Galit Levi on Her Decades-Long Career in Fashion and Pro-Israel Designs

Galit Levi has been an icon in Israeli and international fashion for decades. Known for her evening gowns and bridal wear, she has also communicated messages of peace and love with her designs. 

The Peace Dress – Linor Abergil Miss World – Galit Levi -1998

In 1998, she made The Peace Dress, featuring images of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and U.S. President Bill Clinton, which Linor Abargil, winner of the Miss World pageant, wore at the ceremony. The next year, Levi designed a Star of David corset art piece for Rana Raslan, the first Israeli-Arab to be crowned Miss Israel, which showed the power of coexistence in the Jewish state. Levi also dressed a number of celebrities and influential women including Gal Gadot, Bar Refaeli, Noa Tishby and Minister Gila Gamliel.

“I aim to demonstrate that despite the immense adversities our people have faced, we remain resilient and proud of our Jewish heritage.”
– Galit Levi 

The Journal caught up with Levi, who has been operating a showroom in Tel Aviv since 1995 and recently opened a new showroom in Manhattan featuring high-end gowns and customized creations alongside an art gallery. 

Interview edited for clarity and length.

Jewish Journal: What inspires you to design clothing?

Galit Levi: As a couture fashion designer and artist, I find inspiration in a variety of sources, whether it be a movie, a book or even a flower I see on the street. I often encounter different colors, textures and patterns in random things, and I immediately get excited and want to create something based on them. I also like to combine art with fashion. Last September, I participated in New York Fashion Week (NYFW) through a special collaboration with the renowned artist Yigal Ozeri, where I printed his paintings on fabrics. Currently, I am working on a new ready-to-wear collection inspired by my own paintings. Being Jewish and born and raised in Tel Aviv, cultural influences specific to Israel also play a significant role in inspiring my designs. From traditional Jewish ceremonies and celebrations to modern Israeli pop culture, there’s a wealth of inspiration to be found in the local context.

JJ: How can fashion change the world?

GL: Fashion has a global influence on everything. What you wear symbolizes who you are, and fashion can also represent different cultures and influence political opinions. Additionally, fashion can impact a person’s confidence and personality, representing who they are. Fashion has the power to change the world by bridging cultures, promoting diversity and fostering dialogue. As a Jewish Israeli designer working globally, I can use fashion to celebrate my heritage while embracing inclusivity.

JJ: When did you go into fashion?

GL: From the age of 7, I began sewing clothes for my Barbie dolls using scraps of fabric I found at my parents’ house and held fashion shows for my grandmother, Golda, during her weekly visits. At the age of nine, I started drawing “sketches” of clothes that I gave to clothing store owners because I was dissatisfied with the selection they offered. At 14, I discovered a discarded sewing machine at home and began creating my own garments without formal training. Upon joining the army, I realized that fashion was my true calling. After completing my military service in the Israel Defense Forces, I enrolled in fashion design studies at the Fashion College of Engineering, Design,and Art in Ramat Gan. I opened my first official fashion house in Dizengoff, Tel Aviv, at 22.

JJ: How has your life changed since Oct. 7?

GL: Despite having experienced wars and serving two years in the army, Oct. 7 marked a turning point for me. It was the first time I felt a profound sense of unease for Jews worldwide. Witnessing the rise of antisemitism, specifically in colleges, was deeply troubling, especially as a mother to a daughter who went to Columbia University. Moreover, with my nephew serving in the Golani Brigade, my worries intensified. It has become more crucial than ever for me to establish my name and creativity in the fashion industry. I aim to demonstrate that despite the immense adversities our people have faced, we remain resilient and proud of our Jewish heritage.

JJ: What is your ultimate goal, in business and in life?

GL: My aim is to leave a lasting impact on the fashion industry, inspiring others with my unique vision and passion for creativity. Through my work, I hope to contribute positively to the world, spreading joy, confidence and a celebration of diversity through fashion.

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