Israel is confidently setting itself apart from the rest with its burgeoning fashion scene, which sees young up-and-coming designers add dynamic and new interpretations to the fashion industry that feel undoubtedly fresh.
We spoke to the founders of Tel Aviv-based fashion house HANNAH in this fascinating interview to discover how Israeli designers are overcoming challenges unique to their environment and why this has ultimately lead to an exciting amount of creativity and innovation among Israel’s best budding designers.
1. Tell us about yourself and where you’re from!
Rotem: We are a married couple who both graduated from Shenkar College of Design in Israel. We established our Brand HANNAH in 2014 and our studio is based in Tel Aviv.
Nir: After graduating I participated in the ITS competition with my graduation collection and I’ve been chosen to work as a menswear designer at Maison Martin Margiela in Paris. I also worked as a menswear designer at Benneton in Italy. Back then I missed Rotem and my family so we decided to finally be together in Israel and create our own brand. That is how HANNAH was born.
Rotem: When we started to work on the brand we wanted to create a unique design aesthetic that offers a modern interpretation of femininity combined with elements found in menswear. I believe that the combination between us as a couple in every day life and at work reflects in our designs.
2. Why did you decide to pursue a career in fashion?
Nir: I was born to a family of master tailors from Paris, so I always had a passion for tailoring. In our work we want to combine both traditional European tailoring with our contemporary Israeli environment, which has more of a comfortable feel with a minimalistic approach and functional elements.
3. What was the inspiration behind your brand and name?
Nir: We called our brand HANNAH after the name of my mother.
4. Can you talk me through the creative process of your work for each collection?
Rotem: Our creative process starts when we collect images for inspiration, references and materials to create a visual and graphic story, which reflects in the prints and details. Our design concept is to give an original interpretation of iconic and classic items like a men’s shirt, tailored pants and bomber jacket by making changes in proportions and combining it with innovative techniques we develop in the studio. In every collection we are developing new print techniques, finishes and fabric manipulations, which combine hand-made work with digital techniques like laser cutting and cutting plotters.
5. Do you have a favourite piece in your current collection and why?
Nir: I think the favorite piece in our current collection is the Net Bomber jacket. It is a classic item we do in every collection and in this one we combined net fabric with unique details – the pockets, placket and epaulettes are made using a bonded technique and finished via laser cutting to create a clean and sophisticated look.
6. What was the story behind your current collection?
Nir: In our latest collection we were inspired by my favorite movie series – Star Wars.
7. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Rotem: We are constantly being inspired by the study of a masculine wardrobe, utility clothing, uniforms and historical garments.
8. What does fashion mean to you?
Nir: For us, fashion is the combination between craftsmanship and technology to create a unique statement.
9. Who are your favourite designers?
Our favorite designers are Raf Simons, Phoebe Philo and Nicolas Ghesquière.
10. What do you think makes Israel’s emerging fashion so special from the rest?
Rotem: Israel has a lot of great designers and the scene of young designers is on high momentum. The industry itself (sewing, fabric suppliers, etc.) is very small and not well developed compared to abroad, so it takes us a lot of effort and thought in order to differentiate our brand and maintain a high quality. Despite the difficulty, you can see a lot of development in new materials and techniques among the young designers in Israel, so the lack of material actually leads to exciting innovation and a lot of creativity.
11. How do you hope to make a mark on the fashion industry?
Rotem: In the future, we are planning to expand our business activity in the international market and hope to sell our collections in selected boutiques around the world.
12. Do you have any tips or advice for young aspiring designers?
Nir: The best advice for a young designer is to get experience before building an independent brand. I learned a lot by the time I was working in Paris and Italy and it really helped us to develop our own brand.
Where can our readers keep up to date with you and your work?
On our website and online shop – www.hannah-studio.com
Words by Jessica-Christin Hametner
Photography: Rotem Lebel