MAYA BASH

DESIGNER


MAYA BASH


Typically, “fashion design” aren’t words attributed to a country like Israel. Political branding and tags that induce heated, divided debates overshadow the artistic aspects of Israel, particularly those pouring from its cultural capital Tel Aviv. But if one looks around enough, there is much more to discover than controversial headlines.


By Emanuelle Honnorat

Typically, “fashion design” aren’t words attributed to a country like Israel. Political branding and tags that induce heated, divided debates overshadow the artistic aspects of Israel, particularly those pouring from its cultural capital Tel Aviv. But if one looks around enough, there is much more to discover than controversial headlines.

Among those to be discovered in Israel’s fashion industry, Maya Bash, an Israeli fashion designer lets us into her minimalist universe based in south Tel Aviv, located off the renowned streets of Allenby and Rothschild.

Unsurprisingly, the shop, which reminds me more of a boutique, is a faithful emulation of Bash’s style: trousers, dresses and t-shirts of all colours hang daintily off hooks on the walls, polaroid photos of models decked in Bash’s creations line the wall subtly, looking more like postcards hidden behind the shoes and accessories. Bash’s statement is clearly all in the understatement. Another contrast to Israel’s typical excessive expression. 

For a hot summer day in early July, Bash’s outfit is a far cry from the typical flowery patterns on dresses and “distressed” denim shorts with flip flops usually seen on Tel Aviv’s inhabitants. Staying true to herself, Bash is sporting one of her loose hooded shirts and shorts, each a different shade of dark grey. Nylon socks reaching to her knees and a pair of loafers complete her look, going for a subdued, monochromatic look, reminiscing of the more brooding European designs.

“Summer is very hot in Israel, so things are more fun and light but I usually have more of one collection, I don’t have a separate collection for the summer: one collection goes into another collection,” Bash explained to me sitting on the inside stoop of her shop’s window.

In retrospect, the story of Bash’s style all makes sense and does flow from one collective idea as well. 
Bash was born in the former Soviet Union in 1979 and emigrated from Siberia to Israel with her family at the age of 12, in 1991. And having experienced a “lack of clothing” in the USSR, Bash needs to find the satisfaction of creating her own.
She doesn’t pretend to have known her whole life that fashion design was her calling nor does she have airs of someone who’s been blessed with a knack for good taste and design. She admits, without any reservations, how much dabbling and exploring she had to do before she finally decided she wanted to be a fashion designer.
 

“I love the cycle of seeing people wearing my clothes and then them becoming the inspiration behind the next design… Just like I love seeing my clothes in second-hand shops.”MAYA BASH

“I had different jobs in Tel Aviv, I came from a family where we were educated to study something concrete and I was studying for all these math exams to become a programmer,” she adds with a giggle and quizzical look on her face.

So at the ripe age of 21, after finally figuring out what she didn’t want to do, she applied to three of the top design schools in Israel: Betsalel in Jerusalem, H.I.T located south of Tel Aviv in Holon and Shenkar, in sunny Tel Aviv. Having attended the prestigious Shenkar, she eventually opened her line in 2005 after taking very modest steps to finally achieve her goals.

Understanding where her limits stood Bash started out with making a t-shirt which threaded her into making another and another until there was enough to profit. She already knew then, even as a beginner that her first item would be her “click”.
“The item that you start with,” she tells me, “will be the one people will remember you by.” 

Based on that, Bash created her own prints drawn from very personal inspirations, experiences and surroundings. Making sure there’s always a central story to her creations is essential to Bash and like the rest of Tel Aviv is trying to be “in the moment”.

One of the ways Bash captured her interpretation of the “now” was to recreate characters based on the people she had seen wear her clothing. She asked renowned Israeli visual artist Zoya Cherkassky to collaborate with her and create designs of 13 of these individuals which were then printed on her clothes.

“I love the cycle of seeing people wearing my clothes and then them becoming the inspiration behind the next design…just like I love seeing my clothes in second-hand shops. I really love it,” she explains to me enthusiastically.

Though Bash likes to remain in her minimalistic style, she doesn’t shy away from trying out new things. She recently launched a line for children which allowed her to explore a creative and adventurous side she hadn’t explored yet. Hopefully with the new website allowing for online shopping, we’ll be seeing more of Bash’s creations worldwide…and even in second-hand shops. Whatever she prefers. 

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