April 29, 2012, Updated May 7, 2012

Galit Reismann knows Tel Aviv. The city is her orange, the urban playground that is her backyard for showcasing Israeli design, and she wants to be its ambassador.

This former events producer launched TLVStyle last year, a boutique touring business designed to show off the new and upcoming designers who are the backbone of Tel Aviv’s growing fashion industry.

“My added value was being a Tel Aviv insider and an agent who can connect designers and clients,” Reismann tells ISRAEL21c. “I don’t want to cover the basics; I won’t expose you to designers who can be found in a guidebook. Sure, we might walk into Kisim [a well-known handbag designer in the Gan Hahashmal neighborhood], but the idea is to show you what’s behind the scenes.”

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Six weeks in advance of our five-hour tour, Reismann sent me a questionnaire about my fashion and style tendencies that was solid but straightforward, leading me to assume that I would be seeing much of what I already knew. But I was happily mistaken.

On the appointed day, two colleagues and I met up with Reismann and made our way to Gan Hahashmal to start a tour that was to focus on accessories. She brought along a goody bag of savory cheese biscuits from a nearby organic bakery.

Our first stop was at Tamar Branitzky’s studio, where this ambitious textile designer showed us her exquisitely conceived fabrics. Whether she is painting a watercolor that will later be printed onto a satin square, or tearing and stitching pieces of soft jersey cotton for a scarf, Branitzky is a textile artist with a plan. She is already creating one-off lampshades, selling limited-run fabrics to clothing designers and producing a line of scarves for the Eretz Israel museum shop in Tel Aviv. In short, a find.

Giving new designers a stage

Discovering a designer like Branitzky to introduce to clients is Reismann’s mission, she says. “It isn’t hard to find designers, because I have to. I read about them, hear about them through word of mouth. Some I find online, like Tamar,” whom she read about in a friend’s blog.

The five women and one man we met on our tour had shown immediate willingness to participate in her tours. There’s no secrecy, no sense of hiding their workrooms from the general public.

“There’s a ‘female power’ thing that helps this happen,” explains Reismann, “and people connect to me personally. I’m the pipeline and I give them a stage.”

Next we made our way to Oded Arama, a shoe designer who shod Dorin Frankfurt’s models in his candy-colored suede oxfords at Tel Aviv Fashion Week back in November.

Then we headed to the Noga neighborhood inside Jaffa, where we visited Natalie Tal, a young jewelry designer specializing in inexpensive, delicate chains that offer a certain sexy look when gracing the unexpected knee, elbow or hand. Across the street, jewelry designer Shelly Dahari offers a colorfully retro selection of vintage beads, scarabs, buttons and cufflinks worked into chunky necklaces and earrings.

“It’s on me to find a really wide selection of people,” says Reismann. “Many women are stylists or personal shoppers, and can say they know lots of designers, but since I’m offering this service I have to combine knowledge with the patience to go to the studios over and over again.”

Part of the challenge is figuring out the client’s interests beforehand. The questionnaire helps, she says, as does her pre-tour Facebook “spying,”but it doesn’t always complete the portrait. At a recent breakfast with a friend at a Tel Aviv hotel, Reismann saw two women who could be potential TLVStyle customers. One was a fashionably garbed Asian, the other a well-dressed American.

“My friend asked me how I knew they could be my customers and what I would do with them,” relates Reismann. “I analyze someone and through their features get a feel for their character. I look at their hair, their body, and consider designers who would have styles that fit their body shape, the right shades for their color and skin tone. I have an intuition that hasn’t disappointed me yet, and I add it all to the Magimix. I build a picture.”

You can’t find these in a guidebook

Our final stop of the day was the charmingly rundown, intimate and eccentric home of Daniella Orsinger, where she and fellow designer Einat Burg showed us their work.

Orsinger specializes in interior design, creating spaces and pieces in her own home that she then translates into similar looks for clients: a wall of framed photos, sentimental objects and quirky mementoes behind her living room couch; an antique easel that houses her flat-screen television, a lucky find that has impressed many a customer looking for an artsy counterpoint for the inevitable TV.

Burg, a pale-skinned former Jerusalemite with a pile of wavy brown hair, showed us her scarves and necklaces created from fabric remnants, as well as a selection of theatrical jumpsuits and jackets.

Reismann offers tours of designer clothing, accessories, men’s wear, bridal gowns and bat mitzvah dresses, and will work with individuals as well as small groups. She’s developing a mommy tour and another highlighting kids’ clothing.

“I open the doors,” she says. “That’s my privilege and my power.”

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director