Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dafka & Shain - Custom bags and more on Iben Gvirol

Frankie the nanny made an amazing discovery the other day. In her search for a bag, she has been browsing large and small stores all over the city. She stumbled upon a neat little store on Iben Gvirol that makes original custom bags. Dafka & Shain is one of four stores selling the creation of Dafna 'Dafka' (colloquial: 'in spite of' or specifically, precisely) and other Tel Aviv designers. Dafna 'Dafka' designs these 'amazing bags' according to nanny Frankie. So I joined sam-d for a visit to the tiny store on 125 Iben Gvirol. If you are munching on a falafel or sucking down a cold coffee you would miss this little store. But DON'T! Dafna designs and manufactures in the store itself these simple colorful designs. She uses extremely durable and environmentally friendly materials. The main material is an industrial leather with cotton fibers that is as durable as good leather and is even water and scuff resistant. She makes a variety of designs from large wallets (at 120 NIS) to large bags (about 300 NIS). The larger bags can also serve as book or laptop bags for the more discerning and fashionable Tel Aviv students.

Don't pass up the tiny front of Dafka & Shain at 125 Iben Gvirol
The mainstream design is made up of the main compartment and a flap with a sewn image. Dafna will custom design the colors of the bag and the flap and will custom choose an image from a wide selection of classic and funky designs. If you have a favorite picture or an art piece she will print an image to size and sew it on your bag. The images are printed with water and wear resistant ink and sewn onto the leather. This makes for a colorful and durable bag.

Colorful sample bags you can take with you, or use for inspiration
Dafna gave us a short history of her creation as a career. She started out as a painter and illustrator and stumbled upon the idea of decorating bags with original paintings. Then came the design phase and she quickly realized that there is more to this than just her painting. She settled on using bright colors and illustrations ~ and as they say in the biz... the rest is history. Today she has a flow of customers from the environmentally and animal sensitive to the style seekers. She wanted to create a simple and beautiful, yet durable and environmentally friendly bag. So searched and found this leather substitute that is mostly used for upholstery. The material is imported from Italy and at the small quantities she buys can cost as much as good leather. This is what keeps the bags unique. Other designer offer similarly priced bags from real leather, but this is where Dafna says 'DAFKA' NOT! ~ and this is where you can be unique too. -- Dafka and Shain, 125 Iben Gvirol - 03/546-5152 or Dafna 'Dafka' - 050/7373-145 Read More...

Street Life - Eat, Drink, and Romance

Tel Aviv is starting to show spring colors. In other cities that would be flowers and green leaves. Or street performance of magic and music in the town squares. Here it's romance and food. What are the colors of romance and food? Well, it's smiling faces, colorful plates, shiny windows, and more cloths in pastels than black. The weather is starting to allow comfortable outside sitting, and there are still a the enclosed glass shelters from the winter. Like urbanites in Europe and N. America, Tel Avivians feel the awakening of spring weather and light. If you come from a cold weather country you may think about how exaggerated spring for Israelites is, but never the less, spring brings "street colors". For me this is people in cafes, parks, and boulevards. With small apartments and getting smaller (this phenomena of making a small apartment into two smaller ones will be dealt with in another article), good selection of cafes, bars, and restaurants. So for Tel Avivians social living outside is the way of life, no matter what Venicians or Parisians say, Tel Aviv thinks they are the best at this. On any day you can find people in cafes working (laptop services like WiFi and power is available in many places), couples romancing, and students studying. If you come from a US college town this would seem natural, and if you lived or visited Paris, Venice, or Barcelona the crowds would make you feel that deja-vue again.

Arlozorov & Iben Gvirol: Cars, Horses, and Cafes - Eat, Drink, and Romance
The business world has not missed this phenomena and preference of street living. On any day you will find architects presenting plans to clients, insurance and investment proposals discussed, and interviews for high-tech and retail sales jobs in many cafes and one or two bars. With the attitude of 'mind your own business ~ please', most people are not afraid to discuss their most intimate personal issues like salaries, finances, and even sexual habits. For the most part, the people in the next table are anonymous and do not seem to care even if they overhear something juicy. During the day cafes seem to have more business and school activity than the rest of the day. During the evening hours romancing and 'starting' ~ a term for hitting on the 'girl next table' is much more common. The main Tel Aviv boulevard have been lined with tables from restaurants for many years. The amount and agressiveness of the table placement seem to follow both the weather and the general economic mood of the city. Now the weather is warming up and the economy seem to be taking a short rest. So let the tables get moving begin.
Spruced up flower bed in a walking path, outdoor living is not limited to cafes
If your style is more sporty or does not fall into sitting around, there are plenty of walking paths, beaches, and parks to run around. Biking and jogging is slowly coming back with the warm weather too. So is simple walking and bench warming. Tel Aviv seem to be taking this pass time also well with spruced up flower beds, repaired paths, and freshly painted park benches. Again, these are not limited to the older set kibitzing. On any evening you will find plenty of teen agers and 20-somethings hugging and kissing in a hidden spot. Also, the ever present teen age groups are going to find a bench or a street corner to congregate and enjoy a warm evening outdoors. So get out... and come enjoy the city... Read More...