Visit us At 5th and Market Streets on Independence Mall

Museum Musings

Who Are You Wearing?

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One of the things that first struck me about the Museum when I began working here in Fall 2010, was the part of the exhibition on the 3rd floor focusing on the Jewish role in and contributions to the garment industry. It explains that Jews have had strong ties to the garment industry since the 1800s, and that that relationship continues with the many Jews in the fashion industry today. My grandfather once ran a factory in Brooklyn manufacturing clothes; this part of the exhiFashion At NMAJHbition is one of the key areas truly telling my story. 


As a fashion-conscious person, I knew that many of the people whose names and brands we often hear about such as Levi Strauss, Donna Karen, and Calvin Klein are all Jewish. Yet I am still surprised to learn that many of my favorite designers, such as, Diane Von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs and Zac Posen, to name a few, are also Jewish. Even many of the stores I’ve shopped in throughout my life like Banana Republic and The Gap were founded by Jews.  That feeling that Jews are ubiquitous in the fashion industry became apparent when Michael Kors (who I had a sneaking suspicion was a member of the tribe) used the Yiddish word ungapatchka on an episode of Project Runway.  Not your garden variety Yiddish, this was a word I had only heard from my mother and grandmother previously.


Around the same time that I noticed all these fashion heavyweights were Jewish, I also noticed something unique in my line of work. In the arts, I think people dress differently than they do in many other professions. For instance, no one has ever asked me to take out my nose ring; I have actually received a few compliments on it. 


Our office is vibrant with color and self-expression in a way that complements who we are and what we have chosen to do for a living. After reading an article from The Wall Street Journal in which the author highlighted the way the staff dressed at a chic New York auction house, I thought we should highlight some of the well-dressed employees of the Museum. Of course, as a Jewish history museum, we put our own twist on the concept presented by the article: the clothes we are wearing in these pictures are made by talented Jewish designers or by their companies. So next time you head over to visit us on Independence Mall, see if we highlight someone who designed something you are wearing!



The article reference was written by Robin Kawakami 8/15/12


-Contributed by, Rebecca Kass

Group Sales Associate


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