Mariam Zinger resented the settlement’s fashion norms when she arrived in the Kibbutz, a rural Israeli city, wearing a bright red scarf that she used to tie up her hair. The people would not accept her into their settlement.
The Kibbutz settlement in Israel followed strict rules when it came to fashion and many of the outfits people wore were plain and looked the same. The settlement lacked the proper means to produce fabric and ultimately could not afford the luxury.
Because of this, she wasn’t welcome until she removed the scarf. Zinger obliged, reluctantly, and removed the scarf as ordered.
Zinger later returned to the Kibbutz, this time with bright red pants, appalling the residents. The settlement did not approve of her unspoken rebellion in the form of color choice. However, officials did not expel her from the city that day.
The Kibbutz did not take the disgrace lightly, later stealing Zinger’s red pants from her wardrobe and displaying them on a pitchfork in the outlying fields. This did not stop Zinger and she continued to come into the Kibbutz wearing bright red garments, eventually starting a trend.
Zinger’s story was told among many other notable fashion icons mentioned at Long Beach State University’s, “The world of Israeli Fashion” lecture. The event educated students about Israeli culture with a focus on the history of its diverse fashion district on Feb. 28 at 5 p.m.
The Beach Hillel Program, a Jewish support group on campus, hosted this fashion-forward lecture and offered guests free snacks and drinks on the third floor of the USU.
The lecture outlined and educated members about the wonderful world of Israeli fashion using slides, photos, clothing and videos. Liraz Cohen Mordechai, lecturer and owner of Fashionating by Liri, said her goal was to educate and connect with people in a memorable way.
“Talking with people is the most rewarding thing. I just love the personal connection I am getting from the people at my lectures,” Cohen Mordechai said. “It’s really a lasting relationship that I am trying to build with people.”
She began the lecture with a quote from author Mark Twain: “Naked People have no influence on society,” to show audience members the term fashion is not only coined for high fashion and is not only for the superficial and wealthy. For Cohen Mordechai, everyday fashion is an art in its own and is common to the work she does as a Israeli fashion designer.
She highlighted each important era that defined Israel’s fashion scene. Cohen Mordechai even asked volunteers from the crowd to wear and model the unique items of clothing she brought and spoke about during the lecture.
The audience learned about the plain fashion trends of the early Kibbutz Israeli settlements and how the cities overcame that over time. The lecture also focused on Tel Aviv, another Israeli settlement that has always been a strong supporter of self-individualization, especially with the bright clothing worn throughout the city.
These diverse fashion trends developed in both the Kibbutz and Tel Aviv Israeli cities can be noticed worldwide, especially in Israel. The diversity can be noticed in the clothing such as bucket hats, shoes and headdresses worn throughout Israel’s various cities.
“Israel is really a melting pot, we say that for every part of the world but it is so evident when you step foot into Israel,” senior English major Robina Henson said. “From everything you see, so many different flags, and so many different people all at once in any single place you go.
Cohen Mordechai has conducted fashion lectures for the last three and a half years to educate students about Israeli fashion, something she says is close to her heart. This is her first Midwest lecture and from the look of the audience, they were very excited for the opportunity to see her present. This was a rare treat for them because Cohen Mordechai lives on the East Coast, and doesn’t come to the West Coast often.
“I had this moment where I really realized that Israel has amazing fashion and I can share Israeli fashion with the world and tell the story through that perspective and that is what really led me to it,” Cohen Mordechai said.
Some guests attended the event because they were curious about the evolution of Israel’s Fashion culture. Others came to the lecture to learn more about the fashion trends they will see when they embark on their free Israel trip taking place the end of May that will be provided by the LBS Beach Hillel program.
College students who may be interested in going on one of these free Israel trips can visit the Beach Hillel Website for more information.