Glamorous bag ladies

Gili Rozin Tamam and Adi Gal’s funky MeDusa plastic handbags and jewelry are a favorite of bloggers and sell worldwide by the bagful.

Gili Rozin and Adi Gal (photo credit: OMER MESSINGER)
Gili Rozin and Adi Gal
(photo credit: OMER MESSINGER)
Eco-chic fashion blog Granola Glamour gushes about Tel Aviv-made MeDusa plastic handbags: “Their rad structured clutches are full of tactile floral elements that are almost Museum of Modern Art-worthy.”
And Design Break, a blog written by an Israeli in San Francisco, has this to say about MeDusa, whose urban-chic products have been featured in Vogue Accessory and won the 2014 Young Vision Award for Accessories from Muuse x Vogue Talents: “Their ever- growing collection of bags, jewelry and laptop cases is a sea of color, fun and madness.”
Why are fashion bloggers so excited about… plastic? MeDusa partners Gili Rozin Tamam and Adi Gal, both 32-year-old jewelry design graduates of Israel’s Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, say it’s because they created something completely new in the fashion accessory market by using this everyday material in a groundbreaking and innovative way.
“It’s a magic material, and you can do anything you want with it,” says Rozin Tamam of the sculpted industrial plastic in vibrant hues from which MeDusa accessories are made in Israel.
“The advantage of plastic over fabric is that it can be very flexible and strong, so it can provide the structure of the bag on its own,” adds Gal. “People can use the bags daily because they’re sturdy and long-lasting.”
They discovered that many shoppers like alternatives to fabric and leather, especially as plastic is stronger than fabric and doesn’t come from animals, which are often slaughtered inhumanely. But mostly, MeDusa’s appeal is that its products are funky and fun.
“As the brand gains more of its own personality, the material is not the main thing,” says Rozin Tamam. “The MeDusa bag has value of its own, though plastic is still the heart of making our bags and jewelry unique and different.” hat have embraced MeDusa, Rozin Tamam and Gal recently launched the first four of its Landmark collection of handbags, named after Tel Aviv, Paris, New York and Moscow. Another four models will be released before next season’s shows. These bags retail between NIS 179 and NIS 380.
“Our first inspiration came from Tel Aviv, the city where we both live and work,” says Gal. “The architecture and geometric shapes in the city are always reflected in our work – especially in this specific collection.”
Rozin Tamam adds: “Big cities all over the world are inspirations for us in everything we do. We have customers in Paris, New York and Moscow, and we can imagine them buying the bag named for their city and looking amazing.”
The Landmark collection uses a new manufacturing technique. “Up until now we used the plastic as a sheet where we stamp our images and patterns. For this collection, we wanted the shapes of the bags to be a result of the shape of the plastic,” says Gal, emphasizing that MeDusa scales production for large quantities rather than selling their wares as collectors’ items.
“Tel Aviv” is a large envelope clutch with a detachable strap, big enough for an iPad or a small laptop. It’s meant as a unisex accessory due to its color combination and geometrical (black with black, blue, green or red) design.
“New York” is a “rebellious” evening clutch (also in black, blue, green or red) whose surface resembles rough animal skin. The combination of toughness with a small, classic and elegant evening purse is the source of this model’s unique appeal.
“Moscow” is a transparent plastic clutch bag with a thin, opaque faux-leather pocket available in gold or silver. Transparent bags are trendy, and MeDusa previously explored this style in a collaboration with Maybelline New York.
“Paris” is a medium-sized bucket bag that teams with daytime outfits or evening wear. The imprinting technique provides the bag’s unusual texture, giving it the appearance of gems embedded in plastic to suggest a combination of a tough urbanity and fun. It comes in black-black, blackbeige, blue-beige, green-beige and red-beige.
While working in tandem during their senior year at Shenkar, the two designers were finalists in the International Talent Support Competition in Trieste, Italy. In 2009, they began their business in Gal’s house. Two years later they opened their Tel Aviv design studio on Dizengoff Street, alongside shops of some of Israel’s hottest young designers.
MeDusa means “jellyfish” in Hebrew, and the original pieces were inspired by the natural shapes of flora and fauna in nature, particularly in the ocean.
Rozin Tamam and Gal won the 2011 Promising Designers Award from Calcalist, Israel’s financial journal, and regularly introduce their designs to buyers at trade shows such as the New York International Gift Fair, Accessories Circuit New York, Pulse (London), Coeur in Los Angeles, and Berlin’s Bread & Butter show.
“I think our items are just made for being international because they have global appeal, speaking an international language,” says Gal.
Indeed, international fashion magazines Grazia (UK), Fabulous (UK) and Vogue (Italy) feature MeDusa bags and jewelry in their pages. MeDusa’s e-store on Etsy has proven popular with shoppers in many countries, and people also find some of the collections on the website
MeDusa products are sold in boutiques across the United States (California, Texas, New York and New Jersey, among other states) and Europe (including Russia, Italy, Denmark and the UK).
This article is reprinted with permission from ISRAEL21c.