Mirit Weinstock: Fashion Designer On the Front Line

Without thanking Jesus (which, I suspect wouldn’t be a problem for you), where do you look for inspiration?

Everywhere. In art, nature, music, fashion, poetry, words, love, dialogues.  My favorite artist Louise Bourgeois just died last May. She was a huge inspiration for me. This was very, very sad to me but I’m happy that I had a chance to see her last exhibition in New York.

I’ve heard it’s tough for Israelis to make a go of it in anything other than what you guys call “hi-tech.” What’s the single greatest challenge you face as an emerging designer there?

The greatest challenge is being able to create and survive in a country with such a small and young fashion and textile industry lacking government and non-government support.

Would your designs be different if you were based somewhere else?

My designs change all the time, so I guess being based somewhere else would influence that too.

I recall the wet look and headbands being in style for Israeli men during the mid ’90s. My retina still hurts from it. From your POV, what’s the worst thing about fashion in Israel? Are there signs of hope?

Israeli girls wear jeans so low I am continuously confronted with their bellies. Their backsides remind me of my plumber’s – not a good thing. There is hope: high-waisted pants are in many international collections. Israeli women might embrace them one day too.

I noticed something called MissMi on your website. Break it down for us.

MissMi is an international fashion project where girls from all over the world take self portraits wearing my designs. It started in 2007 with 5 girls. Today, there are over 80 MiGirls from about 40 countries, and the project is still very much alive and going! This is an artistic dialogue between me and many other girls over the world. Each one of them also answers a questionnaire about art, fashion, love, etc. For example, Tamara Ganor from Israel answered “Google” for the question “Please define love.” and “YouTube” was her answer to the question “Who is your favorite artist?”

How has the economy affected your business?

I launched my first US collection in 2006 and had two great seasons. My collection was sold in amazing boutiques like Stine in Los Angeles, By George in Austin, Texas and Searle in New York City. All that stopped when the recession started and buyers didn’t have the budgets to buy young designers’ collections as they did before.

I still don’t feel that this cautious mood has changed and find that today it is so much harder for a young designer to launch a line properly. The money and time that the designer needs to invest are huge and the market is very difficult. This is the ultimate tragedy of our era. Without young, affordable designers, the public misses the chance to express their personality. Young, contemporary designers with a unique fashion statement are what most people can afford to buy. Their designs are the perfect solution if you want a good, quality item and originality but don’t want to wear mass-market products such as H&M or Zara because you can’t afford the high-end labels yet. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible for young designers like me to survive in this difficult economic situation.

I’ve seen enough soccer moms to know the horrors of capris and camel toe. What’s another serious slip-up women make when putting a look together?

I feel bad answering this question because most women are really trying. Should we punish them for that?  I guess not, but please, they shouldn’t overdo the trying. It’s effortlessness which is really charming.

How can a woman spice up her wardrobe when shekels are in short supply?

A red lipstick.

Give us one must-have item for fall/winter 2010.

An item that makes you smile. The fashion world is taking itself way too seriously.

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