In a time of economic uncertainty, enliven your wardrobe with fresh, funky, inexpensive accessories.
By MEREDITH PRICE LEVITT
With the global economic crisis still in full swing, people are on the lookout for ways to save money rather than spend it. The world of fashion is no exception. One great way to spruce up your wardrobe without going broke this summer is to purchase fabulous, inexpensive accessories.
Great accessories give you the opportunity to frequently change your look, and some of the hottest looks for the summer include mixing and matching, so it's a great time to dust off your old threads. It's easy to freshen them up with some of this year's trendiest accessories, including long, layered necklaces, large earrings, chunky bangle bracelets, floral rings, wide belts, flowered headbands and hair pins.
Aside from bold, bright colors and a plethora of yellow (from lemon to antique gold), this summer's global trends include tribal looks, waist-defining belts, sparkling beads, romantic retro and fusions of classic and contemporary. According to Daria Shualy, a street fashion expert, former fashion designer and senseofashion.com CEO and cofounder, natural materials like silk and light cotton are highly fashionable as are summer scarves that can be worn around the neck or tied to your bag.
"I see a lot of delicate, chalk-like colors like light blues and grays and salmon," she explains. "There's also an interest in modern interpretations that combine floral designs and vintage with childhood images from things like Alice in Wonderland. This summer is characterized by a kind of dreamlike romance in the independent fashion world."
THE SENSEOFASHION Web site, launched in April, is still in beta but Shualy says there are already members from all over the world and a showcase of designers from Israel, the US, Brazil, the Netherlands, Japan and many other countries. Cofounded with Yariv Habot and Yael Givon, the innovative concept arose from Shualy's desire to provide an on-line home for independent fashion designers, trendsetters, fans and shoppers.
Otherwise known as "indie fashion," the Web site allows people to upload images of their own outfits, get emergency advice from other users about what to wear to important events (people can put up several options and ask others to vote on their favorite outfit), sell their own designs and purchase unique designs from independent creators.
"I had two types of mornings: those where I would stand in front of a full closet and still feel I had nothing to wear, and those where I would put together a great outfit that only my three coworkers would see," she explains. "This problem led to the idea to create a Web site where I could put images of my favorite outfits on-line and share them with other fashion lovers. I wanted to create a place where people from all walks of the fashion world could get together and share their ideas, much like you do in real life when you go shopping with friends."
One advantage of shopping for accessories on-line is that you have access to original items from all over the world without the travel expense. And young designers usually charge much less than large chains or big labels. You are also more likely to find something original that you won't see on every other woman on the street. Shualy points out that with accessories, on-line shopping is even easier because there is no need to try things on for size.
"There is a very distinct Israeli sense of style - at least in Tel Aviv - that tends to mix and match big labels that are cool, like American Apparel and Castro, with vintage and second-hand that makes sense together," says Shualy. "Like everything else in this country, trendsetters are forced to find innovative solutions. Despite the disadvantage of not having a long tradition of haute couture here, people in Tel Aviv are finding unique and unusual ways of dressing. It's not like in Paris where everyone is chic and elegant, but they all look the same."
This summer, four young Israeli designers whose work differs widely show the wide range of possibilities to choose from when it comes to finding the hottest new designs for your wardrobe.
Three and a half years ago, after finishing her degree at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, Gartenberg started making jewelry of her own under the label "Tamara."
"I didn't study jewelry making, I studied art and put together installations," she says. But one thing did carry over: a tendency to combine an unusual variety of items in her work. Gartenberg's pieces usually have at least two different materials and often recall nostalgic, romantic inclinations.
"I like big, heavy designs that are romantic without being too delicate," she says. "I combine textiles from leftover pieces of designer material with metal."
In her eclectic collections, she combines burgundy wool with brass leaves and brightly-colored beads with fluorescent fabrics. Constantly renewing her designs, Tamar says one of the most important elements for being a successful jewelry maker is the ability to adapt to new trends in the fickle world of fashion. This summer, her necklaces, belts, scarves, earrings, headbands, hair pins and bracelets integrate wooden beads, semiprecious stones, large floral pieces and round seashells.
"I create everything from scratch, even the textiles I use," she says. "I like asymmetric structures and try to combine this with interesting materials that suit people who are looking for something different."
At the large accessories market in Tel Aviv this year, her top sellers were light summer scarves and unique items for the hair. Strikingly large and original, her designs have a Bohemian appeal. Prices range from NIS 80 to NIS 650 for her one-of-a-kind necklaces.
Adar Mamrud and Einav Price
Inspired by the popularity of plastic accessories and inventive imitations, plexiglass forms the basis for their Anssi label's first collection of pop Judaica. Although they mimic existing jewelry patterns, the color and material give their necklaces and earrings a cool, retro appeal. Right in line with the summer trend for color, Mamrud and Price are using flamboyant materials that challenge the notions of traditional silver and gold Judaica jewelry.
"Our philosophy is to create a contrast between the customary designs of the hai and Star of David symbols and the materials we're using that gives them a refreshing appeal," says Mamrud.
The duo, who met while they were studying industrial design in Italy at the Polytechnico de Milano, put out their first collection of jewelry this spring. "We were looking for an opportunity to work together, and we decided to design jewelry that would make a statement without costing a fortune."
The unique necklaces appeal to a wide range of ages, from little girls to more mature women, and priced between NIS 90 and NIS 108, they are an inexpensive addition to the summer wardrobe. You can find them on the senseofashion.com Web site as well as in stores around the country.
Six years ago, after finishing her BA in psychology and education, Shtainberg moved to an artists' colony in Old Jaffa. Inspired by the contrast between her surroundings and the uber-modern street fashion that young people are wearing, she decided to try her hand at making jewelry three years ago. Since then, the self-taught designer has started to sell her work in stores around the country as well as on Web sites, such as senseofashion.com and Etsy.
Working from home instead of teaching gives her the ability to spend more time with her new baby and remain financially independent. This summer's collection includes pastel flower rings and hair pins, gold and silver plated designs combined with vibrant beads, sparkling crystals and delicate pearls.
"I make jewelry that I love," she says. "A lot of love goes into my designs, and I'm using high-quality materials. I use a lot of vintage and Victorian elements that have romantic, nostalgic undertones. I like to combine classic designs with elements of color, and I also make jewelry for brides." Prices range from NIS 60 to NIS 170.
Netzer always had a penchant for fashion. For as long as she can remember, working with different materials and focusing on the fine details has been a favorite pastime. As a student at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Tel Aviv, she started to try her hand at making jewelry and accessories for various projects. After graduation in 2008, she decided it was time to try an independent career.
Several months ago, she started to sell her first collection. A huge fan of leather because of its durability and flexibility, this summer's accessories include headbands, belts and necklaces. "I use a special technique to print designs on the leather, and then I add Swarovsky crystals, beads, silver and gold plated chains and colorful beads," she says.
Each piece is one of a kind and uses different materials to create a harmony between contrasting elements, such as delicate feminine flowers and tough leather. "I'm not interested in creating things that are trendy and go in and out of style," she explains. "I am creating jewelry and accessories that are unique and unusual and will last forever. Independent women who are sure of themselves and what they like are my target clients."
Prices range from NIS 50 to NIS 200 and you can find her work on the senseofashion.com Web site and at various markets around the country.
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