I have always been the rebel. So forget it when my parents wanted me to get a Bat Mitzvah or go to synagogue or anything that, to me, reeked of what appeared to be conformity. I ended up doing something called a confirmation (kind of weird for a Jew). But anyway, it consisted of a few weekend retreats where I spent time romping in the fields to rock n roll in some blissful altered state of my own, then, finally, reciting the Byrds' "To Everything There Is a Season" on the pulpit. It seemed to add up to pretty much nothing, or at least so I thought…
Fast forward to now, where, after a career as a fashion editor and stylist, raising two kids, teaching yoga and meditation (something that turned me on greatly to spirituality), I jumped off of every predictable, safe gravy train and started from scratch at 50-years-old to lead a revolution with my daughter that gives a voice to all of those on the fringe.
Little did I know that following my passion for connecting people with seminal style would lead me right into the heart of my ancestors, where I would discover how much I was like them in style and in my absolute obsession with social justice, feminism (even though I don't even know the real definition), and tribal values such as community, family, and reverence for the wisdom of elders.
"Can you celebrate non-conformity and also speak on the virtues of collectivism, they seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum," said one of our community members, Talibah, in response to the first of the weekly chat videos we posted on Monday. I responded to Talibah's insightful comment and we feel that our Uniforms category provides a third response. The above video is a preview of our upcoming Uniform feature on the Hasidic Jewish community. Blown away by their clothes and how they're indelibly linked to their foundational values, I have spent all summer interviewing members from their community. The external expressions of the Hasids are identical, yet their internal expressions are diverse. As Moshe, one of the Hasidic men we interviewed, told us, "When you have a society of people that dress the same, it creates in opportunity for people to find their individuality beyond what they're wearing, forcing them to ask themselves who they are on a deeper level." Style as a bridge to awe-inspiring knowledge of who you are at your core. I am floored by the purposeful spirit of the Hasidic community, and I consider many of them to be my newest and most treasured friends. For me, they are the true authentics (due to misuse, this word has become hard to say, but I can say it confidently here) and nonconformists. In essence, they are some of the coolest people on the planet.
So, dad, how about a Bat Mitzvah now, but how about at the Wailing Wall?
The purpose of our uniform feature (and all of StyleLikeU) is to build bridges between our differences by connecting us through sharing personal, universal truths. All groups (just like the individuals who comprise them) are flawed and have imperfections with which we disagree, but that does not diminish the beauty and humanity that they often possess. Our passion is to show that no one group or human is perfect, but that there are positive qualities to be found in all of us. In addition, we hope that by breaking the chain of demonizing people who are different that we will bring a greater communication and understanding between all.
This video was edited by Adaeze Elechi
Watch a quicker peak of our upcoming full-length feature.
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