Life Magazine: Meet the fashion innovators inspired by Jewish roots



Although last Passover seems to literally have ‘passed us over’, the fashion world is still whirring.

And not just whirring but booming, despite the seasonal runways being relegated to online only.

Style forecasters are also reporting an acceleration in clothing trends, with some brands seeing an increase in retail sales.

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Jewish brands are, obviously, part of  the mix and are providing clothes we love to buy and wear for Pesach and beyond!

Laura Klein

Laura Elizabeth Klein once considered following her friends to university. But on the advice of her father Marc Klein, she decided
to pursue another path.

Laura Klein

She worked her way up through the Arcadia Group, from initially organising hangers at her local Miss Selfridge shop in Brighton to leading a team at the Topshop store in Knightsbridge. There, she would call Sir Philip Green every day with the latest sale figures.

She describes the group’s collapse over the pandemic as “an end of an era”.

She was right to follow her father’s advice, she now recognises.

“My dad put me off university. He told me it was a lot of money and I should not just follow the crowd. He told me I could always go back in five years if I wanted to.

“He used to always say: ‘Marcy knows’.

He was right.”

Laura Klein

Since then, she has gone onto work as a stylist at eco-friendly luxury Danish brand Ganni.

Often spotted wearing its bright prints, exaggerated collars and playful dresses with a pair of chunky loafers, she has developed a loyal social media network with more than 10,000 followers on Instagram.

But she does not overthink what she wears. She often puts on “what’s cool”.

An influencer in her own right, she receives complimentary products or is paid by a brand to wear their latest line – a job description once reserved for models.

“I am never going to look like Gigi Hadid, I am not a 6ft tall model who wears a size 4. I am more relatable,” says the 27-year-old. “I don’t take offence to the term ‘influencer’, but the word is oversaturated. I offer something that other influencers don’t.”

Now living in Dulwich, she says Ganni sets her apart from other influencers on social media, by wearing clothes that are “playful, colourful and trendsetting.”

Even when she was working at ASOS, she would use her bonus to buy a £400 dress from Ganni.

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Today, she predominantly wears luxury brands – with some high-street items from ASOS and Zara. “All my bags and shoes are designer, they last forever.”

Since lockdown started, Laura has increased her following.

Posting pictures (that are sometimes taken by her mum), she says people will start to ditch loungewear and again enjoy fashion after lockdown restrictions lift.

“I think we have seen the back of tracksuits now. People will want to dress
up again.”

Describing herself as irreligious, Laura was born to her Catholic mother Nikki and Jewish father Marc, a former JFS student who grew up in Stamford Hill.

Laura Klein

She was close to her paternal grandmother Irene, who used to dish
up latkes from her home in Stanmore.
“I like kosher food because I grew up around it. Salt beef and latkes.”

On her forearm, she has a tribute to her family name with a “Mishpachat Klein” (“Family Klein”) tattoo written in Hebrew. “My nan hated it!”

While she plans to one day travel to Tel Aviv, for now she is focused on making her dad proud. He died after a sudden heart attack in May.

“He was the smartest man I have ever met in my life,” she says. “It has been a rough year.

“When someone so close to you dies, you can either wallow in self-pity and never do anything again, or you can try to make them proud.

“That is what I am going to do.”

Follow her on Instagram: @lauraelizabethklein

House of Lancry

With a showroom based in Hendon, House of Lancry was started by Hannah Sufrin, a Chabad Lubavitch mother of three who has a background in interior design and a long-standing love for fashion,
in particular modest attire.

House of Lancry

It was only when a good friend of Hannah’s asked for her help designing dresses for her son’s barmitzvah that she realised there was a yawning gap in the market for modest, contemporary clothing.

“I quit my interior design job, took out a small loan of £2,000 and, in
early 2016, my modest fashion dream was born.

“Fast forward to spring 2019; we opened our first concept store in Brookyn, New York, followed by a pop-up store in Miami and finally our HOL headquarters/store in London.”

House of Lancry is named after Hannah’s family, who were immigrants from Morocco and Brazil.

“My heritage and Judaism has a deep impact on my lifestyle, the way I dress and how I conduct myself with a strong infusion of Jewish values. I believe House of Lancry is a place where women can feel and dress beautifully, according to the guidelines of modesty.”

House of Lancry
( (C) Blake Ezra Photography, shot at Blake Ezra Studios)

With loungewear the go-to garb during lockdowns, one wonders how this translates to the modest arena.

“House of Lancry has created an ode to ‘Stay at Home’, where comfort and design meet. We have been spending lots of time at home and tracksuits and hoodies are just so 2020.

“I felt it was time to elevate basics, so we have created a beautiful line of dresses that you can dress up and down with flats or heels and feel beautiful whichever way you decide to go.”

House of Lancry

Dresses that sound perfect for another scaled-down Pesach on home turf? “I never thought I would be spending another Covid Pesach at home” Hannah ruefully admits.

“Our family enjoys travelling, and I love experiencing and showing different cultures to our children. Pesach specifically is a time my husband and I look forward to with no work and as an opportunity to travel to new places across the world and spend quality family time with our children.”

So how is this Jewfluencer celebrating in style at home?

