A die-hard fan of all things ‘Made in Israel’, Angel Fiben prides herself in being the only fashion blogger that writes 100% only about Israeli fashion, in support of local Israeli designers. She firmly believes in shinning a light on up-and-coming and young designers, weaving together a blog that reflects on the entirety of the local fashion scene. Angel advocates for the untapped potential of Israeli fashion and the talented designers that only enjoy time in the spotlight during Tel Aviv’s Fashion Week, once a year. For this reason, the Tel Aviv-based Yupka fashion blog only collaborates with Israeli designers.
Culture Trip Tel Aviv sat down with Angel, the brains behind Yupka Fashion blog, to uncover some of the hidden talents and Israeli designers to watch out for, from behind the scenes. With 28,000 readers a month from all over the world — due in part to her Google translate feature that let’s you translate into any language — and almost 11K followers on Instagram, we wanted to hear Angel’s thoughts about the industry, from the latest trends to the up-and-coming designers on the local scene.
Most of the designers Angel writes about are based in Tel Aviv, which influences her definitive style and taste for oversized pieces, lots of jewelry, as well as wearing lots of black (even though a year ago she hated black). Angel claims she’s a prints and colors girl, but at our meeting, Angel sports a monochromatic look; the mood right now. She feels best in a darker look. However, with summer approaching, she’ll be back to floral prints and lots of yellow and pink.
How would you define your style in one word?
“Punk- elegant” – I know it’s two words but I love the convergence of rock and elegance.
How did you get into blogging?
I actually studied graphic design at Shenkar and left to work in Fashion. At the time, I was working in a very boring office, so I would finish all the work and spend the rest of the day reading fashion blogs. After a while, I thought why not do it too? So I taught myself HTML and opened a blog just for my own pleasure. I soon realized how much I enjoy it and I’ve turned it into my career.
What is it about Israeli designers that you’ve decided to dedicate your whole blog to Israeli creatives?
I don’t know why but its important for me that the Israeli fashion industry will succeed. I can’t stand how Israelis are so willing to pay thousands for international brands in bulk, like Zara and H&M, but they won’t pay to buy high quality items from Israeli designers. But my love of Israeli designers comes from my mother. My family and I are originally from Moldova and the transition we experienced from Communism to building a new life in Israel, made me appreciate how much hard work and craft there is behind the design industry here.
What is it about Israeli fashion that makes it different from the international fashion houses?
I think Israeli designers offer and work out of a different perspective. Most distinctly though, they design for the weather, tailoring their products for Israeli climate. Many European designers use fabrics that are too hot and uncomfortable to wear here. Whereas a defining characteristic in Israel design is the use of light looks and fabric.
What is the message you would like to convey to your readers?
I want other Israeli girls, like me, to feel comfortable and proud in their local style; they don’t have to try so hard to be American or Italian, especially when a season later mainstream fashion can go “out of style.” In Tel Aviv, style is effortless and chic. Israeli designers focus on creating timeless pieces versus cultivating trends. Items I bought years ago, I still wear and piece together in a contemporary look. When you buy from boutiques or independent designers, it’s true the prices are more expensive than international mass-produced brands. However an important element of Israeli fashion is that the majority of the items are produced locally and not in a factory half way across the globe. In my opinion, you should buy a few great pieces and mix it up instead of buying bulk. I look for items that are timeless, that can be reinvented every season.
Why the focus on young designers?
Honestly, I got bored of so many fashion blogs writing about the obvious: haute couture and massive fashion houses. I’m always looking for something fresh and new. That’s why I like to work with young designers, the truly talented and passionate ones that have just finished design school! Most interesting for me, is to actually go behind the scenes and show my readers what they do; there’s so much craft and precision to fashion.
Since you’ve made your case about Israeli designers and the fashion and style native to Tel Aviv, who are your favorite designers?
Karin Zalait, she’s right up there. I love her pieces, she does bridal and evening gowns. I admire her so much, I became her brand ambassador. Karin Zalait was the head designer for Diesel Italy and brings her experiences into her style today. Another favorite is Alone Livne, who has made his mark and makes the Israeli fashion industry proud. I’ll be wearing a two-piece bridal gown by Livne at my wedding soon. I’m most excited for the skirt, aptly named, “Beyonce.”
Which jewelery designers do you think stand out in craft and style?
Actually, I am a big on jewelery, I cannot leave the house without it. It’s very hard to choose but I will mention a few special ones. Ili Goren is one, she’s a young designer that has a store in Tel Aviv, on Dizengoff Street, and recently started a clothing line. She does brilliant and creative things with Perspex and lasers. Another one is David Cohen, he stand out with his craft of leather jewelery. Lastly, Galisfly, Gal Vardi, originally from L.A., the designer came to Israel, has a studio on Rothschild Boulevard that very cool and unique- worth paying a visit!
What do you recommend for handbags?
Sac Pack is my personal favorite. Especially since I love backpacks, they’re the most fun and practical. I also link to buy vintage items, so I’ll check out the vintage market at Dizengoff square, loves to find something special
What would an interview with a fashion blogger be without discussing shoes! Tell us which Israeli footwear designers you think people should watch out for?
What’s the best way to shop for Israeli fashion?
What are the stand out designers for clothing in your opinion?
My long time favorite local designer has been Comme Il Faut, with a great agenda of women empowerment and beautiful simple pieces. Although it is generally expensive, I can always find sales. Also, I really admire NORTHERN STAR, a studio in Jaffa with excellent designs. For the summer, my go-to designer is Liron Itzchakov, especially for her color palette. I also think her designs are great for young girls, although they are different from my usual taste, I truly love every piece.
What about make up? Do you only write about Israeli brands also?
I usually blog about Yossi Bitton, his make up products are vegan and animal friendly. Its important to me as a vegan to promote brands that don’t test on animals or use real leather.
Is there a reason you don’t use models to talk about fashion?
I like to put on the piece I write about myself to show how others can make it work too. Models aren’t real examples for the average person. By seeing it on me, they can see “this girl is just like me and if it looks good on her, it can look good on me too.” I want my blog to portray the life of an Israeli girl, and what you can do and how to style in Israeli fashion.