Forbes / Micha Hidas / Fashion Designer
Sometimes, fashion really manages to be like exalted art.
Very rarely, its aim is also to change the world.
Such is Michal Hidas' fashion, Marangoni graduate, the prestigious fashion design school in Milan, that designed a collection with a Palestinian architect in recent years, as well as designed a series that was presented in New-York fashion week, the series is based on words of hope she collected from refugees in refugee camps in Greece.
This year she also won the Fashion Humanitarian Award, in recognition of her participation and contribution to the fashion industry and for raising awareness of painful topics by creating a connection between people and cultures. ''I realized that usually art that talks about hard, painful subjects is often times very depressing and gray'', says Hidas. ''We don't like looking at it, it's easier for us to ignore it. My latest collection is our way of doing so from a very naïve, utopian, optimistic place".
The reality on the other side
Hidas who was born and raised in Kiryan Tivon, did her gap year in Jerusalem and served in the military as NCO in the injured department, Golani brigade. When she finished her service, she took her first steps in the fashion world, starting in the profession school Precise and moving to Maragoni. There, among other things, she designed her Welcome Back God collection that started as a research of 1000 years of fashion in the Jewish culture all throughout the world. Upon graduation, Hidas won the first prize in the ''I-SKOOL'' competition, sponsored by the fashion company ISKO, one of the biggest jeans manufacturers in the world.
The connection between design and social activity was always her passion, and it grew even stronger during her time in fashion school. ''During school, I came back to visit Israel and volunteered with kids from the Gaza strip'', she tells. ''I saw how every little thing makes them run and hide. I saw how it affects them, and I started thinking about how these kids have a certain culture I know nothing about. I don't know how their lives look''. And so, out of curiosity, Hidas decided to understand how the reality of those who live on the other side, inside of Gaza, looks like and she understood that the only way to do so is to talk to them. ''I started looking for people and tried to create direct contact with them in order to understand what's going on in Gaza, and in the process I got a lot of hate from people'', she recalls. ''I kept moving forward until I found a lovely architect, whose name I can't reveal. From the first moment, it was clear we don't need to talk about politics, so we just talked about culture, art, creation, music, food… and we became friends.''
Their friendship was virtual: the two never met, but even with the difficulties, they created a friendship and the architect made a series of sketches and drawings for her, a series that expresses the will to share with the world the opportunity to do things differently. Hidas used the drawings and turned them into patterns to use in the clothes she's designing. The result was Bridging collection that goes to show how unusual collaborations can build bridges between cultures and create a new way.
Refugees, Palestinians and fashion
Last fashion week held in New-York, Hidas has launched her summer collection Bridging Spring-Summer 2018, based on words and sentences of hopes and dreams refugees shared with her in the camps she visited, in Leros island, Greece as well as in the Ziv hospital in Tzfat, in which she volunteers. ''It amazed me how much hope these people have. These are people who have nothing – they don't have a passport nor an identity – they're trapped. Most of them experienced horrifying things. They don't have a country, they don't have anywhere to go or return to'' Says Hidas.
This collection is also a product of her collaboration with the Palestinian architect, as well as the calligrapher Max Noiz. Her unique collection, casual prestigious clothes, reflects on her personal and professional values and expresses the unique story of the men who worked on it with her. The collection received great attention in the fashion world, with headlines in well-known magazines like Vogue, Al and Harper's Bazar. Hidas continues to tell her unique story in universities as well as presenting the collection in different exhibitions.
Nowadays, she's working on modest collections for religious women of all religions, starting to get into the large sizes field, as well as delving deep into new innovative technology in the textile field. Soon, she'll launch a website of her brans – HIDAS – in which she'll sell the clothes she's designing.