Spongebob and ‘old ladies’ on the runway

An inside look at Tel Aviv Fashion Week

The Shoresh Sandals event will highlight pieces from 30 designers in celebration of the brand’s 30th anniversary. (photo credit: Courtesy)
The Shoresh Sandals event will highlight pieces from 30 designers in celebration of the brand’s 30th anniversary.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
 Recently, the US has been highlighting plus-sized women in the fashion industry. Some might even call it a trend. But Tel Aviv Fashion Week is including more than just women who aren’t a size two. 
Motty Mordechaie David Reif, CEO of Tel Aviv Fashion Week, includes what some may call little old ladies as well. 
This is the 7th Tel Aviv Fashion Week and it is no exception when it comes to diversity.
“We support every age, every weight, every color and religion. So this is something I am very proud of. We are one step forward this year. It is really important to us to show every woman should feel good with herself. It’s not this typical one type of model. I’ve been thinking of this for years. We started with shows of old ladies from 70 up. You say short? I don’t think it’s short. I think these women are the real thing: 150-160 centimeters. This is the realistic height of women. Not 180,” Reif said.
The Fashion Week takes place at Hangar 11 in the Tel Aviv Port between March 11 and March 13 and is – for the first time – open to the public. 
Tickets cost between NIS 55 to 250 per event.
The opening night, March 11, is intended to be a huge surprise gala. Shoresh Sandals is the brand behind the show that evening. The event will highlight pieces from 30 designers, in celebration of the brand’s 30th anniversary. 
The models for the opening night runway? Plus-sized women. 
Roza Sinaysky, co-producer for all the foreign press, referred to Shoresh Sandals as being a “very Israeli company” and said models hail from all ages and types, heights and genders. In addition to the catwalk, there will be a showroom where 15-20 designers who aren’t presenting their pieces will be able to put their items on display.
“People can come touch, feel, try and buy,” Sinaysky explained. 
The event is in collaboration with Comme il Faut, an Israeli clothing company. 
“I’m excited about the international guests and also presenting  for some of them. This is their first time in Tel Aviv or their first time in many years, so we are super excited to show them how Tel Aviv has changed and introduce them to our designers on a personal note. That’s why we have the showroom. So we are excited to hear the feedback of very big publications like Vogue, Forbes and Elle.”
Sinayski couldn’t yet name-drop any of the bloggers or journalists from major publications that will be present at this year’s Tel Aviv Fashion Week, but assured The Jerusalem Post that we will be first to know who they are once they are permitted to be announced.
This year’s Fashion Week has a focus: to export more works from Israeli designers.
“We believe in the talent that we have here and we want to show the world,” Sinayski said.
The main event will pay homage to none other than the sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. Yep, Nickelodeon’s Spongebob Squarepants. 
The event is a benefit for Krembo Wings, which is a youth movement for children with and without special needs. Organizers say using Spongebob as inspiration was a no-brainer because the sponge is a symbol of positivity, happiness and acceptance. All of the designers will showcase pieces inspired by the celebrated sponge.
VIKTORIA KANAR, head of external relations for Tel Aviv Fashion Week, says every year the city impresses the foreign press during Fashion Week.
“Every time all over again, it is always the same reaction when we bring press who had no idea about what they are going to expect or can expect from here and when they meet, they get so excited and then they understand the potential,” Kanar explained.
“I remember a few years ago, for me personally, one of the highlights was when I brought a writer from Glamour USA, and she started the article saying from New York, Paris, London, and Milan. Tel Aviv could be next.” The article was published in 2015.
“I didn’t think that is something a writer would include… just like that… for Glamour,” Kanar said.
When it comes to international recognition, designers in Tel Aviv are sometimes getting the short-end of the stick, with Kanar describing the fashion community as “needing to have more support.” Kanar believes more industry leaders need to create exposure for the rest of the community, especially when it comes to young designers.
“We need to create an encouraging space and platform for them to get on their feet, create their own brands and begin their commercial journeys,” Kanar explained.
When asking Fashion Week’s creator how Tel Aviv stacks up against other worldwide fashion weeks, Reif replied: “I don’t know if you know me, but I don’t care what other people do. I care what we do. We show our garments. We show the idea that every woman can walk on stage. This is something I care about. 
“We will never be London, New York or Milan. And I am not there. I know what we have to show, and I want to change things. I want to bring a change for all of ourselves – to feel good with ourselves. It’s not about the clothing. It’s not about fashion. It’s about who we are and what we think about ourselves. This is the most important thing,” Reif explained.
There are seven total Fashion Week events planned during the three day time slot. 
You can find the schedule for the week’s events at fashionweektelaviv.com.