This week brings the sixth annual Holon Fashion Week, seeking to create “a discourse” about what’s happening in the world of Israeli fashion, said Eyal De Leeuw, creator and organizer of the conference.
Known as HOF13, this year’s conference focuses on technological advances in the world of fashion — which have been powering the industry since its very start, according to Idit Barak, De Leeuw’s co-organizer this year.
“Technology has always driven design and we wanted to see what kind of handcrafted and textile work is still around, as well as looking at the innovative work in the field,” said Barak.
She mused about the changes wrought by the first industrial revolution, when design became industrialized with clothing manufacturers looking to make garments as cheaply as possible and then shipping them out to every corner of the world. The current industrial revolution, however, she noted, “puts the designer back in the conversation. With technologies like 3D printing and laser printing, it’s really letting changes come into focus, and changing the way designers think about production.”
At the same time, there’s an ongoing trend of designers engaging in creating their own fabrics and textiles, particularly in Israel, where the local marketplace doesn’t always have the materials necessary to design clothing and accessories.
In order to fully encapsulate the different aspects of local design, De Leeuw and Barak are running Holon Fashion Week a little bit differently from those of previous years, hoping that the conference becomes part of the country’s fashion calendar.
To that end, they invited a handful of guests to the conference — style makers and designers who are well-known for their inimitable crafts and talents and have found their own methods of influencing the current industrial revolution. The guests will be speaking and running workshops for conference attendees, offering a brief glimpse of how they work.
The star of the guest crew is British milliner Stephen Jones, known for his haute couture designs for Princess Diana, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Boy George, among others (he’ll be speaking October 15 at 4 p.m. and running a workshop on October 16 at 3 p.m.), and there will be an ongoing exhibit of his hats at the museum.
Other guests to watch for are Suzanne Lee, the creator of BioDesign textiles (speaking October 15 at 10:15 a.m.) and Francesca Rozela and Ryan Genz of CuteCircuit, a London-based team also using smart technology to create their couture textiles (speaking October 15 at 12:10 with a workshop on October 16 at 12). There will also be an H&M-sponsored contest for young designers using recycled clothing to create new fashion pieces and a range of other workshops during the five-day conference. And Holon residents get the opportunity to walk the red carpet in the frock of one’s dreams, at a closing event on Thursday, October 20, 8 p.m.
“The agenda is to help the local design industry and see this as our next high-tech boom,” said Barak. “Fashion design could really be the next step of the start-up nation. There’s not a big difference between start-up entrepreneurs and designers.”
Both Barak and De Leeuw want to create business-to-business networking opportunities at the conference, bringing together independent Israeli and international designers, as well as industrialists, boutique owners and local manufacturers, such as underwear maker Tefron and mass market companies like Renuar and Castro.
They’re the right people for the job. De Leeuw is head of external relations for the Design Museum Holon, as well as the co-founder of Tel Aviv’s men’s fashion blog, The Garçonnière, and a foreign correspondent for Details Magazine. Barak, a graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, successfully ran her own design business, Delicatessen, in Tel Aviv’s Electric District before deciding to move into more eclectic design and lecturing at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design.
“Eyal’s been doing this forever,” said Barak. “He’s really the mommy and the daddy of this thing.”
“I created this little monster,” agreed De Leeuw. “It’s still growing, and that’s why Idit joined up.”
For now, the two are looking to target anyone and everyone with design interests.
“We’re looking to gather everybody,” said Barak. “The idea of the museum is to connect with the rest of the design world, and the conference offers the opportunity for discourse. We’re doing fabulous things here; let’s recognize it.”
HOF 13, October 15 – October 20, tickets available on the Holon Fashion Week website.