Years ago when Maya Negri needed inspiration, she boarded a plane. Traveling was the hobby that brought her to fashion design in the first place and continued to be a major part of her creative world.Though globetrotting is still a passion of Negri’s, her search for sources of inspiration has become much more local. In fact, it often goes only as far as her computer screen. This change in her creative process will be a topic of discussion, along with many other issues facing local fashion designers, at the international conference during Holon Fashion Week later this month.Initiated by the Design Museum of Holon and the Holon Municipality, Holon’s first Fashion Week will take place at various locations in the city such as the Mediatheque Cultural Center and the Holon Cinematheque. The list of international guests includes designer Zac Posen, fashion writer Stephanie LaCava, and owner of Stylus.com Marc Worth. The roster of events includes the international fashion conference and a film festival, which will focus on the synergy between film and fashion.Though this is the first fashion week to be held in Israel, it is the third annual fashion conference. Joining Negri on the conference panel will be designers Dorin Frankfurt, Daniella Lehavi and Mordechai Avraham. One of the main topics to be discussed is the meeting between handmade crafts and digital advancement.“When I was a student,” says Negri, “if I wanted to look for images, for example, I had to go to the library at Shenkar [College of Engineering and Design] and request that they order a certain catalog. Then it would take three weeks to arrive, and finally I would get to look it over. Nowadays I turn on my computer, and the whole world is there. I have an entire existence online. I wake up in the morning and immediately get connected. I read blogs and post comments on a variety of sites that I like. I have a whole digital life that is separated from the physical. Separated from Maya Negri, living in Tel Aviv. And there is such an abundance online.”Negri recently launched a new collection called M2012. This line is what is known as a capsule collection, a popular trend in local and international fashion and another topic that will be discussed during Fashion Week. A capsule collection is an assortment of easy-to-wear items made specifically for mixing and matching.For Negri, the process of designing M2012 was very satisfying. “My trademark is my approach to the client. Those clients have needs, and I meet them. For this purpose, I have the Maya Negri classic line. With the capsule, I was free to do what I wanted to do, completely disconnected from the continuity or commercial appeal of the clothing. With the capsule, I could respond to the plentiful inspiration I absorb on a daily basis and just design,” she says.Though Negri is open to the ever-growing digital presence in the fashion community, there are some things the computer can’t replace. “I think the smart thing to do is find a balance. I still travel. And when I design, I still make free-form patterns, and I still make the pieces by hand on the model. That’s my creation. In the end it’s sculpture,” she explains.In Negri’s eyes, the introduction of fashion week provides an excellent opportunity for local designers. At present, she says, breaking into the international market is an almost impossible task for most young designers. “Our politics and physical distance from the major fashion centers of the world keep us disconnected from what’s going on.There are some very talented people here,” she says. “To be a young designer in Israel today is very difficult. ‘Making it’ is a huge challenge.” Indeed, this year may well be a turning point for Israeli fashion. With both Holon and Tel Aviv hosting fashion weeks for the first time, the incoming traffic for our local designers will certainly open new windows of opportunity. The growing blogs, websites and commentators hailing from the country have already laid the foundation for Israel to become a new keystone of design and fashion.Naturally, hooking Israel into the international fashion routes will afford the independent designer an easier existence. “Fashion week is a huge step. Big designers from abroad are coming to Israel for this event,” says Negri. “My hope is that this event will make Israel a major center in the fashion world.”Holon Fashion Week will run from October 24 to 27. For more information, visit www.dmh.org.il.