Intense competition between fast fashion chains is nothing new, but it seems that in recent years it’s stepped up. Late capitalism, with its endless variety, mostly of the same thing, has created an almost uniform fashion landscape: items born on fashion runways in cities such as Paris and Milan, and immediately reproduced in thousands of cheap copies in international and local chains. This is precisely why collaborations have sprung up between top designers, fashion icons, musicians and artists, with the aim of differentiating between collections and lending them the desire factor lost along the way. If the work of art has lost its aura, all the more so for fashion.
Alongside such collaborations, started among others by the Swedish chain H&M, the Japanese giant Uniqlo and American companies such as Target, Gap and JC Penney, Israeli companies have also been trying to make their collections more unique through similar initiatives. That’s what Castro has done with musician Ivri Lider, Delta with singer Ninet Tayeb, and, going further back to the first Israeli collaboration, that’s what drove Ata to collaborate at the end of the 1960s with legendary Israeli seamstress Lola Beer.
But evaluating such collaborations requires separating the marketing departments of fashion companies, and their goals, and the collections’ design and fashion value. Sometimes the value is summed up in the famous name on the item’s label (as in the case of Tayeb, who designed sloppy clothes lacking in design value and seemingly old-fahsioned), and sometimes the clothes take on new meanings (as in the collaboration between Castro and Lider).
Not a household name
In this sense, the new collection by TwentyFourSeven and photographer, stylist and journalist Tamar Karavan is an interesting addition. On the one hand, Karavan is only known to a small circle in the local industry, and her name is clearly unfamiliar to those looking over the collection’s hangers outside of Tel Aviv. On the other hand, she is known for her love of clothes and the playfulness afforded by the fashion world, and after countless sales from her private closet, Instagram photos and her beloved columns in Yedioth Ahronoth’s “7 Days” supplement, it is interesting to see what collection she’s come up with.
“I have lots of clothes,” explains Karavan regarding her motivation to collaborate with the company, “but I always change them a bit. I shorten some, I alter others, and I thought I might like to design one collection that would be exactly according to my taste.”
“There’s something about Tamar’s style that’s a bit off,” says Ron Kahan, the brand’s creative director, who worked with Karavan, about the reasons for the collaboration. “For her, fashion is something you play with, and I wanted that to come through in the collection with her.” In the process, the two worked on paring down and polishing 10 items that would represent Karavan, from an A-cut miniskirt to a button-less jacket, an A-cut mini-dress with short sleeves, a masculine chiffon blouse, long trousers, and shaping shorts and panties. These were accompanied by very appealing white low boots and an evening bag.
African geometric patterns
It is surprising to see only 10 items, iconic though they may be, in Karavan’s collection. But it seems that’s her source of strength. “I really did intend to make loads of clothes,” she says, “but Ron taught me how to focus.” Most of the collection’s items are printed with an African geometric pattern, very much in Karavan’s free-spirited style, in royal blue, red or lemon yellow. Karavan’s famous jacket is perhaps the core of the collection, with a narrow, longish cut that drapes over the bottom, a small lapel and no latch, which lends it a cool, loose look. Even Karavan’s liking for a long sleeve and the ability to fold it found expression here, and the prints on the fabric provide it with the necessary uniqueness. It’s the same with the other items: the shorts with their precise length, the A-cut mini-dress with the right length sleeves or the half-transparent chiffon blouse, with the colorful collar and buttons.
Yet despite the precision of the cuts, and the right colors, it seems the collection’s main drawback is the quality of the fabric. “We chose polyamide because it’s a wonderfully comfortable fabric that doesn’t wrinkle and comes out of the laundry almost entirely dry,” says Kahan. Yet this shiny synthetic fabric detracts from the attention given to the collection’s other aspects. A look at the collection’s hangers reveals a synthetic, uninviting glitter that rather limits the playfulness, the Karavan twist and the freedom of dressing up (though it does make the prices manageable). Nevertheless, we are left with a wardrobe that should be considered even after the vacation for which it is designed.
Prices: Jacket, 340 shekels ($97); trousers, 230 shekels; short trousers, 170 shekels; skirt, 170 shekels; blouses, 100-170 shekels; dress, 200 shekels; panties, 80 shekels; ankle boots, 270 shekels; clutch, 180 shekels. Available at the chain’s selected stores.