Fashion and Beauty

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Estelle Joan Sommers

Estelle Joan Sommers channeled her passion for dance into her innovative designs for Capezio’s dance and exercise clothing and her savvy management of its businesses.

Ida Cohen Rosenthal

Ida Cohen Rosenthal not only created the modern bra, she helped found Maidenform, Inc. and make it the most successful bra manufacturer in the world.

Florence Zacks Melton

Florence Zacks Melton helped create and support important adult education programs in the Jewish community as well as secular causes.

Judith Leiber

Judith Leiber carved a unique place for herself in the world of fashion as the designer of some of the most inventive and sought-after handbags in the world.

Sonia Delaunay

Through her art and work, Sonia Delaunay blurred the lines between poetry, fashion, and fine art.

Beatrice Fox Auerbach

Beatrice Fox Auerbach ran her family’s department store, G. Fox and Company, for thirty years, introducing innovations to customer service and helping women and minorities climb the corporate ladder.

Frances Berman Sulsky

Frances Berman Sulsky, born in New York in 1910, was known for over half a century as Baltimore's leading milliner and trendsetter. She took chances in the retail world of women's fashion that distinguished her both as a merchandiser and a businesswoman.

Amalie Rothschild

A well-known painter and sculptor, Amalie Rothschild discovered her penchant for drawing while still a young child.

Micky Loveman

Recognized by a noted retailer as the "Number One Shoe Salesperson in America," Micky Loveman spent a lifetime working in Baltimore's retail shoe business, building a loyal client base.

Selma Litman

A devoted mother and wife and an influential saleswoman, Selma Litman was born in 1917. Although her father, one of the few Jews in Russia to have gotten a college education, died when she was just 20 months old, Selma was raised on stories that her mother and siblings regularly shared about him.

Elsie Miller Legum

After the devastating loss of her husband, Elsie created a new life for herself, becoming the chief buyer for Miller Brothers, her family's women's clothing business. A unique family trust established by her parents ensures extended family presence at Passover seders, Hanukkah celebrations and an annual vacation/reunion.

Frieda Piepsch Sondland

A designer of haute couture, Frieda Sondland used her creative skills to survive the Holocaust. Born in Berlin, Germany in 1921, she married Gunther Sondland when she was sixteen and a half years old. When she was seventeen, and pregnant with her first child, Frieda and her parents were forced to leave Germany for South America. Frieda supported herself and her daughter by working as a clothing designer in Montevideo, Uruguay. Eight years later, Gunther joined them. Frieda and Gunther moved to Seattle in 1953 to reunite with Gunther’s family who had emigrated there after the war. In Seattle, Frieda worked in the alterations department for both John Doyle Bishop, and Frederick and Nelson until she and Gunther opened their dry cleaning and alterations business in West Seattle. In 1957, their son, Gordon, was born. Since arriving in the United States, Frieda has become a beloved and active member of Seattle’s Jewish community.

Carolyn Blumenthal Danz

A Seattle native of Ashkenazic-German descent, Carolyn Danz grew up in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. She was a lifelong member of Temple De Hirsch Sinai, the oldest Reform Congregation in the Pacific Northwest. Carolyn graduated in 1939 from the University of Washington with a BA in Fine Arts, married Jerry Taylor in 1940, and had two children. Jerry, diagnosed with MS early in their marriage, died in 1959. Carolyn supported her family by opening and running a dressmaking business. A skilled seamstress, she and her talented African American assistant, Maude, made beautiful clothing.

Queen Esther and Bella Abzug: Costumes, Leadership, and Identity

Throughout history, activists have chosen different costumes and personas as strategic tools to help them stand up against injustice. Examine how the biblical figure Esther and the historical figure Bella Abzug fought for justice and liberation by adopting personas that helped them to achieve their goals. JWA staff will demonstrate ways to use the stories of these women in your classrooms as you prepare for Purim.

Sonia Delaunay, prolific artist, dies in Paris at 94

December 5, 1979

Sonia Delaunay (1885 – 1979) was in on the birth of several art movements—Dadaism, Surrealism, Cubism, Fauvism, Futurism.  She knew Picasso, Braque, Tzara, Diaghilev, and married the painter R

Anastasiya Sphpagina

Anime Anastasiya-- Good for the feminists?

by  Gabrielle Orcha

“To me, being Jewish has always been aligned with women’s empowerment and multiculturalism.

Nina of alltumbledown the Modern and Modest project

"Modern and Modest:" Interview with Nina of alltumbledown

by  Chanel Dubofsky
When not memorizing Latin declensions, Nina, a graduate student of history, authors alltumbledown: a modest attempt at style, a blog about the intersection of modesty and daily fashion. In addition to brightly colored pencil skirts and everything sequined, she is a fan of Mad Men, the quickly-disappearing Jewish Lower East Side, and the printing press. She currently calls both Philadelphia and New York home.
Gaby Dunn

How Gilda Radner taught me to love my nose

by  Gaby Dunn

I have my mom’s nose.

Boston Fashion Week Logo

When the Jewish calendar and the fashion calendar conflict: My letter to Boston Fashion Week

by  Kate Bigam

Last week, I received an invitation to attend Fall... In Love With Fashion, billed as "a fun and chic night of fashion at Northshore Mall complete with runway fashion shows, hors d'oeuvres, cocktails & much more!" Sounds fun, right? I thought so, too, & was planning to attend - until I realized that the event falls on September 29th, which is Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest of Jewish holidays.

"Jewesses with Attitude" gets a makeover

by Jewesses With Attitude

The team at JWA is excited to share the results of our quick and dirty Jewesses with Attitude makeover! We love the updated look and the new and improved functionality of the blog.

The thing about rings

by  Kate Bigam

Upon her arrival in Israel this week, a friend of mine picked up this pretty, functional necklace.

Spanx

Spanx may make panty lines invisible, but can't smooth over feminist critique

by  Leah Berkenwald

This delicious article in the Boston Globe had me pumping my feminist fist in the air! In a report on the Combined Jewish Philanthropies Women’s Philanthropy’s annual Pomegranate event held at Congregation Mishkan Tefilah in Chestnut Hill, MA, Beth Teitell reported that there were no "visible panty lines," or "VPLs."

Project Frumway, 2011

Frum, fashion, and feminism

by  Kate Bigam

Jewish designers are a staple on the fashion scene – famous names like Zac Posen, Isaac Mizrahi, Max Azria, Kenneth Cole, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Diane Von Furstenberg, Ralph Lauren are all members of the tribe. A few years ago, Slate even published a story called “The Rise of Schmatte Chic”, which chronicled the fleeting trend of Orthodox Jewish influence in runway fashion.

Adele Margolis, 1909 - 2009

She continued to dream of, and work for, a world at peace. Before the 2004 election, horrified at America's attack on Iraq, she wrote a long, impassioned letter about the importance of the election, photocopied it, and mailed it to friends who were doubtful their vote would matter.

Polly Spiegel Cowan, 1913 - 1976

The legacy that my mother left went beyond the immediate family. She was part of a great movement that profoundly changed American society. On a personal level, the legacy of her commitment inspired the succeeding generations of our own family. We, her children and grandchildren, remain committed to the beliefs of prophetic Judaism: to help the poor and the needy and to seek justice.

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