Not since the days of Madonna wearing Jean-Paul Gauthier’s hasidic garb has tznius been so hot.  Hipster t-shirts are one story, and the rise of shmatte chic is another.

Forward culture editor Alana Newhouse cameos over at Slate on this piece, “The Rise of Shmatte Chic,” which profiles the trend overall for Jews to be involved in the clothing business, from Gauthier and Ralph Lauren (ne Lifshitz) to a host of contemporary designers, including Diane von Furstenberg Zac Posen, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, and Donna Karan, as well as American Apparel’s Dov Charney, and new  35-year-old Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch:

At Fashion Week in New York last month, Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch didn’t so much unveil a collection as veil one. His aggressively modest looks included below-the-knee skirts, billowing silhouettes, and, most conspicuously, hats. Lots of elaborate, distinctly undainty hats, which bore a striking resemblance to, of all things, those worn by fashionable Orthodox Jewish women on holy days—making Herchcovitch’s runway seem less like a Saturday at the Shows than Sabbath in certain synagogues. This followed on the heels of his summer 2007 men’s collection show, in which models were draped in oversized Star of David necklaces, and more than a few others dressed in pants and belts that plainly recalled zizit, the ritual fringes worn by Orthodox Jewish men.

Talk about fashion on the fringe.

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Esther Kustanowitz

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  • The only Tznius clothing item that is hot imo is when the woman is slender and wears these overlong skirts that tag along the floor w. her.

  • Let’s see how “hot” it is when it’s 90 degrees out and the non-frummies dressing as if they were frum actually care about body odor.

  • actually it’s really a contradiction, this whole idea of Tznius being ‘hot’. The point of Tznius in dress is to not flaunt yourself, to not reveal
    the fruits that you have so to speak.

    So anything that would cause attention to yourself via your clothes would not be Tznius-dik.

    This includes that long thumping skirt on the floor imho.

    But this is the secular Forward just trying to cap on some kind of a trend, it’s harmless really and some fun is all.