Covering with style

Tashtari specializes in high-end fashion accessories, primarily women’s head coverings which include Sadan’s own line of designs that he launched a couple of years after opening the store in 2003.

Fabrics store (photo credit: YAEL BRYGEL)
Fabrics store
(photo credit: YAEL BRYGEL)
A combination of chance (or perhaps fate), vision and genetics were at play 12 years ago when Jerusalem native Amos Sadan spotted a small store for rent while walking down King George Avenue.
As the great-grandson of blouse manufacturers in early 20th-century New York and grandson of antique furniture store owners, it would seem that Sadan was destined for the fashion trade. And yet, while he acknowledges that style runs through his veins – an antique desk that belonged to his grandparents sits in the store as a constant reminder – it was desperation that stopped him in his tracks at the downtown location more than a decade ago.
“I thought that it was a good opportunity to get out of the job I was in at the time,” he says lightheartedly.
Tashtari, which means “luxurious” in Aramaic, specializes in high-end fashion accessories, primarily women’s ritual head coverings (kisui rosh), which include Sadan’s own line of designs that he launched a couple of years after opening the store in 2003.
A kaleidoscope of colors emanating from his signature handcrafted crystal headbands captured the gaze of window shoppers on a recent Sunday evening.
They were prompted to examine these regal-looking pieces (available at NIS 600 to NIS 900) through the store window in a way that one might examine a work of art at an exhibition. In fact, “wearable art” is the store’s tagline, and Sadan is intent on creating headwear of the highest quality using imported designer materials.
“Israel is great at creating jewelry, but fabrics are not our strong point,” he says.
Together with his wife, Frida, Sadan scouts Tel Aviv fabric stores regularly to select imported Missoni, Pucci and Versace fabrics to form the basis of a selection of bold-colored head coverings for around NIS 150, which are popular among American, French and British tourists and immigrants.
Native Israeli customers tend toward more conventional pieces that he imports, such as wraps made from 100% pure silk (around NIS 400) and more affordable satin scarves, ranging from NIS 30 to NIS 60, some of which come from Turkey.
Raised in the Yemin Moshe by American immigrants with an acute sense of style, Sadan – an observant Jew who closes his store every day for prayer breaks – is regularly asked by customers for his opinion on halachic matters, or rather, on religious convention.
“I get asked, ‘Do I look religious enough in this head covering?’” he recounts.
Such queries come from women who opt not to cover all their hair and are not sure how it will be perceived, as well as from mothers contemplating wearing one of the store’s more minimalist fascinators to their child’s wedding.
Yes, fascinators are back in and are popular among Israeli women in their early 20s, perhaps inspired by Kate Middleton.
While he refrains from venturing into the minefield of the halachic minutiae of head-covering with customers, Sadan has no compunction about telling it like it is when it comes to fashion: “I’ll tell someone that something looks terrible.” This bluntness, combined with a cheerful disposition, pays off: “People appreciate my honesty and come back because of it.”
Sadan is galvanized by his business, particularly the opportunity it affords him to design his own products. Despite the cumbersome nature of the retail industry here, with its import customs and bureaucracy that annoys him to no end, Sadan is deeply inspired by his work and is looking into business potential in Europe and the US.
“With so much demand for my products among American and European tourists, it seems only natural to bring the merchandise to them,” he reasons.