For These Orthodox Jewish Designers, Leopard Print is the New “Modest” Fashion
In hot pink and spandex, these are not your grandma’s shmatas.
Photos by Sara Swaty
On a particularly busy May Friday, Rachelle Yadegar, 24, and Judith Illulian, 26, are scrambling in their office on the ninth floor of an old, marbled building in the fashion section of Downtown Los Angeles to send out 300 dress orders. They own a brand of fashionable-but-modest clothing for Orthodox Jewish women called RaJu, and the start of Shabbat, Memorial Day and the Jewish holiday Shavuot will leave them unable to work for a week. The square room is cluttered with merchandise. A magenta sequined roll of fabric inspired by J. Crew pours out of a cardboard box. Papers cover the desk. Floral dresses folded in plastic lay on the floor. The columns of white shelves lining the walls are stacked with Raju’s signature styles, like the “eye-catching” Jenna, a light-blue leopard print body-con dress made of polyester and spandex.
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