Behind the scenes with a rising fashion star

Designer Shani Zimmerman opens up about her thriving design studio, her hometown and her 20,000 followers on Instagram.

Designer Shani Zimmerman combines textile developments through the use of new materials to create original shapes and silhouettes. Designer Shani Zimmerman combines textile developments through the use of new materials to create original shapes and silhouettes. Designer Shani Zimmerman (right) and a recent runway show of her fashion label (left). (Photo: Shani Zimmerman)

The Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv, Israel, has become a fashion capital along with New York, Milan, London and Paris. And Israeli designer Shani Zimmerman has had something to do with helping to put it on the map. With 20,000 Instagram followers, features in Glamour and other glossies, and several successful collections under her belt, the young designer is widely considered a rising star in the fashion world. Not too shabby for a gal who only graduated in 2013 from the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design.

Zimmerman's innovative ideas dance beautifully with classic technical skills, and she's guided by the belief that a designer's role should be reinvented on a daily basis. We caught up with the endlessly energetic designer just after her latest highly praised runway show.

From The Grapevine: You often credit Shenkar with giving you the skills you've leaned on to launch your label. How do you feel Shenkar helped shape you into the designer you are?

Shani Zimmerman: The biggest added value of Shenkar is the experience in the technical aspects of creating fashion: working under pressure and being under intense criticism during the process. It was a hard four years, but the outcome is that I am used to working hard!

FTG: Was it challenging or a bit scary launching your own brand?

SZ: Before having the brand and the studio, I used to arrange sales events for young designers. During that period I started to produce some outfits and, from there, it just grew to keep up with the demand. I am well aware of competition, but my motivation is to do what I love without thinking about the competition.

FTG: What has been your experience with Tel Aviv Fashion Week in Israel?

SZ: I took part already twice in the Tel Aviv Fashion Week, once in the young designers show and the second time I had my own show. For me it was very important because it is the biggest event for fashion in the local market and it's had a tremendous influence on my brand.

FTG: When you’re looking to design your next collection, where do you draw inspiration?

SZ: I do not have a clear rule or any guidelines. It can start anywhere – from fabrics, to a good movie, or a nice dinner.

FTG: What design qualities do you feel you're known for?

SZ: My biggest motivation is to create garments that are colorful, practical and wearable. I think that’s what my customers like about my line.

FTG: We love all of your Instagram posts from your studio! Can you share a bit about the studio and what happens there?

SZ: The studio is located in an old building in downtown Tel Aviv. The area was previously industrial and now it's mainly studios of photographers and music. The location is changing and growing together with my business and brand, and we are making everything from scratch internally here. I have two great sewing ladies working in-house and together, we are manufacturing all pieces. So basically it's a combination of a factory and a studio.

FTG: You have nearly 20,000 Instagram followers. Has it helped to draw more attention to your brand or drive sales?

SZ: Today my Instagram page is my No. 1 tool for marketing my brand and communicating any information to my customers or future customers. I see it as an unlimited display window and it has a lot of influence on the exposure of the brand.

FTG: Any exciting projects you're working on that we should look out for?

SZ: I am developing a new web page including an e-commerce store with a special collection that will be sold only online!

Lindsay E. Brown is the managing editor of Eco-Chick, the web’s first ethical fashion, beauty and travel site for women. She has written for Whole Living Magazine, Edible, and Cottages & Gardens. Lindsay has been featured as a fashion and beauty expert on the Veria Living Network. Lindsay holds a BS in Global Business Studies and Marketing from Manhattan College, and received the 2012 Honors Award at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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Related Topics: Fashion