Their project, taking place at Alchec Book & Magazine Store in Tel Aviv this week, features a new wave in budget retail therapy. The idea behind pop-up stores is this: If products are movable, stores should be too — especially when items can hang on cardboard, and desks can double as shelves. A pop-up store can typically serve as a retail venue from one day to several weeks, then be transformed into something very different, or nothing at all.
The pop-up store is reinventing retail, said Talia Borek, a senior lecturer at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, while speaking at the recent Holon Fashion Week. “Fashion allows projects through retail like the pop-up shop, and it makes sense when you think about collections that happen once a season or once a year.”
It’s an innovative approach for new, up-and-coming designers. And, as Tel Aviv events often are, the opening Monday evening was understatedly hip.
For example, Muslin Brothers — which comprises two male designers, Yaen Levi and Nadav Svetlov, and one female, Tamar Levit — have already received nods for their funky, unisex clothing (yes, many of the designs are geared for either men or women). Their name derives from a fabric they love, muslin, (in Hebrew it’s referred to as “Arab fabric”), which is worn around the Middle East and has a light and pliable texture. Their boxy, oversized jacket-sweatshirts and soft, natural fabrics capture the androgynous appeal that a modern dancer might possess.
They also brought their friends on board — one night, it was Oded Arama’s “heavenly shoes,” as one customer put it, another night Heela Harel’s bright neon-dipped necklaces and gold-stenciled tote bags (this writer couldn’t resist, and bought one in blue). Yet another evening featured Haitham Charles, an Israeli-Arab designer whose printed T-shirts, Tsharliz, are causing a buzz these days.
“We’re nomads,” the Muslin Brother’s Svetlov joked at the opening. “We are into looking for alternative ways of selling our stuff. Having a shop or using consignation [the method in which a boutique resells a designer's materials for a percentage of the profit] is sick,” Svetlov said.
While the trio don’t have a social agenda, per se, they are exploring new ideas in the business.
As Svetlov put it, “we run in those circles,” referring to the marriage of “fashion, art, and social activism” in the city. He noted that their clothing has been used as costumes for theater, and that his artist friends tended to blend into the activist scene.
In Tel Aviv, the global pop-up retail phenomenon takes on a uniquely Israeli twist.
Alchec Book & Magazine Store is located at 55 Nahalat Binymain Street. It is hosting the pop-up store through Friday, November 9.