Thursday, 10 May 2018

Orthodox Jewish Fashion

From The Editor, Beside The Creek:  Some years ago I lived in Sydney. The eastern suburbs of Sydney have a significant number of Jewish residents.  I used to frequent Bondi which is the beachside suburb next to Coogee.  I recall that one Saturday (Sabbath) morning on my regular visit to Bondi there was a young man sitting on a bench on the grassed esplanade. I have never forgotten him.  He was quite distinctive. He was sitting there looking reflective - but he was not dressed for the beach let alone for surfing. He looked like he had stepped right out out of the seventeenth century. I don't wish to cast aspersions, but, Bondi being Bondi, I could only think that this young man was either envious of those plunging into the surf or that he was hoping to see some beautiful young surfer maiden.

Searching on Google, this is as near as I could find.

Sydney sisters build empire with 'man-repelling' Orthodox Jewish fashion

Orthodox Jewish sisters Chaya Chanin and Simi Polonsky at Coogee Beach.
Brooklyn-based fashion designers Chaya Chanin (L) and Simi Polonsky (R) on a recent trip to Australia.

Growing up in the beachy Sydney suburb of Coogee, sisters Simi Polonsky and Chaya Chanin stuck out like a sore thumb.
"On Saturdays everyone is wearing bikinis, shorts, guys aren't wearing shirts," Ms Polonsky remembers.
"It's really just a fun, chilled beach vibe… and as a kid you just want to fit in, except we had to go to Synagogue."
Her sister chimes in: "And my mother would buy us these frilly, collared dresses and patent shoes with matching bows … and it's a really hot summer Saturday in Coogee!"
As Orthodox Jews and daughters of the local rabbi, the sisters were expected to follow the Torah's teachings of tznius: modesty.

The dos and don'ts of Orthodox dressing

The most common interpretation of tznius requires women to cover their elbows, knees and collarbones.
"If you do want to wear pants, leggings, trackies, jeans, whatever it is, it's with a skirt or a dress over it," Ms Chanin explains.
"We don't wear sleeveless [clothes] and no plunging necklines."

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