Every time she saw the long lines of religious girls, waiting at the cash tills of Mamilla with their fathers' credit cards and their mothers' cheque books, Shulamit felt her heart scrunch up. The travesty, the absolute travesty, paying good money, a lot of it, for clothes they wouldn't be able to wear. Well at least not straight away, and by the time they'd finished with the bits of fabric, by the time they'd let down hems and sewn up slits and added buttons and safety pins to raise the necklines, it would all be spoiled. She knew it would. It always was. She felt so sorry for them. Fashion wasn't meant to be meddled with.
Really, if you thought about it, there was a lot that could be done with Orthodox fashion. Women's bodies had to be covered, from top to toe, and that was a large canvas (a very large canvas indeed after seven pregnancies had left their mark), a blank canvas just waiting for her.
When she had a store, it wouldn't sell items blindly imitating the catwalk. She wouldn't copy standard patterns, and then add material indiscriminately in order to deem it modest. When she had a store, it would be stocked with the fashion she designed. Fashion for the Orthodox woman.
Shulamit was following her dream. It wasn't a standard dream, for a frum girl. Wasn't a typical one. She couldn't train for it in seminary, in the same way the other girls learned teaching and special Ed. But it was just as idealistic, just as holy. She knew her store would make the world a better place. She'd be helping the next generation of Frum girls, same as if she were teaching in a Bais Yaacov. She'd be helping them dress well, look good. Maybe she could even end the Shidduch Crisis. In her outfits girls would be so irresistible that no Yeshiva guy would be able to turn them down.
So she had to venture out, into a very different world, which was new to her. Well the truth was she could have learned sewing in one of the girls-only colleges popping up. They promised to teach design too. That's what her teachers had encouraged, when they'd realized she wasn't going to join the ranks of teachers. She'd tried, really she had. She'd gone to the group of white washed rooms, tucked into a dingy building off Rabbi Akiva street in Bnai Brak. She'd sat patiently through a lesson on creativity, fighting off the urge to close her eyes, which grew heavier, as the lecturer, a middle aged woman in a bushy Shaitel, droned on, saying nothing very creative at all.
At the end of that lesson, she stood up, thanked the teacher, waved a good bye to the students, and left.
To make a dream come true wasn't easy. She needed the best. She got on the bus to Tel Aviv, and rode straight to Betzalel. Betzalel was the top art academy in Israel. That's where she wanted to study fashion design. But it was too late. The year had already started. They told her to mail forms in May, to apply for the next year.
Shulamit would wait. Meanwhile she had enough to keep herself busy. After all, she had another profession too. She was a matchmaker. She'd focus on that. Not only fashion could end the Shidduch crisis, she'd give it a good try with her trusty notebook too.
4 days ago