Esther Levy-Chehebar is a born-and-bred Brooklyn girl who grew up in a tight Sephardic community peopled with Syrians, Egyptians, and Israelis. It’s that sense of community that inspired her latest venture, Beged, a curated fashion experience in Soho, bringing a new guard of Tel Aviv designers to the States for the very first time.
“The independent fashion scene is burgeoning in Tel Aviv, right now. Only no one knows about it,” says Levy-Chehebar. “It’s younger and edgier than traditional Israeli fashion. The through-line for all the clothes is that they are made from relaxed, breathable fabrics, and one-size fits all. These lines embrace the Israeli lifestyle, which is you get dressed and get on with your life.”
Of course that doesn’t mean Israeli designers aren’t style-minded. “These clothes make a statement, but in a no fuss way. The style is immediate and easy,” says Levy-Chehebar. Indeed, this is also a tenet of New York dressing.
Beged, which means “garment” in Hebrew, comes to life in New York. The pop-up offers a retail experience will feature floral artistry by Sallie Mishaan, who curated flower arrangements based on the aesthetic of each designer. Shoppers will also have a chance to read about the political and religious ideas that influenced each designer’s work. In the window sits a Middle Eastern table, where Levy-Chehebar has placed modern Judaica, dried fruit, nuts, and pomegranate to recreate the ambiance of “food, friends and family I grew up around.”
The sense of community fostered by growing up in a Sephardic faith inspired Levy-Chechebar to bring a taste of Tel Aviv to New York. “For a lot of these designers, their studios are in their homes. I want to support these designers in any way I can, and there’s something special about [merging the style] of women over there with women over here.”
Find the following Israeli designers at Beged
Muslin Brothers: Muslin Brothers has become renowned for its offbeat sensibility and androgynous design. Tamar Levit and Yaen Levi established the label in 2011, and continue to design together from their studio based in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
Mews: Designer Gal Shenfeld offers slow contemporary fashion, ready to wear and entirely black garments with her label, Mews. Everything is designed and meticulously handmade in her Neve Tzedek studio.
Maya Bash: Originally formed as a ready-to-wear womenswear label in 2005, the eponymous Maya Bash has quickly gained commercial success and critical acclaim due to its modern streetwear sensibility infused with a meticulous tailoring approach.
TRES: TRES is a women’s fashion brand based in Tel Aviv. It was founded by three Shenkar Fashion Design School graduates and friends Noa Gur, Noy Goz and Dafna Rubin.
Tali Kushnir: All of Tali Kushnir’s garments are attentively made in Tel Aviv in cooperation with local craftsmen and artisans. Kushnir’s clothing represents her personal interpretation to what she calls, “the Middle Eastern approach to dressing,” lightly monastic yet existential, sustainable, humble, and with a proud Levantine spirit.
Marei 1998: Marei 1998 is a fashion house stated on luxury and quality, founded and helmed by the young designer Maya Reik.
KimKa: Kim Dror is the founder and manager of KimKa studio in Haifa, Israel. She is an expert in the traditional art of indigo dyeing as well as felting.
Find Beged at 208 Bowery, between Prince Street and Spring Street running from December 13 through December 20, 2017.
Shopping hours are everyday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.