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Fashion Design Department, Shenkar

Ilan Beja, Head of department

The design world stands at a crossroads, with sweeping changes and technological developments that affect us all. The 2023 graduate collections of Shenkar’s fashion design students highlight that transition from engaging with decoration and distant themes to delving into personal experiences and exploring the contemporary ideas, materials, and themes that inform the students’ world.

The works serve as a visual and material mirror for our complicated reality. With an inquisitive yet at the same time editorial gaze, the students examine the contemporary period and local culture concerning a point in personal and collective history, engaging with ethnic and sexual identity from a humorous and uplifting perspective. 

I invite you to explore, contemplate, reflect, and enjoy.


The personal-Experiential World 

A range of collections focus on the student’s personal experiences in the current time. Personal aspects explored include disassociation and depersonalization; facing the sea and the landscapes of childhood; romantic relationships; and death in all its forms. Reexamining Israeli masculinity, both its military aspects and in ultra-Orthodox society; and turning to Disney with the question: “Is it possible to engineer happiness?” Other topics examine shared common challenges, such as living in a complex city like Jerusalem; the terrible war in Ukraine; or the millennial experience of Gen Y. 

Self, Body, and Soul 

What is the relationship between body and consciousness, and how does breathing connect them? What are the social and cultural implications of clothing? Several of the collections explore life: the physical and psychological stress that has intensified in recent years with the introduction of new channels for liberation and freedom. As part of their intensive engagement with the relationship between body, soul, and environment, students looked at perceptions of the body as a shell; addressed environmental damage by imagining an era with just one season; and asked questions such as whether there are deeper layers to seemingly banal fashion items such as jeans and T-shirts.

Hurt and Vulnerability 

How does a personal and collective tragedy become a moving fashion collection? How do we give power back to weakness in a society that values only strength? How do we cope with social exclusion or the imperative not to express feelings or struggles with the consequences of the Nakba? The pains of adolescence; fear of the future in a world addicted to plastic; material and visual defiance; and the recent experiences of the global pandemic, war, and ecological disaster inspired a range of projects that explore hurt and vulnerability. 

Materials and Technologies 

Materials and technologies are a significant part of the designers’ process, and the graduate projects explore consumer culture concerning the waste that is a by-product of design. The virtual world, which is already part of our lives, finds expression in this year’s show with fashion designs for video game characters; the use of AI to translate and create images that convey feelings; harnessing NASA’s abilities; and exploring the manufacturing capabilities of a range of non-textile materials. All of this challenge the finished products of the graduate projects and shed light on the student’s future capabilities. 

Sexuality and Gender 

Sexuality and gender are explored in a range of projects, from highlighting gender liminality in clothing to Brazilian Catholicism; revisiting the era of witch hunts to strengthen and empower the status of knowledgeable women in contemporary society, and presenting the policing and disciplining of natural physical needs in various religious and societal communities in local and global spheres. Other projects include an exploration of the terms “classic” and “modern” in the context of clothing, the masculine body, and body movements in classical dance. We invite you to join us in advancing the acceptance of the Other, encouraging cultural and societal diversity, pluralism, and humanism, and continuing to support our diverse graduates across race, gender, language, and religion.


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