Avshalom Rave: From the Israeli military to the New York runway
Designer at PerePaix & RAVE by PerePaix, New York City
Why I love him: Men’s jewelry designers get overlooked but Avshalom’s designs make you stand up and take notice. He crafts pieces that are strong, that feel like they have a history and a story.
When was the first time you noticed fashion as something someone created rather than just something you bought and put on?
Fashion never interested me when I grew up. I got into it by chance and only after I started fashion school did I realize that colors, fabrics, shapes, style are all planned years in advance. Then, the designers add their own special creative touch. If you really want to be fashionable, you must create your look by mixing and matching what you cannot find in the stores or the magazines. It is creating from the inside what hasn’t been seen yet rather than looking outside for what’s “on the rack.”
What made you want to pursue design vocationally as opposed to it just being a hobby?
My story begins when I was serving in the Israeli military. My officer decided as a part of joke to give me a free vacation day if I signed up for fashion school (Shenkar). I was so happy to get the free day, I decided to try it.
Coming from the military, did you have a portfolio to present to the fashion school?
I had no idea. I went back to my office and asked for a week to prepare. After three days of gluing, stitching and knitting leftover materials my mom collected at her hospital (empty-packages, expired stuff), I made a portfolio.
After you were accepted in the school and spent the years learning, what brought you to where you are today?
On the last day of school, right after my exam, my husband and I decided to fly to New York for his studies at Columbia Business School. Those years were tough for me. I did not speak the language, I did not have my family or my friends and the culture was very hard to understand.
One day, I was wearing some jewelry I made for myself from leftover material from my projects with Swarovski, and a guy approached me to ask where he could buy my necklace as he would love to have it at his store. So I made him some and after a week, he called and said he had sold out. He asked me to make 570 items for the next season and that year, I realized I might have a talent for jewelry for men and decided to open my first company in Israel. Now we have three companies, two brands we manufacture in nine countries and create private labels as well.
What other facets of artistry are you able to bring into your designs?
I was an artist all my life. I was a dancer for 18 years, a painter, photographer & sculptor. My artistic tendencies came from my family. Although none of them are full time artists, when they enter the kitchen, their inner artist comes out. My technical knowledge came from my service in the army and then my degree in Israel’s top fashion school, which is continuously ranked as one of the top ten fashion schools worldwide.
When you begin designing new garments, what is your process like?
It’s great fun to start with a sketch, however in the world of jewelry, creativity and numbers are mixed together. Creativity, fantasy, vision and the reality of business – numbers and production cycles – all have to be aligned.
While the men’s jewelry market may not be as expansive as the women’s, how do you separate yourself from the competition?
I think the fact that I came from the fashion and art world and the fact that I’m focused on the men’s accessories makes me a unique player. For example, we have a new collection every week. I simply cannot stop designing. This constant state of product development – developing and testing new ideas, new materials, and new looks – is not a common approach among many companies and requires a wide skill set.
What was it like the first time you saw someone wearing your designs in real life?
My first product was a hit and that started the entire company. So right away, I saw many people wearing it but I remember in particular seeing two guys wearing my necklaces in the Meatpacking District as they were leaving Jeffrey’s store. I felt amazing! I got validation that I was able to make something that is unique and creative but at the same time accessible and masculine.
FAST FASHION FACTS
My aesthetic in five words: Bold, sexy, masculine, artistic, innovative.
My client is… You reading this!
For more on Alexander and to purchase his designs, head to www.perepaix.com, on Instagram or on Etsy!
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