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In Tel Aviv, Fashion Flourishes With Less

06/03/2015 12:12 EDT | Updated 06/03/2016 05:59 EDT
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Conversations about Tel Aviv rarely involve fashion and accessories designer Gili Rozin wants to change that. Rozin believes that the young and promising fashion creators of Tel Aviv can place the Israeli city on the world stage alongside iconic hubs like New York, London and Paris.

In 2009, Rozin and her business partner Adi Gal launched MeDusa, a handbag and accessories company in Tel Aviv. They source local materials, produce in-studio, and ship product to customers in cities as far as the United States. A bag with the name Blue Sydney is an obvious effort to relate to a Western audience by using names of places people know well.

While textiles are sparse in Tel Aviv, Rozin and Gal take advantage of a well-known and widely available industrial plastic, polyvinyl chloride, and shape it into elegant evening clutches and durable, everyday shoulder bags. Each bag is embossed with a geometric print and fitted with minimal hardware leaving the eye to focus on bright solid colours and design detail.

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From left, Adi Gal and Gili Rozin with the whale bag

Photo credit: Omer Messinger

I like that Rozin and Gal are doing something different. They've found a unique way to make plastic look urban and stylish; a great accomplishment in a city where they have to work harder with less material.

I recently spoke with Rozin from her studio to learn more about her creative process and Tel Aviv's role in fashion:

Tell me about the Israeli fashion scene.

The Israeli fashion scene is young, but promising. We have many young fashion and accessories designers that are doing beautiful and unique things. Many of them are opening small boutiques and sharing their stories.

The problem is that materials are hard to find in Israel. But, this disadvantage becomes an advantage, because it encourages designers to think of new ways to work with less material.

Slowly, I think something is starting to build here.

How important is Israel to the identity of your bags?

I don't know if the word important is the right word to describe the influence Israel has on our work. It's not so much important as it is a fact.

We started MeDusa in Tel Aviv. We create and produce in Tel Aviv. We import from Tel Aviv and we are inspired by this city. Tel Aviv has a big influence on our creation and on us as designers and people.

Living here is something that pushes you to work, to do, and feel like you're creating. When we started to build MeDusa we knew we were building an international brand that would be accessible to everyone. This city will touch everyone just like New York, Paris and London.

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The Poly backpack hangs in Rozin and Gal's Tel Aviv studio

Photo credit: Ilai Ben Amar

How do you define creativity?

Creativity for me is freedom mixed with courage. To be creative you have to free your mind of society's expectations and the normative habits you have formed. That's where you'll find bravery and courage, and surprise yourself and others.

Creative minds are inquisitive and always looking for surprises. They are excited about both the little and big things life has to offer. Creativity can be in everything we do and everything we think. It's a lifestyle, and my saving rope.

How do you start and end your day?

I start the day hearing my son calling me to get up. After two years, I have to say, it's starting to be a very nice way to wake up. Then, I have a glass of water, and a coffee -- the first of many that will come during the day.

I end my day much faster than I begin; a good ending will be after a glass of beer or wine, or just falling asleep into the book I'm reading, which happens more often.

Visit Me-Dusa.com to shop the latest line of bags.

I'm fascinated by creative women -- their passions, challenges, and contributions to society. If you know a creative woman to feature, please tweet @kmarano.

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