Fashioning Israel

A new fashion exhibit at the Rishon LeZion Museum presents fashion from Israel’s oldest colony and fashion inspired by the early pioneers.

A new fashion exhibit at the Rishon LeZion Museum presents fashion from Israel’s oldest colony and fashion inspired by the early pioneers.

It’s only fitting as the history of the city of Rishon LeZion and that of the State of Israel go hand in hand. Here are a few reasons why: Rishon LeZion was the pre-State Land of Israel’s first colony, founded by the first Aliya wave of immigration in 1882. The words of the “Ha-Tikva”, Israel’s national anthem, were written by Naftaly Hertz Imber while visiting Rishon LeZion in 1883. The blue and white flag that would later become the national flag of Israel was flown for the first time for Rishon le-Zion’s third anniversary parade.

In 1889, the Keren Kayemet, (then called “The Association for the National Fund for Eretz Israel”), was founded in Rishon Le-Zion – 12 years before the Jewish National Fund was officially founded at the 5th Zionist Congress in Basel in 1901. Under the leadership of farmer and author Nehama Pohatchevsky, women obtained equal voting rights for the first time in 1917, and in 1919 Pohatchevsky, was voted as the first woman to head the Village Committee.

These are just a few of the Zionist firsts credited to Rishon – whose name literally means, “first in Zion”. You can read more on the Rishon Lezion Municpal website.

In celebration Israel’s 65th Independence Day and Rishon LeZion’s 130th anniversary, the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design invited its fashion design students to provide a new young and contemporary spin on the clothes worn by these early pioneers. The resulting exhibit of fashion both old and new, “Dressing the Nation”, is now on display at the Rishon LeZion Museum. The historical dress includes everything from Flapper dresses and Russian style men’s work-shirts…

To children’s sailor suits and winter coats…

Meanwhile, Shenkar’s young fashion designer seeks to reexamine the Zionist narrative, as in Elisha Abergil’s long-sleeved blue shift that takes inspiration from the flag, which itself was inspired by the traditional Jewish tallit prayer shawl and Amir Mark’s Star of David pleated skirt imprinted with photographic images of Rishon’s early pioneers. (Photos by Tammy Dahan).

And contemporary men’s fashion in minimalist shades of blue and sand by Avishai Berger.

More images from the exhibition are available on Rishon-Net. The exhibition is on at the Museum of Rishon Lezion (2 Ahad Street) from 10 April to 12 May. Opening hours: Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – 14:00 to 9:00, Monday – 13:00 to 9:00 / 19:00 to 4:00 p.m.; First Saturday of each month: 14:00 to 10:00 a.m.

About Rachel Neiman

A veteran media professional who has lived in Israel since 1984, Rachel has been part of the ISRAEL21c organization since 2008. Prior to that, she served as managing editor of Globes Online, the English-language edition of Israel’s leading business daily, and before that, at The Jerusalem Post, as a business reporter, feature writer, and consumer columnist. Rachel began writing about Israeli technology companies at LINK Israel’s Business and Technology Magazine and is a professional Hebrew to English translator. In her spare time, she is an active member of the Havurat Tel Aviv congregation, and the Holyland Hash House Harriers, part of an international running and drinking disorganization.