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Ayelet Sacher and Sivan Flysher Ayelet Sacher and Sivan Flysher

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Sarafan Showroom: new talent from Tel Aviv

Thursday, Jan 27, 2011, 9:58 AM / Tel Aviv, Israel

Time and again the sartorial spotlight lands on upcoming designers from established fashion capitals Paris, London, or New York. But with help from the pioneering Sarafan Showroom, Tel Aviv’s fashion stars are beginning to shine bright.

Representing a diverse clientele of uniquely Tel Aviv labels, the showroom was formed by friends Ayelet Sacher and Sivan Flysher in August 2009. The pair equally share the workload, and both bring a breadth of experience to the table – Sacher holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry, while Flysher is a former lawyer.

Their portfolio is comparably distinctive, ranging from avant-garde womenswear by Miss Alice and hand printed tights by Gal Stern, to structural chic jewellery by Ruby Star, and urban childrenswear by Black Sheep. Embracing the concept of "showroom guerilla," Sarafan present their brands in private showrooms twice a year to an audience of international buyers, with previous trips including capsule NY and plans in the pipeline to visit Tokyo later this year.

We caught up with Flysher to learn how Sarafan use digital media to expand their global reach and to find out about the fashion landscape in Tel Aviv.

TribaSpace: How did the concept for Sarafan Showroom begin?
Sivan Flysher: Ayelet and I consider ourselves as cosmopolitan fashion connoisseurs. Since we have neither the desire nor the skills to build a fashion label and handle the design work, we felt we can contribute from a business oriented approach.

While studying law and business at Tel Aviv University, I started working in a high-end boutique in Tel Aviv, and became more familiar with the "in house" fashion industry. A year ago, I finished my internship in commercial law and Ayelet left her position as a biochemist at Tel Aviv University, and we decided to do something new and creative together.

It took us by surprise that Sarafan Showroom is the first of its kind in Israel. We travelled a lot around the world, and felt there is a place for the Tel Aviv based designers to be part of some of the high-end boutiques we became familiar with globally. Our vision is to provide the new generation of designers with an opportunity to be noticed and appreciated on a national, as well as international level.

How does your educational background in biochemistry and law, respectively, influence your work today? Did either of you undertake new training before transitioning to fashion business?
Both Ayelet and I didn’t undertake any formal training before transitioning to fashion business. However, we feel this unexpected and unpredictable combination provides the industry with a much needed rational, organised and coherent attitude. Our practical approach allows designers to focus their attention and energy on challenging old trends and stereotypes, to focus only on designing while we take care of everything else.

What does it take to create a successful showroom?
We think its a combination of several things – the labels have to be unique and interesting, combining high quality with tones of creativity. There is no point trying to penetrate a foreign market with something you don’t think is somewhat new or refreshing. At Sarafan, each designer must have a strong individual identity, and yet embody the inherently raw Tel Aviv urbanity.

It’s also important you truly believe in your product, only then can you promote it with lots of passion. Each one of our labels reflect our style and design attitude.

So what’s your criteria when choosing labels to represent?
Does it excite us? Would we like to buy it for ourselves? Can we see it being stocked in our favorite boutiques around the world? If so, its a brand worth representing.

How does technology and new media, such TribaSpace and social networking platforms, affect your business? Do these platforms help you to reach the international market?
Our team at Sarafan believe technology and new media is the future, or should I say the present. We aim to deliver Tel Aviv's appeal and energy to the international fashion scene. Today, more than ever, technology enables this to us – it’s in a distance of a click. We use TribaSpace, Facebook, etc as platforms to reach fashionistas around the world and give them a glimpse of this spirit.

How is Tel Aviv positioned within the global fashion market? What do you anticipate as the future of fashion in Tel Aviv?
In the past few years we have witnessed the city of Tel Aviv reinvent itself as a prolific artistic hub. This is articulated best in the way Tel Aviv is positioned within the international scene; we are small but daring, young but creative, this is both our weakest and strongest point.

There is an established group of talented designers in Tel Aviv – as we see it, it’s only a matter of time until Tel Aviv will be considered a true fashion capital.

Sarafan Showroom
66 Melchet
Tel-Aviv, Israel
Tel: +972 50766 3552

Melisa Gray-Ward | TribaSpace

Product Groups: Buying, Sales, Act as an Agent, Promotion, PR, Accessories, Ready-to-Wear
Markets: Children's, Women's, Men's, Other

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