Tel Aviv’s burgeoning fashion and jewelry scene is relatively new, but there’s still plenty of shopping and exploring to be had in Israel’s economic center—so long as you know where to look. Fashion expert Galit Reismann helps visitors find off-the-beaten-path designers with her company, TLVstyle. She joined the Jewelry Journey podcast to explain how Tel Aviv’s jewelry scene has grown, why you’ll find many jewelers working out of their homes and which Israeli designers to watch out for. Read the transcript below.
Sharon: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Jewelry Journey podcast. Today, I’m pleased to welcome Galit Reismann, founder of the fashion consultancy TLVstyle. TLV stands for Tel Aviv, Israel, where she is based. Galit is an entrepreneur, curator and fashion content expert. Just one of the things she does is expose visitors to the inside of Israel’s emerging fashion design scene, both clothing and jewelry. She’ll tell us more about that as well as her business, today. Galit, welcome to the program.
Galit: Hi, Sharon, nice to be here. Super glad to be here actually.
Sharon: Great to have you. Glad we connected. Galit, tell us about your jewelry and fashion journey. How did you become a fashion maven?
Galit: It’s a nice question. I was thinking a lot about it during my journey, and I will say that it all started quite organically with the path of my life. I was always drawn to creativity, but I wasn’t that girl that was sitting at home designing with beads and fabrics. It’s interesting; after the army, I met one of the professional work advisors that told me I would work in the creative fields, but not as a designer, as the mind creator behind it. I wish I could say to him today, wow, he was right. I think from childhood to my mature life, I was on an entrepreneurial journey that shaped me into those fields. When I shifted my career at the age of 30 from the media field to fashion, representing all these qualitative accessories designers in the U.S. market, I understood that I found my passion and I decided to focus on the fashion world.
Sharon: When did you first realize that Israel, and especially Tel Aviv, had become a fashion hotspot?
Galit: Tel Aviv is recognized as the leading city for innovation, creativity, its culinary scene and vibrant nightlife. We met when we were in Israel, and of course you can confirm that, but the fashion story started to evolve mostly in the last decade. I could tell that a creative energy slowly but surely was diffused into the fashion world and pushed it forward. I myself was living for 15 years in Tel Aviv and immersed myself easily with the city’s creative energy. While I was starting the business eight years ago, I learned about the boom of emerging designers in the city that started to create this new landscape for the industry. It was mostly in the last decade. It’s really evolving, and Tel Aviv is becoming a hotspot for fashion lovers.
Sharon: Yes, absolutely. Tell us about your business. What do you do for clients?
Galit: It’s so beautiful to share that with you, Sharon. Thank you for the opportunity. I create bridges between the Israeli creative community and the international community through a few platforms, the main one being tours. As you mentioned, it’s a behind-the-scenes experience that allows people to be inspired and engaged with the DNA of our society through creative communities. I open the door for my clients to meet the designers and the artists that are touching the fields of sustainability, social impact and innovation. There is the traditional coexisting with topics that are relevant globally, that I find are relevant to incoming tourists. The activity that is most important for me is to focus on emerging designers, as you mentioned in the beginning of this conversation, because those people are the next generation of creative designers in Israel. They represent the wellspring of creativity and braveness and discovery between generations, from past to future, and all this passion. I share this through the fashion and cultural tours and events and lectures and panels to catch as many souls as I can, globally and locally.
Sharon: Wow! Like you said, you do a lot of different things, and you give tours. So, you give tours of different studios?
Sharon: Jewelry, design and fashion studios?
Galit: I’m covering everything. I’m under the umbrella of fashion. I’m not focusing on clothing only. As you mentioned, I also love to show accessories designers, and accessories includes creating jewelry, handbags, scarves, hats, shoes, all kinds of sectors to share the stories. Since I’m mostly talking about humans and their stories and offering personal meetings with them, it isn’t necessarily important if they’re a textile designer or a fashion designer. It’s to show the world the mindset we have here and the innovation and talents we have in this beautiful community.
Sharon: It is a beautiful community. There’s such energy. Would you say the Israeli jewelry scene is as vibrant as the fashion scene?
Galit: It’s interesting because jewelry is a vibrant field. Since the 90s, Israel has witnessed vivid development in the field of art jewelry. I myself always saw the jewelry scene as one step before the successful recognition of fashion designers, but today they are more side-by-side with their growing success. It’s an interesting question, because when we go back to the early days of the country or the recent past, jewelry making wasn’t a field that told the story of Israeli society. As you know, Israel is a country of immigrants, where east and west meet. It was a place where people were collecting identities. Today, these traditions continue to exist, but it’s changing. The communal narrative is changing to become more individualistic, and because of that, today there is a place for different designers to shine. In the past, jewelry makers were the ones that mostly showed case studies, although we had a few success stories from fashion. I don’t know if you are familiar with the fashion story of Mesquite and Gothics, but they were mostly fashion designers, like jewelry designers. So yes, I think it’s vibrant. It was before and today parallel to the fashion scene.
Sharon: Are you saying that jewelry designers are working more hand-in-hand with clothing designers, like making things that go with certain clothing?
Galit: Please repeat the question. Sorry.
Sharon: No, I wanted to make sure I was understanding what you were saying.
Galit: The importance of the jewelry scene nowadays—you ask if this scene is as vibrant as the fashion scene. It’s going together and developing together. In the jewelry scene, you can find art jewelry and you can find fashion jewelry and you can find concept design. This field is growing as well as the fashion scene in Israel. Since nowadays it’s a very individualistic approach for designers, not like in the past, when they were trying to follow a narrative, we see a boom for all of them in this field.
