Acting Jewish: Between Identity and Attire
A lecture series organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.
The proposed lecture series investigates the complex nature of what it means to act or appear Jewish and for whom this appearance is important. Examples are drawn from a wide range of performative settings: on stage, on screen, in daily life. Under which conditions do certain elements of fashion and attire appear as “Jewish”? How do Jews consciously showcase or hide their identity by way of ‘acting’ and dressing in certain ways? And how were these elements conceptualised in the wider discourse: as ‘natural’- self-expressions of an ethnical identity, as attire communicating a social role, or ‘prejudiced’ – as a ’costume’ hiding the wearer’s true identity?
Adi Heyman – The Big Cover-Up: Modest Fashion
What started out as religious niche has matured into a 250 billion-dollar industry largely pioneered by a group of diverse women embracing unique identities on social media. Fashion stylist turned blogger, Adi Heyman’s inspiration behind launching a Jewish fashion and lifestyle blog in 2010 stemmed from her personal and professional experience as an Orthodox Jew working in the fashion industry.
In her talk, Heyman explores the possibility of being an ‘Orthodox Fashion Influencer’, and reflects on the lack of authentic content highlighting modest fashion and the underrepresentation of women from minority cultures. As one of the leading religion-focused Jewish influencers she promotes conservative silhouettes with a contemporary twist that resonates with the religiously observant consumer. Her work interprets Western identities alongside religious belief in a way that enables women to feel empowered by personal fashion and lifestyle choices. In 2019, Heyman founded the Jewish Fashion Council (JFC) to build a global community of Jewish fashion professionals and to provide funding and support for the Jewish student life at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Parson’s School of Design.
Welcome by Professor Christina von Hodenberg (Director, GHIL):
Introduction by Dr Daniel Wildmann (Director, LBI):