Israeli Designers Call Tel Aviv Fashion Week 'Fake'

Some leading local designers slam 'amateurish' decision to allow winter collections as well as traditional summer collections.

Gil Cohen-Magen

Normally, at fashion weeks that take place in the fall, designers display their spring and summer collections. Some Israeli designers, however, including Tovale and Naama Hasin, have decided to show their winter collections at the upcoming Tel Aviv fashion week, scheduled for October 17 through October 21 at TLV Fashion Mall. Other Israeli designers will put special collections on display, including Gadi Elimelech and Alembika.

According to one designer, who chose to remain nameless due to her relationship with other designers mentioned in this article, the decision to put other collections on display “isn’t very professional.” She believes that it proves that Tel Aviv’s fashion week is “a gala affair, and not a professional event. And when it comes to gala affairs, there’s no reason to focus on the smallest resolution, on things like collections. In the end, [the backers] Gindi and the organizers are the ones who make money from fashion week.”

Another designer called the decision “amateurish.” She believes another reason that designers are choosing not to show their spring and summer wares is that the buyers coming to fashion week work on consignment.

“In a talk with the organizers, we were told that the buyers will not pay up front, and could even pay months after they receive the merchandise,” she said. “No one promises that you’ll actually get the money, and it’s possible that a buyer could just disappear on you. Although that’s not the organizers’ responsibility, they could have tried to find buyers with money.”

Another designer, who also asked to remain nameless, said that in his opinion, the decision not to limit designers to only one collection is “just further proof that it’s fake.”

The designer says he decided not to present his wares at this year’s fashion week because the price for participation – 40,000 shekels – is high, and went up from last year. Though it’s significantly less than the cost of participating in New York’s fashion week (which is $100,000), for many designers in Israel it’s a significant investment.

“Allow me to laugh if someone says that the Tel Aviv fashion week is organized with supporting the Israeli fashion industry in mind, or if someone is considering the designers trying to make a living here,” he said, “In the past, promises of extensive foreign media coverage never came true, and if I’m not mistaken, there was much talk about buyers that amounted to nothing. Basically, it’s really not worth it. To get coverage in Israel, there’s no need for such a big investment. Financially it doesn’t pay. Plain and simple.”

On the other hand, designer Maya Negri sees the decision not to limit designers to one collection as “a stage in development of fashion week.” She says that “Motty [Reif, who produces the event] knows the Israeli fashion market very well, and adapts to it. In my opinion, there aren’t many Israeli designers who are prepared to share sketches and future collections with buyers, but fashion week is definitely an event that encourages to do so.”

In response, organizers of the Tel Aviv fashion week said “It’s a great honor to the country that there’s a fashion week, and that those standing behind it in support are unequaled. Seeing as how Tel Aviv fashion week is held once a year, each designer chooses which collection to show – winter or summer. As for the buyers, this method is accepted throughout the world. As for participation costs, this year the cost is 40,000 shekels, although it was 35,000 last year. This is a very low sum in relation to the cost of putting on an fashion show of any size. Even the smallest fashion show would cost roughly 100,000 shekels.”