INTRODUCING: DANA HAREL
Based in Ramat Hasharon, Israel, evening- and bridal-wear designer Dana Harel has been building a reputation for her modern designs comprised of luxurious textiles and intricate details – from handmade embroideries to hand-sewn embellished fabrics. Having launched three eveningwear collections and gained experience creating bespoke wedding dresses for her clients over the years, Harel saw the launch of her bridal collection as an organic growth of her work so far. Read on as she discusses launching her eponymous line and expanding to bridal, following trends and taking her collections globally.
Tell us a bit about your background, and how you came to launch your own brand.
I have a degree in psychology and literature, but I always used to dream of creating fashion. When I met my husband, he kept asking me why I studied something I didn’t really love instead of pursuing fashion design. He actually convinced me to go after my dreams, even if it meant taking a completely different direction from the one I chose initially.
Why did you choose the bridal and evening wear? Based on your experience so far, what can you tell us about the industry?
I love working with unique textiles and elegant silhouettes. Most women don’t allow themselves to wear fancy clothes on a daily basis, so I love planning their dream dress with them and making the fantasy come true.
Israeli designers are very successful in the world right now, which is amazing. It’s a competitive industry, but I am usually very focused on my own designs, creating my own aesthetic language in the bridal world.
What are some materials you love to work with? Are there any that are unusual in your industry or a challenge to work with, but you still love using?
Beaded tulles. I love cutting them apart and putting them together, and creating new textiles that cover the body in the most flattering way. I also like silk satin, which is a difficult material to work with, since you can see every mistake and wrinkle in it – I love coping with this challenge, and making beautiful silk gowns in special cutting and sewing techniques.
Are there any trends in the bridal industry that you love and others you hate? How do you feel when it comes to incorporating them into your work?
I actually don’t like lace, which is the basic textile in the bridal industry. I find it too traditional, and I keep looking for innovative, fresh designs of lace.
How many collections do you launch per year?
How do you balance working on your lines and custom orders?
My customers actually give me a lot of inspiration, so it happens simultaneously.
Do you have best-selling pieces? How is customer engagement influence your design decisions?
Of course I have more and less commercial designs, but I always try to keep all gowns under the same design aesthetic. I think of my costumers when I design my dresses, but the ideas always come from my own concepts that I imagine in my head, and not from actual brides.
Do you work internationally? Are there any challenges having your company based in Israel?
Not yet; hopefully, I will be in the near future. The main challenge in Israel is that we are a tiny country with so many talented designers!
What are your future plans for the next year?
Keep creating interesting and innovative collections, and hopefully exploring the international market.
Images © Dana Harel