The Top Ten

The Most Influential People in Israeli Fashion

1. Motty Reif, 49, producer of fashion shows, and Ophir Lev, 38 businessman

Ophir Lev and Motty Reif were the brains behind Israel Fashion Week, held in Tel Aviv in 2011. The idea was simple: to revive the tradition of Israeli fashion weeks that had taken place in the second half of the last century. The event restored the color to the pale cheeks of the local fashion industry. However, the two organizers then had a falling out and decided to go their separate ways. Last fall, they announced they would hold two different fashion weeks. As a result, local designers found themselves split into two forces: a positive initiative had engendered a rift. In the end, no one benefited from the new format. Lev and Reif are again working to mount two separate fashion weeks, though it's to be hoped that in the end one event will be held with everyone participating.

2. Leah Peretz, 63, head of the fashion design department at Shenkar College, Tel Aviv, and Ran Shabani, 49, head of the fashion design department at WIZO Academy, Haifa

Shenkar gets a high rating on the list of the world's top fashion schools every year. Among its graduates are stars like Alber Elbaz (chief designer for Lanvin) and Kobi Halperin (who was recently appointed creative director at Kenneth Cole). But this year's graduation shows at the two schools demonstrated that Leah Peretz's famous department now has serious competition. The underdog the fashion design department at WIZO Haifa Academy of Design and Education showed flair and a creative vision. Ran Shabani, with the first graduating class since he became head of the department, showed that the school is an interesting and worthy alternative to Shenkar. 

3. Ayelet Bitan Shlonsky, 53, curator of Beit Ha'ir museum, Tel Aviv, and Claudette Zorea, 47, fashion designer

In 2011, Ayelet Bitan Shlonsky and Claudette Zorea announced that 2012 would be fashion year at Beit Ha'ir, the museum of municipal history in Tel Aviv. During the year, they mounted six exhibitions, which included works by local and international designers and artists. The exhibitions placed fashion on the public agenda, presented it in broad and diverse contexts, and made it part of Israel's cultural space. In this context, the activity of Meira Yagid-Haimovich, curator of the design and architecture department at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, should also be noted. In the past year, she organized a cluster of intriguing exhibitions revolving around fashion in the veteran institution.

4. Dorin Frankfurt, 62, fashion designer

Immediately upon opening the fashion house that bears her name in 1983, Dorin Frankfurt decided she would manufacture her collection locally. She established a line for women and one for men, but shut down the latter when the last tailoring plant in Israel folded. This year, she made it possible for men to buy her designs again, via a unisex line that accompanies her seasonal collections. The male attire, too, is made in Israel, in her own factory. In 2013, Frankfurt proved again that even a veteran designer can reinvent herself, season after season.

5. Simon Almalem, 37, stylist

The local fashion scene suffers from a dearth of significant fashion productions, serious magazines and creative freedom of the kind that stylists who play a key role in the industry can usually count on. In this limited territory, the stylist Simon Almalem rules with a high hand. He is responsible for dozens of fashion productions and commercials and the stylist for local female celebs, an adviser to many Israeli brands and a buyer for the Factory 54 chain. He is well acquainted with world trends, is fond of international brands and has a patina of glam, which doesn't always sit well with the locals.

6. Yossi Katzav, 41, and Adam Gefen, 30, fashion designers

Until a few years ago, the local men's fashion scene suffered from a serious shortage of independent designers and brands to meet the need for contemporary everyday and designer attire. Contrary to the world revolution in this sphere, Israeli men had a hard time finding apparel that was not "clothing for events" and had to make do with what they found in the chains. It was into this small market that Yossi Katzav charged full-tilt, with his Sketch brand, which produces tailored, light fashion that is Israeli and trendy as well. Another outstanding figure this year is Adam Gefen, a young designer whose collections are more daring and funky.

7. Adi Ronen, 28, buyer and designer

Until two years ago, Adi Ronen was still occupied with buying clothing and holding sales of imported goods in her Hod Hasharon home. To expand her activity for clients throughout Israel, she set up adikastyle.com, which offers a broad range of fashion items and has a convenient return policy that meets international standards. This year, Ronen started to manufacture a line of clothing and accessories, which is also available on the website. She also collects items in Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and elsewhere, alters their design and remakes them in a factory abroad. 

8. Keren Wolf, 35, jewelry designer

This year, Keren Wolf opened her second store, in upscale Kikar Hamedina, and buttressed her jewelry collection with a new line of headwear of her own design and manufacture. Her brand has become a mandatory stop for many celebs in Israel and abroad, from Carla Bruni and Vanessa Paradis to Bar Refaeli, Gal Gadot and others, before they appear on the red carpet at various venues, like the Cannes Film Festival. Wolf, who is associated with the romantic style, which emulates jewelry from the 1920s, is also a well-known status symbol among local brides.

9. Sisters Einav Zini, 36, and Nophar Machluf, 31, founders of the Sample brand 

The big breakthrough of the past year was certainly recorded in last December's Fashion Week in Tel Aviv, and it belonged to two sisters, Einav Zini and Nophar Machluf, the founders of Sample, a women's clothing brand. Their spring-summer 2013 collection was a delightful surprise. The design language of the two, along with the precision and emphasis on quality, reached new heights in this collection, whose stylistic modesty was in stark comparison to the luxurious evening clothes seen on the runway. The brand became known almost overnight, and the sisters furnish a model of independent designers who can do things a bit differently.

10. MK Danny Danon, 42, and former MK Rachel Adatto, 66, sponsors of the "Photoshop law" 

This year will be remembered as a meaningful one in the world of fashion and beauty, thanks to the enactment of a local "Photoshop law," which obliges models in every commercial or fashion show to produce a medical certificate attesting that they are not underweight. The law also stipulates that commercials must carry a caption declaring that graphic revisions were made in them, as well as a declaration of the models' measurements. It's still too early to say whether the law, which sets a world legal precedent, will be successful in fighting the images of the female body disseminated by the world of fashion and advertising, or make headway against related eating disorders. In any event, the law places Israel on the world map in terms of regulation in this area.