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2017-02-10 digital edition
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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


February 10, 2017  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Museum weaves together story of how Florida Jews have shaped fashion

Two panels of the new exhibit, “Hot Couture: Florida Jews on the Fashion Scene” at the Jewish Museum in Miami Beach Two panels of the new exhibit, “Hot Couture: Florida Jews on the Fashion Scene” at the Jewish Museum in Miami Beach Jews have played a dominant role in the American fashion industry from the late 1800s, when waves of European immigrants fled persecution and pogroms, often bringing with them only the clothes on their backs and their trades. While these immigrants became known for shaping the New York garment industry, many people will be surprised to learn that Jews who settled in Florida also have been involved in clothing related businesses since that time.

That story is told in the exhibit, “Hot Couture: Florida Jews on the Fashion Scene, 1880s to Today,” on display at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU through Nov. 5.

Jewish Floridians have left an indelible footprint on this industry, from the pioneering “mom and pop” retailers and department stores that started more than 100 years ago such as Tampa’s own Maas brothers, to designers who brought the likes of Frank Sinatra and Zsa Zsa Gabor flocking to their stores in the 1950s, to fashion trends such as the guayabera shirts, influenced by the exodus from Cuban in the 1960s, to today’s entrepreneurs using the most modern technologies and materials to create the latest fashions.

Featuring everything from iconic brands to unique wearable art, bikinis and belts made out of local snakeskins, climate-influenced golf shirts and stay-dry fabrics and even Florida furs, the museum exhibition explores the inspiration and tradition that has guided the creative forces behind Florida’s fashion industry for generations and the pride and craftsmanship that defines them. The exhibit showcases women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, handbags and notions to ancillary services such as fashion photography, law, advertising and design labs.

JMOF-FIU will also host a series of related programs and activities throughout the run. Check the museum’s website for details:

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The Jewish Museum of Florida is housed in two adjacent, restored historic buildings, at 301 Washington Ave. on South Beach, which were once synagogues for Miami Beach’s first Jewish congregation. For more information: 305-672-5044, go to, Facebook @JewishMuseumofFlorida or Twitter @JewishMuseumFL.

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