2020 was a pivotal year for well-known Israeli fashion journalist Roza Sinaysky who, in the midst of pandemic, opened showroom KOLBO with her husband Jacob Sakuri in Los Angeles, California. KOLBO functions as a boutique where people can shop, and a place where stylists and artists can pull clothes for music videos, editorials and commercials, Red Carpets and TV appearances. It is also a creative agency that provides professional, high-quality content and promotes its brands in the U.S. market. We spoke to Roza about Israeli and Californian fashion, as well as fashion in times of the pandemic. Hopefully, we can travel soon to see and experience it all in person.
From a successful career in fashion journalism, based in Tel Aviv, how did you come up with an idea of opening a showroom in L.A.? Why Los Angeles? Also, can you tell our readers about the name “Kolbo”?
In recent years, Tel Aviv has become a hub for young fashion designers and fashion forward brands. After working with Tel Aviv Fashion Week for several years and introducing international press to our talented fashion industry, I saw the need for these designers to break out in the American market. I noticed there was an amazing feedback from American press, clients and celebrities and many were interested in working with designers. I decided to create a place where people can be exposed to these talented designers and artists and get a feeling of Tel Aviv all the way in Los Angeles. The decision to open Kolbo in L.A. was very personal for me: I have a deep connection with California and the fact that it has a large Jewish population inspired the business idea behind Kolbo. Anyone who’s ever been in Israel knows how special it is and that Tel Avivian vibe cannot be found anywhere else in the world, so my goal was to bring a little piece of Tel Aviv to L.A. “Kolbo” means “a department store” in Hebrew. We called it so because we wanted to create a one-stop shop for all the fabulous things Tel Aviv/Israel has to offer. From fashion to décor to art.
Do all the designers have to be from Israel or Jewish?
We started working with Israeli and Jewish designers because all of them were my friends for many years, and it was easy to get them on board for this idea. Now that we’ve grown, we are definitely adding more designers from around the globe, including Ukraine, Romania and London. We believe in talented people and it’s more about the creativity, vision and pleasant partnership between us and the brands. I traveled all over the world in the past decade and met many talented designers who I enjoy working with and believe they can make it in America!
You’ve been to countless fashion weeks around the world. What do you think makes Israeli designers special and different from the rest of the world?
What make an Israeli designer special is their spirit and creativity. Everything works very fast in Israel unlike in L.A. where everything is a little more mellow and people take their time, so I feel that Israeli innovative “go-getting” spirit translates into fashion as well. Also, Israelis love to party and dress accordingly. Weddings and other happy occasions are a key to Israeli culture – most designers base their collections on party, evening and bridal options.
Do you personally dress in clothes from the showroom? Which designer is your favourite?
Of course, I practice what a preach! I always try to wear something from the showroom. I love Einav Nasri’s comfy silk suits and printed dresses, and Ariel Toledano’s casual yet tailored looks mixed with a soft and chic leather bag by Shuviluna.
How would you describe the style of people of Israel and how would you describe the style of people in Los Angeles? What’s similar, what’s different?
One of the main reasons why our clients in L.A. love our brands is because the weather is similar and you can always dress for summer, be it casual or sporty. In both places, summer outfits are 90% of the wardrobe. I feel like in recent years Israel really ramped up their fashion game, I’m very inspired by how people dress in Tel Aviv: it’s bohemian, casual and slightly sporty, but super elegant and fashion forward when going out. L.A. is much more laid-back and sports-oriented, most people here are wearing sweat suits, leggings and sneakers.
In your opinion, how has the pandemic changed the fashion industry? What is it like running a business in the U.S. right now?
The pandemic has definitely changed many things, including many brands that had to close their businesses or reduce the number of employees and collections made. Logistically, it was an absolute nightmare receiving and sending packages. Also, the lockdown was hard for most fashion businesses, but now we can see that everything is going back to the way it was before. Especially in Israel, you can’t stop the ladies from partying and living their lives to the fullest! In U.S., everything is coming back slowly: people are still cautious, yet it’s becoming busier every day.
And lastly, what would you like people to know about designers and fashion from Israel?
Our goal and Kolbo’s philosophy is to show the world through fashion that Israel is a cool place. We don’t like to be too ‘obvious’ or political, rather we want to show the world our fun and creative spirits. Fashion is a global language that everyone can relate to and enjoy.
All images courtesy of Roza Sinaysky.