Sarah Feldman shows you can be frum and fashionable
The range has already created a buzz, not least among the close to 200 women who attended the launch. In fact, within two days of the online site – www.sarahfeldman.co.za – going live, some lines had already sold out and further production is under way.
“I’ve already had so many people asking me to come to Johannesburg,” she says excitedly, “so I’m going to have a launch there too at the beginning of March.”
Sarah also intends selling via pop-up shops. Capetonians who are reluctant to order online are welcome to come and try the clothes on at her house, she adds.
The rebbetzen has had a blog for years – www.rabbiswife.com – in which she gives a window into her life as a rabbi’s wife, mother of four and homemaker. She has 2 500 followers on Instagram and 3 500 on Facebook – both of which link to the blog – plus a few hundred subscribers.
While many of the followers are local, many are international. “I’ve already sent off a bunch of dress orders overseas – thank G-d the response has been amazing!”
Sarah is concentrating on dresses at this stage, but plans to incorporate skirts and tops into the range at a later date. “The options are endless,” she says.
And then there is the conundrum: How does one stay cool while covering up during South Africa’s sweltering summers? “It’s important to wear breathable, natural fabric,” Sarah explains.
“I find if you’re wearing cotton or viscose, you’re not going to sweat as much as when you’re wearing poly(ester),” she says, adding that she has spent a lot of time sourcing the right fabrics.
The dresses are for any season and can be dressed up, down or layered, whether for shul, a show or anything in between.
As a teenager, Sarah sometimes struggled to reconcile fashion with religious restrictions. But, she says, she has now come to understand the laws of modesty as empowering women.
“You don’t need a lack of clothing to be noticed. Dressing modestly helps accentuate a woman’s inner beauty, allowing it to radiate and shine.
“My passion is to help people. In the 10 years that we’ve been here, I’ve had so many people asking me where I shop, whether I can help them and even to be their personal shopper!
“Practically, being limited for time, going shopping with people wasn’t realistic, so after seeing the need, the clothing range was a natural development.”
The rebbetzen is committed to healthy eating and exercise and she sees being well turned out as part of that. “The more you look after yourself and feel good about yourself, the more you can be there for other people and lead a more productive life.”
In a further nod to tradition, each garment is named for a biblical heroine, namely Laya, Esta, Hannah, Rachel, Ruth and Sarah.
Sarah designs the dresses which are locally made with imported fabric. Some of the lines are exclusive and she intends coming up with new designs on a regular basis.
If the initial reaction is anything to go by, it appears that she has tapped into an under-serviced market worldwide.
- Colourbox, a pop-up shop for Sarah Feldman Cape Town, is happening on March 7, from 11:00 – 19:00, 4th Avenue (corner 11th Street), Parkhurst, Johannesburg.