Designer Focus

Designer Focus: Kobi Golan

Based in Isreal, practicing ancient embroidery techniques and using textiles like Bedouins carpets; Kobi Golan has been celebrated by the fashion community as the up-and-coming talent to watch. We were able to catch up with him and discuss his journey.

Was there a particular moment that made you decide you wanted to work in fashion? 

There were many such moments during my life, but the strongest moment was after the final project at Shenkar (Graduate of Shenkar Fashion Design). My collection was successful and a lot of stylists contacted me. I realised I had done my best and that hard work does pay off. Then I realised that I wanted to continue with this line and develop it.

Do you think you have a responsibility as a designer to respond to the social and political issues of our time? 

I always want to continue on the ethnic line. Exploring this is an intrinsic part of who I am and a subject that always interests me.

In the ethnic world there is a lot of research to do, there are interesting tribes thriving all over. And it's interesting to take an "old" culture and make her an up-to-date filter


In your opinion, what’s the problem with fashion today? 

It is not a healthy industry in terms of economic profit, social ideals, or environmental impact. The ‘look’ is one thing, but responsibility and improvement of these aspects have to be included in all industries. Within fashion, these aspects are ignored or included in extreme ways. Since we are not able to produce and distribute fashion without exploiting less fortunate countries and people, the fashion industry is failing to be a profitable and fair business.  

Has your relationship with clothing changed as you delve into the fashion world? 

My attitude has changed from the technical aspect of the garment, especially in choosing fabrics with a high quality finish. I believe you do not need a huge amount of clothing items—what you do need is actually a limited amount that is refined and made in a correct fashion. If a customer buys one of my pieces, they will get the best garment they have ever dreamed of. Everything should be made with care. 

What are the trials and tribulations of being an emerging designer?  

I have worked on wedding dresses with designers in Tel Aviv, and through that I gained a lot of practical experience. Now I’m starting to build my own brand—which means gaining customers and creating customized dresses for them.

I think the industry experience has given me a real understanding of the field and seeing all the sides of the business—good and bad. 


What do you feel are the most important ingredients in building a brand?  

Quality and proper clothing and focusing on good service. Infusing creativity and crafting special clothing that you cannot get anywhere else is a key component as well. I think creating a unique identity that goes beyond the garment enables you to bring customers into an entire world that they want to be part of. After all, fashion can be a dialogue beyond dressing.

What excites you the most about the future of fashion?  

I'm always eager to learn about and try the next new thing, especially when it comes to technology. The technological and global characteristics of the future can and should address our needs as human beings. Where will we be in 20 years? Where will fashion be? We're working in the wake of this. Whether the meaning of a garment will change or become important in other ways, it's an exciting future to imagine.


How do you balance your creative vision with the harsh realities of the fashion industry?  

I like to combine different worlds and periods, mainly historic tribes, giving them an up-to-date and new interpretation.

Tell us any anecdotes about the making of your last collection?   

My journey started when I was working with my father at his factory of Bedouin women’s clothing. My father produced oriental dresses called ‘galabia’. As a part of my research I went to the village to visit. During my visit I found out that their environment is really decorated and the clothes merged with it. During my research a similar topic came to my mind: women in the 19th century would also disappear in their textile oriental environment. My collection consists of really comfortable shapes, besides very fitted silhouettes that I borrowed from 19th century corsets. I used embroidery, materials like velvet and cotton, and original Bedouin carpets.


How do go about choosing your materials and manufacturers?  

I use embroidery techniques: materials like velvet, cotton and original Bedouins carpets.

How do you balance economical business practices with creative vision?  

Combine expensive and inexpensive.


What’s your take on the advent of commerce via social media?  

Uncover the truth! The audience loves honesty and I want to give each person who wears my clothing a unique experience by sharing my work.

The bubble of constant consumption makes it so that fast-fashion and trends seem to rule. What’s your opinion on this?  

I want to go back to the time where women had a limited and proper wardrobe! No extra clothing.

What makes a design compelling?  

One that makes the customer excited!

Photographer credits: Daniel Elaster

Kobi Golan on NJAL