Knowledge Exchanges

Global North/Israel

Yarden Levy

Dissertation Title

Designing Designers: Educating Fashion Designers Through Gendered Ideals

Symposium Panels:

Hi! My name is Yarden (pronounced Yard-den, it is Hebrew for Jordan). I am based in Tel Aviv with my dog, Justin. Besides Justin, I love learning and thinking about the process of decapitalising histories and knowledge. My research focuses on fashion and my background is in fashion, as I studied fashion design for my undergraduate degree. I view fashion as an earthly industry made of the people working in it, creating clothes for other people. I see clothes as a quotidian design product, created to serve its wearers, rather than a form of the designer’s expression.

My dissertation, which I am currently working on, is researching the gendering of fashion design education in Israel. My case study is Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, Israel, the college I graduated from in 2017, in the last decade. In my research I ask how Shenkar College’s fashion department is designing the ideal student through the gendered ideals of the local and Western fashion industry. I try to answer this question by interviewing a selection of the department’s staff, students and graduates and by examining the department’s curriculum.

Through my overall research I take a decolonial and a post-Zionist stance. This stance led me to write one of my essays on the changes that occurred in industrial hummus packaging and advertisements in Israel since its establishment in 1948 to today. In this research, I researched the convoluted and colonial history of hummus’s nationalisation in Israel. My conclusion was that industrial food companies use hummus’s nationalisation as a tool to define Israeliness while excluding and including cultures and heritages composing the Israeli demography.

Prior to studying History of Design, I worked at Rose Archive for Fashion and Textile, a collection held by Shenkar College. During my work there, I served as an archivist, a digital and social media manager, assisted with exhibitions the archive took part in and gave classes to students and visitors.
In the future, I see myself continuing my academic studies and hopefully researching the colonial and Zionist aspects of the Israeli fashion industry. I hope to intertwine my academic research with active work for local fashion industry employees’ rights. I believe that a more humane fashion design education is a way to better these rights gradually and hope to play an active part in this change.

Material History /Virtual World

The V&A/RCA History of Design MA is offered jointly by the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal College of Art. It encourages interdisciplinary, innovative and critical approaches to the history of design across a range of mediums, places and times. Students work closely with the collections and curators at the V&A, as well as participating in the creative community at the RCA.