We had the good fortune of connecting with Eliran Nargassi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eliran, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
To be honest, It was completely random. I graduated from Fashion school and started working at a local commercial fashion house, one day I was approached by an artist who tried to set up an exhibition and wanted me to take part in it, I agreed and started working on some pieces. Eventually the exhibition was cancelled, but I was so blown away by the ideas I had and I couldn’t stop developing them into garments and prints. I decided to quit the job at the commercial company and develop the collection, once the first collection was out I received a lot of positive feedback both locally and internationally.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am Eliran Nargassi, born 1985, Menswear Fashion Designer based in Tel Aviv, Israel. Graduate of class 2012 from Shenkar – college of Engineering and Design.
I established the brand in summer of 2013 without any planning, the main purpose was to check if there is an interest in the local market for a new menswear brand. However, I recognized the power of online stores and set up one as quick as possible, indeed it was a smart move that helped me to set foot in the industry.
Over the years, I have participated in many exhibitions and showrooms in Paris, Marseille, Milan, and Florence. I exhibited my works in museums, won some competitions and was selected as the best menswear designer of Israel for 2 years in a row. Among other things, I did runway shows in Tel Aviv Fashion Week and Harbin Fashion Week in northern China.
Usually, my design doesn’t follow the current trends, well, because there are new trends everyday. I try to design a timeless garment that will serve the person for a long time. I’m very much connected to the idea of slow fashion. I think that fashion brands need to slow down and produce smaller quantities, they need to do so in order to consider the well being of the environment and not to take advantage of cheap labor, and violate human and animal rights.
My design is very personal and inspired by my roots. I am an oriental gay man who grew up in a Jewish religious family. Over the years, I have adapted a secular lifestyle. The Jewish religion, tradition and my Moroccan – Kurdish family roots play a major role in my designs. I translate the past and present, old and new, tradition versus innovation into one homogenic garment. I usually illustrate the inspiration through contrasts that are reflected in the material, color and shape, keeping in mind that the garment needs to be comfortable and wearable.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Israel is a very small country, but have a lot to see, it is very diverse geographically in relation to its small size. In the north you can see mountainous and green landscapes, in the center of the country the two main cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, which are so different in nature. One has a more spiritual, religious character. And the other is a cultural center, nightlife, museums, restaurants and of course a beautiful stretch of beach. In the south a stunning and minimalist desert landscape.
Personally, my favorite place in Israel is the Dead Sea – the lowest place in the world.
I very much connect to the desert landscape, to the tranquility, to the endless spaces, and of course to float in the salt water of the sea.
From there I would travel north to a chef’s restaurant called ‘Rutenberg’ which is right next to the border with Jordan, the place is of historical importance, there is amazing food there !!! The place is isolated in nature and in fact there is nothing in a fairly wide radius around.
To enjoy the nightlife I would recommend Tel Aviv. This is a city that lives 24/7 (on normal days, not during the Corona period) of course walking around the city and enjoying the architecture, galleries and museums that the city has to offer.
I would end with a spiritual visit to the capital, Jerusalem, go to the Western Wall in the Old City, walk in the Jewish and Muslim quarter. There are amazing markets there.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to pay tribute to a woman who was very dear to me.
I dedicate these words to Lena, my dear seamstress who passed away in 2016.
I met Lena thanks to a dear friend who referred me to her to help me sew my final project in Shenkar, from the first moment was between us a very good chemistry, she believed in me and my work. Shortly after the project was finished I decided to try to start a business in my name and it was clear to me that Lena would be an integral part of it, to my delight she complied with my request and we continued what we started with Shenkar.
Lena believed in me so much and was always happy for the sewing and design challenges I brought her to sew.
We continued like this collection, collection, customer, customer, right up to its last days.
Our relationship was beyond labor relations, we would sit and talk about life… while I explained to her the sewing instructions, her sweet baby in her arms.
It is important for me to say that every garment that is purchased from a designer or a commercial company, goes through the hands of people who give their soul to make us designers fulfill our fantasies.
So Lena, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for getting to know us and for helping me fulfill my fantasies and craziness as a designer.
I will always love you and I will never forget you in my life.
rest in peace!
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nargassi/ @NARGASSI
Personal Photo – NARGASSI by Eran Evan
Lookbook or Campaign – Photographer: Alina Braginski