The Jews Who Invented (And Continue To Reinvent) Fashion

Meet the Bloggers Who Are Recreating the Shmattesphere

Funky Cold Medine: Leandra Medine’s blog “The Man Repeller” was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 best blogs in 2012.
Courtesy of Leandra Medine
Funky Cold Medine: Leandra Medine’s blog “The Man Repeller” was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 best blogs in 2012.

By Jason Diamond

Published March 04, 2013, issue of March 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

‘I studied molecular biology and painting, so taking photos and writing about beauty was probably the last thing I ever figured I would do,” Aimee Blaut, 29, tells me of the road she took to founding the popular blog The Formula, a lifestyle site featuring interviews with fashion tastemakers and industry people about their regimens, favorite products and what they think is “in.”

Going from working in labs and performing immunology and neurology research to interviewing and photographing the movers and shakers of the fashion industry isn’t the type of story you hear every day, but as Blaut tells it, it’s really just something that sort of happened. “I’ve always been beauty obsessed, so focusing on that seemed natural. And luckily, someone in my life at the time taught me how to use a camera, and I have been doing it ever since,” she said. Today The Formula is her full-time job, and it has become the go-to source for those interested in what fashion insiders are wearing.

Jews have played a role in every aspect of the American fashion industry since the 19th century, when a wave of European Jews made fortunes opening up department stores in major American cities — from Filene’s in Boston to Goldwater’s in Arizona. In 1853, a German-born Jew named Levi Strauss founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans; immigrants from the shtetl set up custom-made suit shops like J. Press for Ivy League students, captains of industry and Kennedys.

If you needed a Yiddish-speaking tailor in a major city, all you had to do was find the small storefronts or massive factories in Philadelphia, Chicago and New York, where, in 1897, about 60% of the city’s Jewish labor force was employed in the apparel field, and three-fourths of the workers in the industry were Jews.

And today, when there’s a mezuza on nearly every door in New York’s wholesale fabric district, and Jewish designers such as Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren are at the helm of billion-dollar brands, it’s apparent that Jews still dominate much of the global market. Now, fashionistas who happen to be Jewish have found yet another comfortable spot in the fashion world: the fashion blog.

Lawrence Schlossman has gained a considerably large following and was thought influential enough to be included in the GQ blog “Oral History of Menswear Blogging” in 2009, after founding the now-renowned menswear blog Sartorially Inclined.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.