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City Style Snapshot: Jerusalem



Jerusalem Skyline

Jerusalem Skyline

 

Jerusalem style — eclectic blends of trendy and traditional.

 

By: Lauren Sirt

Jerusalem, Israel

 

When most people think of Jerusalem, they often visualize a city filled with ancient ruins and biblical history; however, for those of us who call this place home, Jerusalem encompasses so much more than its historical roots. While walking through this amazing city, I can’t help but notice the eclectic blend of the ancient and traditional intertwined with the modern and trendy.

 

The city is surrounded by ancient ruins and is the epicenter of three major world religions. Yet it is also a modern, thriving city that is engrossed in the world of technological advances and contemporary society. While it may seem that ancient traditions and the modern world seem to contradict each other, as I glance around Jerusalem’s Old City amidst the backdrop of the ancient Western Wall, the main remnants of Jerusalem’s ancient past, and I watch people pass by with their Iphones and lap tops, I feel that this city is proof that ancient traditions and modern ideas can coexist to form a thriving society.

 

Just like the city itself, Jerusalem’s fashion world exemplifies a perfect blend of religious traditions and modern trends. When I glance around the center of town, I can see people of all walks of life embracing both their traditions as well as expressing their own individual style without feeling a conflict between the two. Jerusalem is home to three major world religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. All of these religions have their own unique standards of dress to promote modesty. These standards may seem to confine a person’s creativity and individual self expression. However, as I glance around and study the people, I begin to wonder, “Do these people feel restrained as a result of their traditional mode of dress, or rather, and are these traditions actually a springboard for their creativity and self expression?

 

Hijabs for sale in a market of the city.

Hijabs for sale in a market of the city.

 

As a fashion enthusiast, I believe that fashion is a key way to express who you are as a person, how you feel that day, and what ideas you want to portray to the outside world. In Jerusalem, where there is a large population of devoted followers of three major religions, the traditional elements are a key part of this self expression. People here are proud of their religion, just as much as they are proud of their individuality. Hence, they blend the two, using their traditions as a means to show who they are and how they feel.

 

In the center of town, I glance around and see a variety of Muslim women walking around in their traditional clothing. Many of them wear a traditional hair-covering called hijabs. These coverings tend to cover the woman’s hair and neck and they come in a variety of colors and patterns. As such, they can serve as a cute accessory to any outfit. The women seem to incorporate this tradition with any outfit they choose to wear whether it is a skirt, skinny jeans, or even stiletto heels. While the hijab itself may be traditional, the color, pattern, and clothing they wear to accompany it is one hundred percent up to that individual.

 

Likewise, Orthodox Jewish women are also required to wear skirts and dresses that cover their knees and tops that cover their elbows. In addition, once they get married they are also required to cover their hair.  While this may seem to be stifling, the women have come up with so many different of ways of following these traditions while also staying true to who they are. Walking around Jerusalem, there are stores that cater to orthodox women who prefer simple tailored, attire. This style, which appeals to a large portion of the ultra-orthodox population, usually incorporates a toned down color palette and feminine details.

 

Clothing found in Jerusalem’s Center1 Mall. A shopping Center that caters to many people that would consider themselves part of the Ultra Orthodox community.

Clothing found in Jerusalem’s Center1 Mall. A shopping Center that caters to many people that would consider themselves part of the Ultra Orthodox community.

 

In other religious Jewish circles, women wear bright colors with many different layers and patterns. I fondly refer to this look, which is something I have found to be distinctly Israeli, as the “Hippy Chic” look.  “Hippy Chic” attire is always vibrant, always unique and can be found on many women throughout the streets of Jerusalem. While I have noticed that many people who appreciate this look tend to incorperate it with traditions such as head coverings and other customs of modesty, the bright colors and patterns definitely break the boundaries of tradition, appealing to women from all walks of life.

 

Unique & vibrant clothing found in Jerusalem’s “Autenti” clothing store.

Unique & vibrant clothing found in Jerusalem’s “Autenti” clothing store.

 

 

Beautiful patterned hair coverings from “Autenti”.

Beautiful patterned hair coverings from “Autenti”.

 

On the streets of Jerusalem, one cannot escape some of the outside influences and traditions that contribute to fashion. However, the women of Jerusalem are able to take their traditions and incorporate them into unique fashion statements, making their traditional garb entirely their own.

 

Photography by Lauren Sirt

Jerusalem City & hijab at market images by Fotolia.com 

 

 

*Lauren Sirt was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. From a young age, she has always been fascinated by the world of fashion and couture, where it peaked while attending university in Manhattan where she was able to witness the latest trends come alive. After many years of living in Jerusalem short term, Lauren finally made it official in 2012 and moved there as a permanent citizen. The spirit of the city’s fashion is extremely unique and diverse and Lauren couldn’t be more thrilled to share these aspects of this city with the rest of the world.

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