The Kosher Fashion clothing salon in the Óbuda Synagogue is a success story in the field of Hungarian Jewish women’s fashion and community building. We talked to founders Dvora Köves and Chana Rivka Kalderon about religion and fashion, as well as about the opportunities provided by the Jewish women’s communities in Hungary. Interview with Annamaja Csókási.
What inspired you to open Kosher Fashion’s headquarters in Óbuda? Have there been any demands for the expansion of Kosher Fashion?
Dvora Köves: I have been working with the Women’s Hungarian Community for several years, and I see the needs of women. That’s when I got the idea that it would be good for the community to open a Women’s Center where we can provide services a woman may need both spiritually and physically.
We are constantly growing, but for starters, Kosher Fashion now operates in the Óbuda Synagogue, upstairs, where every woman can find the right clothes or accessories for her. My goal is to have other services I have long dreamt of providing to help women find themselves and
be part of a community they are happy to visit after a long day at work.
As part of the center, there will be a women’s mikveh spa, a special wig and hairdressing salon, a beauty salon, a café and a women’s learning center. The Kosher Fashion clothing store will also move there.
How can you address all ages? Based on experience, what attracts the young, middle-aged, and older age groups best?
Dvora Köves and Chana Rivka Kalderon: We always strive to find the right piece of clothing for all ages, both in color and style. We also consider uniqueness important, because
every woman loves to have a unique dress and not come across someone on the street with the same piece of clothing.
This is why we keep these schemes in mind when ordering. I think this attracts our customers the most.
During Jewish Days, there was a fashion show with pieces from Kosher Fashion’s summer collection. What is the basis for choosing garments for this collection? What was the best or most exciting point of the show and what kind of feedback did you get?
C. R. K .: We tried to select the most special pieces from the collection.
I honestly admit, it wasn’t an easy thing to do, as all the dresses are beautiful and each one is close to our hearts.
Here, among other things, we also took into account which dress would be the best on our models, and which of the color and pattern compositions best suited the 2021 summer trends. We received a lot of positive feedback, which also confirmed to me and my colleagues that Kosher Fashion has started off in a perfect direction.
What are the rules and basics of kosher women’s clothing?
D. K.: Jewish dress is not just about how you dress; in a broader sense, it is a way of life and behavior called tzniut.
The main trend is modest, restrained, not dressing to show yourself off.
This applies not only to the length of the garments but also to the material and style. The Jewish religion primarily professes and teaches that female beauty should shine not because of outward appearances but because of inner beauty. These principles of the Jewish religion inspired us to found Kosher Fashion.
Kosher Fashion is not just about clothes, but also about the spiritual medium. What programs and events are used to sustain the community?
D. K.: A modern Jewish woman who does not belong to a community and cannot keep traditions certainly lacks the ability to spiritually recharge as well as company, friends who give her strength for everyday life. If we only deal with material things and there is no spiritual recharge, everyday life can be very exhausting. Belonging to a female community is very important for everyone. It is important to be able to share everyday life with girlfriends who give each other strength. We want to create a medium for women where they can recharge calmly and comfortably.
And the Rabbi and Rebbetzin pass on to the community the teachings of the Chabad movement and the Torah.
Women come to us for prayers, kiddush, and learning, and we try to organize a variety of programs for them, special days when we bring up topics that are necessary for life from a Torah perspective, such as parenting and marriage, and we also talk about work.
We also organize days when we cook together, either as part of a cooking course, or a health day when exercise and a healthy lifestyle come to the fore.
The image of the ideal woman changes with time and trends. What values does the woman of the modern age place most in her clothing? Is there a general difference in Israeli and Hungarian women’s fashion?
C. R. K .: Religious attire in Israel is more restrained and feminine than the way women dress in Europe, but it retains a sense of fashion and it is just as important to look pretty. Lately, you hear people say, “It may be kosher, but it’s pretty!” In the spirit of this, a mutual friend of ours is holding a fashion show at the end of November, where we will be re-introducing Kosher Fashion’s Autumn/Winter collection, as well as introducing our new girl’s clothing department.
What spiritual role does jewelry play in a woman’s life? Which symbol(s) does the Jewish woman like to wear as jewelry and what does this (these) mean
C. R. K .: The spiritual value and significance of jewelry for Jewish women is on the day of their wedding. And as with your clothing, the ideas of restraint and cleanliness return in the same way for accessories.
Cover photo source: Kosher Fashion