRAN AVITAL)
Over the past several months, something interesting has started to happen in the Israeli fashion world. Whereas for years, local style experts focused their energies on imported trends, faraway runway shows and Hollywood dos, these days it seems that the local fashion community is falling back in love with itself. More specifically, with Israel’s esthetic roots and particular essence. This love fest has brought back long-lost labels, starting with the reinvigoration of legendary brand Maskit, then on to famed textile staple Ata, and now to the redesign and reopening of the flagship Nimrod store on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv.
The last of the three was championed by Dana Rosenbluth, wife of Oren Rosenbluth, owner and co-CEO of Nimrod Shoes. Rosenbluth has been a member of the Nimrod family for 30 years. Oren, her husband, experienced the brand in a very personal way. For him, stopping by the Dizengoff location was synonymous with dropping in on Saba and Safta at home. Their apartment occupied the second floor, with windows overlooking the building’s facade.
Like most Israeli women, Rosenbluth’s memories of the classic biblical sandals that Nimrod is known for go back to childhood.
“I remember how exciting it was as a girl to go, twice a year, to the Dizengoff store to buy shoes. There wasn’t a girl in Tel Aviv who didn’t wear those sandals with shorts,” she says.
“If you look at Israeli fashion,” she explains, “we were closed until the 1990s.”
Rosenbluth goes on to explain how the company changed and shifted as the local market became flooded with outside fashions.
“All the fashion from before that change is coming back now, bringing Israeli fashion back to something that is rooted here,” she observes.
One such trend, which has taken strong hold in the past seasons, is the biblical sandal. Everyone, from Marc Jacobs to the Gap, have put out their own version of the classic strappy leather sandal.
“It started with the release of Tamar El Or’s book Sandals: An Anthropology of Israeli Style, which named us prominently. All the designers in the world are dealing with the biblical sandal, which is ours. Nimrod sandals are an icon of Israeliness. I felt this need, because of all these factors, to make this vision a reality,” she says.
Today, the first floor of 185 Dizengoff Street hosts a pop-up shop of retro-inspired Nimrod sandals, which will be open through the end of the summer. Judging from the enthusiastic response, Rosenbluth says that the company is considering taking the idea from pop-up to permanent.
“The shoes that we brought back were the bestsellers of the 1960s.
We crafted as exact replicas as possible, with the same colors and patterns.
This nostalgic collection says so much about our society and our history. The pop-up is just like the store was in the 1960s – 20 percent kids, 60% women, and the rest is men. We wanted to test it out first.
We didn’t do a lot of research as to whether this would work or not. We had a gut feeling and we went with it,” she explains.
While Rosenbluth avoided getting into heavy market research, reviving retro Nimrod required a huge foray into family albums and long-forgotten toolboxes.
“We have a factory in Beersheba that is our assembly line. I went to see what there was there. I had to see what knives, what patterns we had,” she says.
Throughout the journey, although she was asking her employees to stray from their everyday activities, Rosenbluth was met with excitement.
“There were people who told me that we could do it. They searched for months in the archive to see if a certain stamp was there, and they found it. In the production, we found tools and molds. In the redesign of the store, there was a lot of work with pictures. It was a very moving,” she says.
On the day of the opening, many passers-by wandered in, drawn by a blast from the past.
“The longtime manager of Nimrod happened to pass by. She’s an older lady now. She couldn’t believe how much we had recaptured of what once was,” smiles Rosenbluth. “The store was mythological. We decided to reopen it in the image of what once was. We had only pictures to go on, so it isn’t one for one but a close representation. I feel that we managed to bring it back at the right time in the right way, to give people back a piece of their past.”Nimrod’s retro pop-up shop is located at 185 Dizengoff Street. For more information, visit www.nimrod.co.il