Pop patterns. Couture for a cause. The topical articles could be in Vogue or Elle. but this is Hadar, a new Orthodox women’s fashion magazine.
Hadar (Hebrew for “glorious”), debuted last fall and followed with three more editions. The glossy, high-end publication is the brainchild of a Yeshiva University Stern College for Women graduate and the product of her and a good friend’s creativity and entrepreneurship. It is available in stores throughout the New York/New Jersey area and online at www.hadarmagazine.com.
“I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur,” said Bari Weizman, owner and content director of Hadar. She said her magazine embodies the essence of the modest Jewish woman, while exploring her desire to remain current and fashionable.
The idea came to Weizman one Shabbat when she was shmoozing with her sister about how all the little girls in their hometown of Monsey, N.Y., were wearing the same headbands with big, poufy bows, and the women were dressed in similar black boots on their walk to shul.
“I started thinking about all of these different fashion bloggers and how there is such a big interest in the Jewish community to add more fashion into one’s wardrobe, instead of just putting a Kiki Riki [shell] under everything,” Weizman said.
As she grew more excited about the idea she reached out to a former colleague, Shevi Genuth, and invited her to be a partner. Genuth now serves as Hadar’s editor and publisher. The team also recruited Jessica Gugenheim, one of Weizman’s family friends, as fashion editor.
Gugenheim, who lives in Manhattan, described the magazine as individualistic. “I don’t think our style is trying to follow any certain drum,” she said. Gugenheim looks for a combination of elegance and high fashion at price points that are affordable for the average Orthodox Jew, who likely is raising several children and is paying day school tuition, among other expenses.
Hadar uses the developers’ religious friends instead of professional models, although flipping through its pages of spiked heels, creative layering and trendy colors, one would never know.
Gugenheim worked previously at Anthropologie — a popular national retailer — where she “dressed the customers.” While each client had her own concern — a petite figure, recent weight gain, etc. — Gugenheim said finding fashion for Hadar is a more sophisticated challenge. Hadar only features skirts, long sleeves and high necklines. Gugenheim, who has a degree in art history, works with national brands to get samples that fit the frum bill.
“I just see fashion as a different expression of art,” she said. “As opposed to painting on a canvas, the designers are painting with fabric.”
But can Hadar survive the huge transformations occurring in all media sectors? Is there a place for a new print magazine?
In the Orthodox community, the answer is yes, Weizman believes. Using an iPad or a Kindle on Shabbat is still — and will likely always be — forbidden. Hence, the Orthodox community turns to print.
Moreover, media reports contend that the Orthodox Jewish lifestyle is becoming more upscale. Even a simple Google search leads to sites touting high-end wines, sophisticated restaurants and stylish wigs.
“There are so many things that [Orthodox] Jewish women are demanding at this point, that a high-end fashion magazine could be on the list of things they want to see in their lives,” said Weizman, who notes that Hadar is not only about clothes but also about empowering women. Articles include topics on budgeting for kosher food, managing the cost of yeshiva tuition, and being an Orthodox career woman and what that means for Shabbat and holidays.
Weizman said Hadar is steadily growing. The publication prints 10,000 copies per issue and distributes thousands of promotional copies to ensure it is reaching the appropriate demographic for advertisers.