When looking at the news, we can easily see that the world fucked up. But what can we do to make it better? Well, striving to improve our closest community is a first – and giant – step. Amit Luzon and Eyal Eliyahu have created ADISH to do so. These Israeli creative duo has founded the brand where craftsmanship, heritage, fair labour, empathy and respect are the main pillars on which it stands. Their main goals? Make their generation more empathic and conscious about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, provide well-paid jobs to Palestinian women, and make the world a better place.
Amit and Eyal intensively share and feed their revolutionary hunger to merge the craft and culture of the Middle East with high-end streetwear through ADISH, the Hebrew word for ‘apathetic’ they’ve appropriated in an ironic way. Fashion as a medium does, not only in theirs, but in our eyes as well, provide an entrance into influential spheres. It can, and in this case it also beautifully does, carry a political message as well as it functions as a socio-political commentary and a tool to make a statement. The cultural significance of fashion is not negotiable, and ADISH is both literal and metaphorical honour to tradition and culture.
Hi Amit and Eyal, could you talk us through who you are individual?
Amit: I’m twenty-four years old, and was born and raised in Petah Tikva, a city just outside of Tel Aviv. As a teen, I was pretty obsessed with sports. I played professional tennis when I was younger. I was always into style, aesthetics and culture. I had a deep love for fashion, and even without formal training, I knew it was the field I needed to be in. I was particularly into streetwear, and the notion of fusing that with the traditions of the Middle East led to where I am today with our brand, ADISH.
Eyal: My name is Eyal Eliyahu, I’m twenty-four and from Ramat Hasharon (Israel). Since preschool, my passion has always been art and everything in that realm. When I was nine, I started skateboarding and writing graffiti around Tel Aviv with the older kids in that scene. In high school, I studied art and graphic design, and managed a streetwear store.
When and how did you meet? And how did your relationship evolve until getting to collaborate together?
Eyal: Amit and I met just before high school, when he started his tennis training in Ramat Hasharon. We became close quickly, but we grew especially close as we bonded over our love for fashion and the arts. We’ve been talking about starting a label of our own for years. ADISH started as an idea, something that we believed in, a brand that would serve as a powerful voice for our generation in the Middle East. Initially, we spent a lot of time brainstorming, staying long hours overnight trying to define our concept and brand. A handful of months later, we got a studio, quit our jobs, and committed ourselves entirely to ADISH.
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How did the idea of creating ADISH come about? Does the name of the label mean something?
Amit: We are both connected to urban culture and streetwear. We understand the pervasiveness and power that street style has to shake things up and to change the status quo. We wanted to use fashion as a medium to change the dynamic and landscape in the Middle East, which is a socio-political disaster in many ways. The brand’s name, ADISH, is the Hebrew word for ‘apathetic’ or ‘indifferent,’ though we use this terminology in a sarcastic way. To us, ADISH is about trying to make a real, meaningful change in the Middle East, and not giving attention to the empty promises of politicians and those in power who don’t care about peace.
You’re first collection is titled We Made You, could you tell us what does this stand for and what is the idea behind these hand-sewn and locally produced garments?
Amit: For our first collection, our goal was to merge traditional handmade Palestinian embroidery with contemporary streetwear shapes. We were inspired by our counterparts – the Palestinian women who helped define and shape what ADISH is today with their craftsmanship, heritage, and skill through their embroideries. These women bear the responsibility of raising families and doing household work, while also providing their communities with support and inspiration. Unfortunately, they never seem to receive the recognition they deserve. So for us, it was important to highlight these women’s skills, to collaborate with them, and learn from them. We wanted to understand what their embroideries — the patterns and fabrics — mean to them and why. Each pattern had a story and family history, designs that have been passed down in villages for generations. We Made You is about the beauty of collaboration and coexistence, and honouring both tradition and street culture.
Who is your fashion for?
Eyal: Our garments are gender neutral. So, I think our audience is less about man/woman but more about the person wearing the piece and their values. We design for individuals who value local craftsmanship and value fair labour laws – the person who wants to buy better, not more.
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Your project is very much based on craftsmanship.  Fashion, nowadays, seems to be so far from the honesty of craft and too close to the ignorance and immorality of industrial production. Is this something you hope will change?
Amit: Of course. When we started to work on our collection, our first thought was that there is a wealth of traditional craftsmanship born from the Middle East that a great part of the world has never seen, especially in a contemporary manner. Regardless, to work with craft means to work with people, and we quickly learned that finding the right artisans is not as easy as it seems. It is a task that takes time, iterations, mistakes, re-do’s, and as a result, the process is costly.
