How Design Is Born
Identity and belonging are at the basis of the creative work of Daniella Saraya, Aharon Genish, Batia Wang, and TRES – designers shortlisted for the 2022 Edmond de Rothschild Design Award. Their works revolve around personal and collective narratives, and their products move from the internal to the external, from the physical body to ideas.
The endpoint of the design process is often identified as the point when time runs out. But the more significant question is: How does this process begin, and what is that elusive point that ignites an idea? In the world of fashion and textiles, design may commence with imagination or inspiration, a daydream that gradually materializes and takes form in a sketchbook, through words or initial scribbles. In some instances, the immediate translation is more material, involving free modeling or the precise crafting of cuts— an arduous and complex engineering work of art.
Designer Ariel Bassan illustrates this interplay between tradition and innovation in his work: “The choice of textile, the basic cuts, and the tailoring draw on the history and elegance of men’s fashion. Simultaneously, my design endeavors to explore and expand the boundaries of menswear, offering a contemporary interpretation of classic tailoring while challenging traditional gender associations in clothing. My work exists at the intersection of the masculine and feminine, the conceptual and the wearable, the classic and the modern.”
For the fashion brand TRES, founded by Noy Goz, Noa Gur, and Dafna Philosoph, the design process is tactile and collaborative. They prefer to wear the garments themselves, evaluating the feel, examining from all angles, engaging in discussions, striving for precision, and taking measurements repeatedly. They explain, “There are no mannequins in our studio, no in-progress design sketches on our walls. We three are partners in the design process, which starts with an idea translated early on into an initial model (toile). We continue to design together, assessing the fit on ourselves, and constantly seek to understand our customers’ needs and desires.”
Daniella Saraya is a young jewelry designer who examines the actions we take in order to belong, and raises questions about oppression perpetrated through aesthetics and beauty, which are society- and education- dependent properties, while challenging the role which jewelry plays in all of these. “In recent years, my approach to thinking and creating jewelry is shifting to focus on the moment of wearing an item, when pieces of jewelry are transformed from objects into actions. Perceiving wearing a jewel as an everyday performance has led me to use it to create planned, one-of-a-kind shows, centered around the human body,” she explains.
Fashion designer Aharon Genish draws inspiration from his upbringing in the closed worlds of the yeshiva, the Torah, and the teaching of the Jewish sages (Chazal), which he reinterprets in an innovative and personal manner: “The combination of an artwork and wearable clothing items creates the stark contrast between the human herd element and the uniqueness of each individual. Gender boundaries are blurred through oversized silhouettes, tailored suits and dresses give the body’s lines a new and different interpretation, classic menswear becomes womenswear and vice versa.”
Batia Wang owns an established studio for jewelry design, manufacturing, and export. Her works address themes of identity, society, environment, and the dialogue between material and form. “The Hebrew term for ‘smithing’ encapsulates my approach, as it holds both volume and smithcraft. I craft volumetric bodies, treating their surfaces. My material is 18 carat gold or 24 carat pure gold, and design for me is a language. Gold jewels are my way of expressing the recurring themes and narratives that captivate me, taking on different forms.”