This story begins with a dress.
This dress was one-of-a-kind, initially designed and made for the New York Fashion Week and later on, passed to my sister-in-law for her to wear on a very special occasion — her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah.
The pattern on the fabric represents stories of refugees I’ve met who have been forced into exile. It consists of striking and remarkable symbols and words, expressing the refugee’s strength, hopes, and dreams, woven into printed patterns. These patterns reveal the refugees’ inner belief that, although everything they had and knew had changed in a flash, things can still get better one day.
This dress was a collaboration between myself, an Israeli fashion designer, and a Palestinian architect from Gaza (who, for his safety, cannot be named).
A few years ago, I was asked to send this specific dress to showcase at a special exhibition in the US and represent our BRIDGING Collection while I was in Israel.
I was thrilled to have this opportunity, but I never intended to sell it.
A few hours after the opening event in the US, I woke up to a text message: “The dress was sold”.
I panicked. This dress was not for sale! It belongs to my sister-in-law, who is more than a sister to me.
I was shocked and refused to believe that this had happened, but it was too late. The deal was done, and the dress was already on its way somewhere far away from both my sister-in-law and me.
All I had left was a lovely picture of a beautiful client (let’s call her Angie), radiant in the dress, making it look stunning.
A few months later, I got the chance to meet Angie in person while I was on a work trip to NYC. We met for a quick coffee in Greenwich Village, which turned out as one of the most memorable cups of coffee I ever had.
Angie is a beautiful woman. I believe she is in her 50s or 60s. She has a pixie haircut and a lovely smile. She works for a huge literature festival. She is open-minded, vibrant, and exciting. Oh, and she had cancer.
She fought it, she survived, and she decided to celebrate it.
Angie told me that from the first second that she walked to the hall and laid her eyes on the dress, she knew it would be hers. It was her victory dress, her prize for fighting, for winning her battle against cancer. Listening to her story, I came to realize that this dress belonged to her long before I knew it, long before I probably even designed it.
Many warriors are amongst us, fighting cancer and injustice every day.
On this Friday of October 2020, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wish to celebrate all of our and our loved ones' battles — big and small.
It might be a cliche, but I believe that you can find your warrior mindset in every situation.
It’s not about the result, but about the journey. It’s about how we deal with the situations that life brings upon us.
Fighting can look different to different people. This is just one story, one of many, about one dress, one of many. It’s the story of one extraordinary woman.
According to The American Cancer Society, deaths from female breast cancer have dropped 40 percent since 1989. This is exactly why it deserves our full attention and support for raising awareness towards it.
The HÍDAS collections aim to raise awareness, spark conversation and action, and give voice through the language and medium of fashion. We encourage you to have annual check-ups, remain aware of medical issues, and always listen to what your body is telling you.
We invite you, family members, and friends of other warriors, to acknowledge their neverending battles and be a shoulder for them to lean on at the end of the day.
Be good to your loved ones, to the world, and most importantly — to yourself.
Life is too fragile to waste our time on anything else.
Stay healthy, enjoy your journey, and don’t forget to treat yourself to a new dress every once in a while.
Michal & The HÍDAS team
Special thanks to Noa Rabinovich Lalo, Noa Lara Meir, and Ala Khalifa, who helped create October’s Insider with endless sensitivity and talent.
This insider is dedicated to the loved ones you lost.