ADISH cares deeply about shedding light on the tradition of Palestinian embroidery, and our way of keeping that tradition alive and showing it respect is by ensuring that the embroideries are handmade. This is how we honour their craft and give life to the narrative of these women. Nowadays, it is common for more and more young designers to work on their crafts from home, infusing their work with their own distinct style and aesthetic. We hope that this grows to become the norm, and that the industry grows to appreciate quality over quantity, fair labour, and true craftsmanship.
Then, who are the people who work for ADISH? How do you find them?
Eyal: We have two primary teams that help make ADISH happen. One is dedicated to sewing, while the other is dedicated to embroidery. Our sewing factory is located in Tamra, an Arab village in northern Israel just a few hours from our studio in Tel Aviv. The factory is one of the most professional we have ever known, and they have been remarkably supportive through the process of producing our collection. It can be tough and complicated to find a factory that is ambitious enough to help young designers like us. We went to several factories until we found one that supported our goals, and treated their employees fairly.
We met our embroidery team through the Parents Circle Families Forum, a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization for families who have lost loved ones to the conflict. We found people who are committed to changing the status quo and seek peace and coexistence between our two nations. Initially we worked with two women – Najla, from the village of Beit Umar, and Sawsan, from Ramallah. Together, we chose the patterns and fabrics we wanted to work with. We did several tests on each fabric, learned about the history of each pattern, and trusted their guidance and preferences as we made design decisions. Now, we work with more than fifty embroiderers from several different villages in the West Bank.
In the same vein of collaboration, we were lucky to work with the New York-based artist Jordan Nassar for our first collection. We met him while he was doing an artist residency in Israel. Amit and I introduced ourselves over Instagram and ended up going to his studio to see some of his work. He has a ton of experience with Palestinian embroidery, so his help was essential in infusing these embroideries into our garments. We spent time working together, experimenting with diverse fabrics, colours, and pattern sizes to build something new while still retaining the embroideries’ traditional feel. 
Let’s now talk about the power of fashion. After establishing a label standing on the pillars of hope for smothering the fire of political conflicts, do you still think that fashion, as a medium, can carry a political message and have an impact on political situations, or do you think that it functions more like ‘just’ a socio-political commentary or a tool to make a statement?
Amit: I am positive that fashion as a medium holds the power to make significant changes in socio-political landscapes, but it’s a matter of choice. You, as the brand, can choose to make a real impact and how to do it. For example, you can work with people and use their work as a vehicle for support and growth, or help them in other means like donations. Our motto is ‘work, no charity.’ When you give human beings who live in severe conditions – in our case, under occupation – a job, it provides an economic hope that can change their lives, and give them a reason to wake up in the morning.
The women we work with aren’t able to work much in Palestine, and if they do find work, they aren’t paid fairly for their labour. We provide these women with not only excellent pay in return for their craftsmanship, but we also have given them the opportunity to work doing something they love, a tradition of embroidery that their heritage has taught them since they were children. Their work for ADISH keeps their heritage alive with love and respect. We hope that ADISH has the power to change lives, even at this small scale, and we hope that our project will change the biases that people from both sides hold, and open their minds to tolerate and respect one another. True peace comes by creating trust between people, and we hope that our project will inspire more young people in our generation to create their own projects that strive to change the volatile landscape of the crazy world we live in.
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How do you show/present the results of your work? Is a catwalk the right place to convey such a message? The formula for catwalk presentations hasn’t changed much since they first debuted in the early twentieth century. Any ideas for a shift?
Eyal: These days, catwalks create an environment for the designer to convey the inspiration, intention, emotions and energy of the collection. We hope to have the opportunity to present our work in one of the world’s fashion capitals, but we want to do it our way, the ADISH way. We want it to feel like the Middle East, and to bring our DNA to the catwalk. Our dream is to bring the fashion world to Israel and the West Bank, and show our collections here, in our environment. This is something that will take time and energy to achieve, but we know this is important. Fashion is often inspired by foreign cultures, and it would be meaningful to bring the fashion world to where the brand, inspiration, and energy are born.
What are you proud of?
Eyal: We are so proud that we made this brand from scratch. A year and a half ago, when we were just throwing ideas around in long overnight sessions after work, it seemed like just a dream to have our own collection, studio, lookbook, and brand. I know this is just the beginning, and we haven’t achieved anything yet. But when we start working every single day, we don’t always have the time to take a step back and think about the wild and unusual path we took to make our dreams come true.
Amit:  During our research for the collection, we had some meaningful conversations with the Palestinian embroiderers. We asked these women about their interests, their taste in music, and what they like to do. They were so embarrassed, and we wondered why. They said that no one had ever asked them about their interests before, especially an Israeli. I’ll never forget those conversations.
If you could get an ultimate answer to one question, what would this question be?
Amit: How do you unteach years of hate?
Eyal: Where will we be twenty years from now?
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