Imagine this: You have just finished dinner at a restaurant and are perusing the
dessert menu. Among the cakes and tarts listed is the king of desserts, the
chocolate soufflé. Your waiter informs you that this dish requires about 20
minutes of preparation and that, if you are set on it, you will have to wait
before enjoying it. What do you do? For designer Anya Fleet, the answer is
clear. You wait. When the soufflé arrives, the waiting time will be
“Good things take time,” she says.
Fleet has recently
adopted the chocolate soufflé philosophy into her budding business model. For
the past four years, since graduating from the Shenkar College of Engineering
and Design, Fleet has sold ready-to-wear garments.
Her petite boutique
called Anya Fleet, located in Masaryk Square in Tel Aviv, is chock full of these
fine items. However, together with the evolution of her design aesthetic, Fleet
realized that creating custom-made pieces was more to her taste.
in her studio near Hahashmal Park in Tel Aviv, Fleet has all the ease and
glamour of a 1940s movie star. At age 31, Fleet has firmly put her stamp on the
local fashion industry. Her elegant designs speak to the needs of the Israeli
woman, both in her every-day life and on special occasions.
collection, whose color story evokes images from the Byzantine era, is being
sold piece by piece. In her previous business model, Fleet would cut and sew all
her garments immediately after designing them. Now she prefers to make a small
number for presentation and leave the remaining fabric on hold for the
“I’m changing my focus a bit,” she says. “If I find a fabric that
I love, that I think fits into the new collection,” she explains as she plucks a
deep brown floral tunic from a rack, “I’ll buy it and make one shirt. Then, when
the customer chooses it, I take measurements and fit the piece to her
This process can take as little as a few days; however, it demands
more patience than the average shopping experience. The possibility of wearing a new dress out of the store does not exist with Fleet’s handiwork.
conviction that custom-made pieces are the real future of fashion goes against
the current milieu in the market. While companies like HandM and Zara mass
produce trendy clothing and sell it at low prices, Fleet is withdrawing herself
from the fast food, fast-clothes universe. “Clothes should fit perfectly, if you
ask me. I have to reeducate the market, to change the expectation of receiving
things quickly,” she says.
In her own work, Fleet is used to calling on
patience. Perhaps one of the more striking elements in her new collection is the
glorious knitwear. These pieces, which include a particularly impressive garment
called “the peacock dress,” arrive by mail straight from Fleet’s aunt’s hands in
“I send my aunt the designs, and then she knits the pieces. They
are truly one of a kind,” she beams.
For Fleet, designing clothing is a
way of life. Her first designs were fashioned from socks and were modeled by a
collection of dolls. “My mom taught me how to make those little outfits,” she
says. Fleet’s mother’s continued presence in her store can be found on the
jewelry racks, where her sculptural necklaces are displayed.
before I went to Shenkar, I made things that I wanted and couldn’t find. I
didn’t have the technique I needed to make a lot of things, so I found ways of
getting around those hurdles. I made this big, loose shirt that had the smallest
number of stitches possible.
With my maturity, my clothes become more
mature as well.”
One area of the fashion world that already functions the
way Fleet does is the bridal market.
While her designs gain popularity
each year, Fleet is already very well known for her delicate touch when it comes
“The first bridal dress I designed was my own,” she says. “I
wanted something light with a vintage sensibility. I realized that the type of
dress I wanted, something elegant and refined, was missing from the local
market. I didn’t want to dress up like a princess.”
She then designed
three bridal gowns, which she sold along with the other clothes in her store.
Once those dresses were snatched up, she began to experiment with other
“When I create for brides, I can’t be concerned with trends.
It’s very intuitive. It’s like the designs emerge straight from
Be it her bridal designs or her regular collections, the
connective thread among all Fleet’s pieces is a kind of
Though hours of work have gone into each garment, the
overall effect is that of ease.
“I don’t ever want my clothes to look
overworked,” she says. “They should always be easy to wear, comfortable and
flattering.” Anya Fleet’s store is located at 21 Masaryk Street in Tel Aviv.
For more information, visit www.anyafleet.com.