“Are you really Jewish?” she asks me quizzically, voice slightly muffled through the mask tight over her mouth.
I’m sitting in a nail salon in Stamford Hill getting a pre-Shabbat manicure. As the Jewish population here is mostly Charedi/Chasidic, her question isn’t a surprise as I’ve had it before. “I only see Jewish ladies wear black colour,” says the manicurist.
“How you so fashionable?” Determined to stamp out these stereotypes, I show her some of the achingly trendy Orthodox fashion bloggers I follow on Instagram and the nail technician is fascinated.
Muslim bloggers have grown in popularity, with many amassing huge fanbases on social media such as Huda Kattan (24.9 million Instagram followers) and Halima Aden, a Somali Muslim, who was the first pageant queen to wear a burkini and hijab. proving modesty and beauty can go hand-in-hand.
On a smaller, but equally powerful global scale are a handful of Orthodox Jewish women who’ve broken into the secular world of fashion and beauty blogging.
Adi Heyman – 3,645 posts, 48.3k followers, 637 following
This 33-year-old blonde bombshell (above) was voted Most Stylish New Yorker 2015 on StyleCaster, a premier online style destination for today’s millennial woman. Heyman is the founder of Fabologie, a Jewish lifestyle website that combines chic Jewish living with high fashion.
An eclectic and effortless style inspiration to her thousands of followers, modesty is everything to Adi, seen in her popular Instagram account that carries the slogan #CheersToModestFashion. It celebrates her vow to stick to her modest agenda, which, in her own words has become a “fun challenge to synthesise individual aesthetic with prevailing trends”. Her posts display a love for layering unique pieces, working with a vintage or multicultural, even masculine, vibe. Adi proclaims: “If it’s not interesting, I’m not interested.”
Mimu Maxi – 3,148 posts, 44.2k followers, 1,665 following.
These savvy sisters-in-law from Brooklyn, Mimi and Mushky are definitely the most colourful M&Ms I’ve seen. From grunge to glam, their style is versatile and unique. These ladies think nothing of wearing ripped jeans under skirts and dresses, and damn do they pull it off. On a recent Instagram post, Mushky poses in a simple yet stylish grey dress, paired with an oversized men’s check shirt and light trousers. It’s captioned: “Earlier today. Kurt Cobain meets Mushky meets I DONT CARE ABOUT YOUR FASHION RULES” #mimudriftdress
A trawl through the minimalist, sleek website showcases the ‘beautiful fabrics and inventive shapes” they are so proud of, which “offer the best combination of ease, comfort, and impact” and are moderately priced.
TheFrockNYC – 3,337 posts, 39.2k followers, 1,751 following
It seems the best fashion is indeed in the family. Sisters Chaya and Simi are the design duo behind The Frock NYC, a brand that has been featured in magazines such as Vogue many times, along with Elle and Vanity Fair.
Born and raised in Australia, the pair share a unique fashion sense influenced by the easygoing surf culture of the beaches of Sydney, and their upbringing in an Orthodox Jewish home.
Fashionnestaa_ aka Esther (Juanita) Hyams, 488 posts, 8,421 followers, 1,084 following
The more religious that Iranian-born Esther (Juanita) Hyams became, the more she “understood the beauty of modesty” and “wanted to encourage people going on the same journey” as her through her fashion. Esther, 26, has a following in its thousands and a flick through her Insta highlights her fun and unique personality, showcased through the quirky, hip outfits she wears and the inspirational content accompanying her posts. Esther’s best ‘inspar (or insta) ational’ life tip? “Don’t let go of your dreams because of the fear to come out of your comfort zone.
Get out of your comfort zone and see what you’re capable of!”
RedFlamingoUK – 1,523 posts, 8,015 followers, 1,722 following
It seems Jewish talent is definitely a double act, as yet another pair of up-and-coming “fashionsistas” prove. RedFlamingoUK, dreamt up by Mushky Brook, 25 and Malki Herzog, 23, is quickly developing a cult following in London. A passion to dress women modestly while still being fashionable turned a hobby into a business.
Sticking to their English roots and inspired by the likes of Victoria Beckham and the Royals, RedFlamingoUK’s determination to deliver “dresses taking you from day to night” is most definitely demonstrated in their dress collection, which dazzles in an array of jewel colours. “Recently we attended London Fashion Week and the amount of modest clothing was overwhelming,” notes Mushky. “Being Orthodox in this industry is not a hindrance but a positive element. When we work with secular bloggers, they often love to discuss how different cultures are brought together by fashion.”
Although inspired by royalty, RedFlamingo-UK’s prices are fairly reasonable and their top picks for wedding wear this season are in their recent collection of dresses in bold oranges, pinks and blues.
(@charleneaminoff), a self-proclaimed “wife, mommy, CEO & founder of Gali’s Couture Wigs (@galiscouturewigs)”. With a following of 32.9k, and often dubbed the ‘Jewish JLO’, Charlene takes her fashion inspiration from the famous: Melania Trump and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. This sophisticated, frum fashionista is definitely one to keep your eye on.
Shirel Avrahami (@shirelavrahami) A striking Israeli, Shirel is a fashion blogger extraordinaire, boasting a following of 26.4k. She is also owner of an online fashion shop for modest dresses, with an exclusive pregnancy line, www.shirelavrahami.com, and is often pictured alongside Muslim women wearing her designs.
House of Lancry (@houseoflancry)
A “celebration of clothing and lifestyle” has the Vogue stamp of approval as well as that of Net-A-Porter. Each piece in the Lancry collection is cut “to look beautiful from all angles, flatter and feel comfortable”, according to founder and designer Chana Lancry Sufrin. Various pop-up shops in London, Brooklyn and Antwerp prove extremely popular with her 13.7k followers.