Sharon: Interesting. How do you find emerging talent? Do you find them, or do they find you? How do you know what’s going on?
Galit: These days, with eight years of experience and 15 years of experience in the U.S. market as well—I didn’t mention that—but when you asked me how I became a fashion maven, I will say that I’ve been in this field for 15 years, but I started by representing Israeli fashions in the U.S. market.
Sharon: Did you live here when you did this?
Galit: Can you ask me the question again, please?
Sharon: How do you find new emerging talent? Do they come to you and say, “Include us”? How do you hear about them? Do you find them on Instagram? How do you find people?
Galit: I’ve spent 15 years working with American designers and eight years as a fashion entrepreneur. Now with TLVstyle, my fashion tourism company, it became quite big and a lot of designers already know about this service. They tell new designers, colleagues, friends. Some of them approach me through recommendations. Some of them I find from ongoing research, from academic graduations or online research, articles, events, exhibitions. I research every day, so it’s been a fusion. They find me and I find them.
Sharon: Interesting. I bet they’re very glad to find you.
Galit: They have to follow a few characters to be included, but I love the talent.
Sharon: They’re interesting people.
Sharon: What tips can you give us if somebody is going to Israel and they want to shop for jewelry or clothing or shoes or accessories? Where should they go, and what are some of your favorite places? Do people negotiate prices? What do we need to know to do the best shopping?
Galit: If we’re talking mostly about jewelry designers, since jewelry designers need tables to work, a lot of them can be found working from home. They are not necessarily on the front line of the streets. I will say that the fashion scene is—if you ask me where to go in Israel in general, fashion is concentrated mainly in Tel Aviv. I had a big project for leaders from JCC, and they wanted days in Haifa, Jerusalem, and I said, “O.K., I’m going to find the best designers in these areas,” and I could find only rare stores. Tel Aviv is the hub and, as we said in the beginning, the hotspot for young designers. Since Tel Aviv is divided into neighborhoods, in each place you can pick a few beautiful places and ateliers and showrooms to visit, but some of them are working at off-the-beaten-track places. I will say that people need me. Now, I’m laughing because some of the designers are really—the best stores are hard to find sometimes. I’m saying you should either take two or three days, explore Tel Aviv, all the neighborhoods and the small streets and the cool places, or join one of my tours.
Sharon: Joining one of your tours was certainly a great way to find places. I know our group never would have found them on our own, so thank you for that, and thank you for being here.
Galit: I want to add, because we are focusing on jewelry—again, you don’t have a lot of contemporary, innovative jewelry designers in private studios in the districts because they work from home. They are really, really hidden. It’s different from the fashion designers. Of course, you can find some jewelry designers, but a lot of silversmiths and goldsmiths—I would love to share with you some of the designers I admire. The ones attached to the contemporary scene nowadays are hidden.
Sharon: If you’re open to it, we’d love to hear the ones you think we should keep our eyes on, or ears open for.
Galit: I have a big love for designers that are working on the fine line between art and design. I will even mention designers that shaped my love and understanding of the jewelry industry and the ones that I was representing in the U.S. They can be designers like Hadas Shaham, a lady that’s working with concrete and gold and designing unbelievable, beautiful, gentle lines. All the leading contemporary museum stores in the U.S. were carrying her. Another lady that I really appreciated was Gila Karny, who works with springs.
Sharon: How do you spell the last name?
Galit: K-a-r-n-y. Sharon Vaizer, she’s working with net and unique techniques of heating, not using glue, but attaching the verofsky with a unique technique of heating. She just returned from the craft show in Philadelphia with huge success. Or Inbar Shahak or Sherry Avda—wow, so many beautiful designers. Of course, the famous and more well-known are located in the heart of Tel Aviv, and even if they’re working in the goldsmith and silversmith area, they are designing jewelry that has Israeli flair, edgy and bold and interesting. It’s really worth it to check out those things.
Sharon: A great way to describe it—edgy, bold and interesting. That’s what we all want.
Galit: By the way, I would love to add something.
Galit: You asked me where else besides Tel Aviv people can look for designers. You can try social media. I’m researching a lot about how to find people on Instagram, the cool jewelry designers. There is a hashtag called #contemporaryjewelry, and you can discover really interesting things through it. One of the designers that I just mentioned, Sherry Avda, she’s a very close friend and known abroad more than in Israel, which is funny. We are both always talking about how designers should get exposure. She has said that getting to know Israeli designers, it’s bit of detective work. Since the Israel community is very, very small and connected within itself, if you follow one designer, there is a big chance you will get to other jewelry designers. It’s nice to start research on Instagram. Also, there’s the platform of exhibitions locally and globally. Locally, twice a year you have the Be’er Galley in Israel. There are a lot of articles about it. If people are jewelry gurus and love to research Israel in this field, they should follow the Be’er Galley for Design or the Be’er Galley for Jewelry featuring Israeli designers. Recently there was a big, beautiful exhibition in the Islamic Museum in Jerusalem that was devoted entirely to goldsmith designers. I will say online merges with offline to serve many people.
Sharon: Wow! I feel like I missed a lot.
Galit: You should come again.
Sharon: I definitely will put it on my list. Galit, thank you so much for being here today. To everybody listening, we’ll have a list of the names that Galit mentioned, and we’ll have a link to TLVstyle so you can find her. That wraps up another episode of the Jewelry Journey. If you like what you heard and you would like to hear more, you can subscribe on iTunes or wherever you download your podcasts, and please make sure to review us. We’ll be back next time with another thought-provoking guest giving us their professional take on the world of jewelry. Thank you so much for listening.
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