A refreshing initiative of Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, within the framework of Miss Universe events, took place earlier this month at the First Station.
The Miss Universe contestants modeled clothes at Haboydem, a secondhand clothing store and women’s rehabilitation center that shines a spotlight on social projects in Jerusalem, bringing to the forefront sustainable fashion as well as mental health awareness.
Haboydem is a social project of the nonprofit for Rehabilitation and Integration – ShafYativ, a secondhand clothing store providing employment training for the disabled, especially those recovering from issues related to mental health. Each employee has a personalized rehabilitation plan, designed with the assistance of an in-staff occupational therapist or social worker, and is provided employment experience in short shifts when required. At the end of the process, they receive support in seeking a job in the free market.
As Haboydem stylist Stephanie Strauch put it: “We encourage wise consumer behavior, by showing that being dressed in secondhand clothing does not mean that you have to compromise on quality or the latest trends. Many of our customers come to us for ideological reasons, while others come to support and encourage our workers during their rehabilitation.”
Although many Haboydem shoppers do so out of choice and ideology, others are mostly financially motivated, contributing to society while still looking stylish. Hassan-Nahoum herself, as she declared, is an avid fan and frequent supporter, and she was thrilled to show the delegates from Miss Universe the very best of Jerusalem. “I consider Haboydem not only as one of the jewels in Jerusalem’s social-impact business scene but also a go-to place for beautiful clothes.”
As for the Jerusalem Development Authority’s tourism director Ilanit Melchior, she emphasized the fact that this fashion show was held, against all odds, during the ongoing pandemic. She hoped the contestants taking part in the fashion show would become ambassadors of Jerusalem. “We are proud to show Haboydem to the world as a fantastic example of social impact and women empowerment as well as a real way to lessen the environmental impact of the fashion industry with the recycling of clothes,” concluded Melchior and Hassan-Nahoum.
Whether inspired by the Jerusalem initiative or not, another project supportive of women was also launched this week by the Israel Lobby for Women. In reaction to the Miss Universe pageant, in which contestants will be selected according to criteria based on beauty, height, age and weight, this seemed like a wonderful opportunity to present to the public in Israel and around the world another kind of beauty – in social action in Israel, and the women who work for the betterment of the society. Hence the Lobby launched “Miss Fix the Universe,” a platform for some of the projects and the women working to promote the values of sustainability, social justice, human rights, democracy and equality, across the country and of course, in Jerusalem.