When discussing the sensitive subject of halakhic modesty, the mere mention of the words ‘collarbone,’ ‘elbows’ and ‘knees’ is daunting enough to elicit a wash of anxiety. However, for a select few creative fashionistas, these halakhic boundaries are channeled into motivation to express style and flair. This is exactly the approach that Shevi Genuth and Bari Weizman have taken. Their new magazine for women, Hadar, debuted in Fall 2013 and is a fashion magazine targeting the modest Jewish woman.
Many Orthodox women find it increasingly difficult to find fashion inspiration without compromising their comfort level and standard of modesty. They admire the current styles seen in seen in Vogue or Elle, however, they cringe at the idea that these hip fashions would necessitate an altering of the hem or the addition of a Kiki Riki. For these frustrated women, Hadar magazine offers a great source of inspiration for the fashion forward Orthodox woman. Hadar, meaning ‘beauty,’ or ‘splendor’ in Hebrew, looks to current runway trends and makes adaptations for the halakhicly conscious woman.
Hadar’s publisher, Bari Weizman, is a graduate of Sy Syms School of Business. She majored in marketing and also completed the Sy Syms Masters program in accounting. Shevi Genuth, Hadar’s managing editor, graduated from Hunter College with a degree in English Literature. In addition to their work at Hadar, both women work in the telecommunications arena. After working together for three years, Weizman approached Genuth with a business plan: to start a fashion magazine for Orthodox women. Both women felt the need to fill a niche that had been lacking from the Orthodox world.
Because Hadar strives to keep up with trends of the mainstream fashion world, Weizman assures that all of the fashion featured in the magazine is from the new lines and seasons from up-and-coming designers. She credits fashion editor Jessica Gugenheim for her constant connections with public relations firms across the country, and adds that Gugenheim is constantly expanding on their press access to bring more trends and fashion to readers.
Hadar markets and promotes their modest trends through the use of social media. They use Facebook to interact with their readers, and to post about fashion-related topics. Hadar can also be found on Pinterest, a prime platform for women’s fashion. Hadar pins the latest modest runway looks on their ‘Designer Inspirations’ board, which is one of many popular boards on their Pintrest.
Genuth explained that the goal of Hadar is two-fold. In addition to featuring the latest modest fashion, Hadar aims to acknowledge all that the Orthodox woman accomplishes in her busy life. Both Weizman and Genuth embody this balance. Weizman credits her experience at Stern for her current path in life. She says that Stern provided her with a variety of courses to take with excellent professors and offered her valuable life lessons. Weizman also notes that Stern provided her with the ability to network and make great connections. Its Midtown location gave her important internship opportunities, including a prestigious internship at MTV.
Weizman concluded with some parting advice for students: “Take advantage of all that YU has to offer and enjoy college life while you can…Figure out what it is that you want and go after it…that’s what will differentiate you from everyone else.”