“My Amazon shopping basket was full up with beautiful table settings as it gives me so much joy creating beautiful tablescapes, flower arrangements and filling my home with the holiday spirit.”

House of Lancry remains available online and hopes to reopen its Hendon shop in June.



We are Twinset

Another power duo, but you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re seeing double with these fab fashionistas.

‘WAT THE BRAND’ is the vision of ‘We Are Twinset’ Instagram influencers, Sarah Ellis and Philippa Ross. A glance through the glossy Instagram feed of ‘We Are Twinset’ showcases the kind of signature style that is the epitome of effortless cool.

Sarah Ellis and Philippa Ross of We are Twinset

“Using ourselves as the muse behind WAT, we have designed refined classics with a twist, wanting each style to have a unique voice,” they explain.

With an emphasis on creating garments that will be go-to pieces season after season, the range consists of 12 core items in womenswear and two mini-me sets in a colour palette of earthy tones and vintage washes, styled by their own bubbelehs.

Sarah Ellis and Philippa Ross

Inspired by the confidence these London ladies found through clothes, their ambition for the label is to make women feel happy, fearless, empowered and unapologetic whenever they wear the brand. This is reflected in the inspiring messages intricately woven into the pieces. Should you forget, just look at the sleeves.

@wearetwinset @watthebrand

Save London

Founded by Gabby Lyons and Emma Samuels, GEM London consists of limited edition prints and unique garments – that, once purchased ‘become treasured gems’.

Gem London was founded by Gabby Lyons and Emma Samuels

Both fashionistas boast an impressive portfolio. Gabby’s previous brand, Studd, was featured on the cover of Vogue, with designs worn by some of the world’s biggest celebrities including Madonna, the Spice Girls and Britney Spears. Mum of three Emma has achieved success as a stylist, journalist and frequent speaker on fashion panels.

Emma reveals that during the pandemic, GEM has been working behind the scenes with a completely different outlook.

“We are very conscious that people’s situations may have changed, but, equally, if the vaccine roll-out is successful, as we are all hoping it will be, our customers will want to enjoy going out and socialising once again and what better way to do that than with a new outfit?”

We agree on that, but what about Passover? “Pesach this year will be a celebration. We always go to town with the decorations and make it as special as we can for our children,” says Emma.

Gem London was founded by Gabby Lyons and Emma Samuels

“We will obviously miss our extended families, but are optimistic we’re nearing the end of the pandemic and will all be together soon. We both are very traditional and seder night is very important to us, as is passing down our traditions to our children.”

Gabby adds: “Judaism has definitely had an impact in our designs. We are both traditional and we try to create pieces that are modest and elegant to mirror the way we dress.”

“Inspiration is all around us,” Emma notes. “But the best inspiration is always from vintage fashion designs. We have just finished watching The Serpent and loved all the Seventies’ fashion and prints.”

Pesach-worthy pieces from GEM’s S/S collection include easy to wear dresses and jumpsuits (pictured). “We love bold colour and prints, which will feature a lot in our new collection,” says Emma. “We love a transitional outfit that can be worn from
day to night.”


Unkosher market

Say lehitraot to boring with Unkosher Market, an over-the-pond brand that offers a fresh, funny take on celebrating your Jewish identity. As founder Shiran Teitelbaum puts it: “We’re proud of our Jewish identities and we want to big that up in a way that’s bold and fashionable.”

Matzah Ballin – Unkosher Market

Featured in publications such as The Guardian and millennial favourite Pop Sugar, Unkosher Market’s jewellery and range of chutzpahdik slogan apparel for men(sch), women and babies, plus homewear and accessories are clearly a hit with everyone.

Unkosher Market caters for little ones too…

Get seder ready for the future with its new Passover collection, which includes cheeky captioned tops for adults as well as Matzah Bows clips made with matzah-inspired fabric – ‘unleavened’ dreams come true!

Give the Lil’ Matzah Ball in your life something to drool over with a babygro, or perhaps some ‘hugs and knishes’. After the plague of chaos we’ve had, the ‘Oy Vey’ statement 18k gold plated hoop earrings are perfect.

The collection is mishpacha-approved; Shiran’s Bubbie Roslyn ships all products from her Vegas home and Unkosher Market is running a Passover sale with 15% off – use code MATZAH at the checkout.

Also look out for …

Chana Marelus

Featured in Harper’s Bazaar and British Vogue, Belgian-born Chana is a Charedi designer based in Tel Aviv, who appeals to the secular community and even Muslim brides seeking a more modest, but still romantic bridal gown.

Chana Marelus’s work

Lee Petra Grebenau

With an enormous following in her native Israel, Lee’s designs are always on a red carpet somewhere. With her husband Omer Dankner as CEO, the designer has a flagship store in NYC and her intricate embroidery on exquisite bridal creations will be sought by brides who put their weddings on hold and are now ready to plan.

Lee Petra Grebenau

Irina Shabayeva

Georgian-American designer Irina dresses such starry names as Selena Gomez, Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. Branching out into lingerie while continuing with a ready to wear and couture collection, Irina is also the artistic director of women’s fashion for the opulent creations at MJZ International.

Irina Shabayeva

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