Photo Credit: courtesy, Kobi Levi
Israeli footwear designer Kobi Levi and Hollywood actress Whoopi Goldberg

Looking for that special something to brighten up your wardrobe for this year’s Festival of Lights? Or perhaps you’re searching for a gift for that femme fatale in your life?

If either of the above apply, seek no further. Two Israeli designers are creating new global fashion trends in the footwear industry since graduating from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem.

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Ganit Goldstein, who has put together a unique collection of 3D printed clothing and shoes, is the only Israeli who was chosen for the Re-FREAM European Union scholarship as part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. Goldstein was awarded 55,000 Euro to develop a breakthrough project focused on new approaches to tailoring using a combination of 3D and 4D printing. She has collaborated with several leading tech companies, such as global 3D design and manufacturer, Stratasys.

Ganit Goldstein slippers

Kobi Levi has stepped out into the glittering world of entertainment with his creative shoe designs, which have caught the eyes of some of the biggest names in the music industry. Top vocalist Lady Gaga has worn Levi’s footwear, as has Fergie in her recent music video M.I.L.F. So did Israel’s own 2018 Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai. Emmy, Grammy and Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg was also deeply impressed — so much so, in fact, that she contacted Levi directly to purchase his custom-made footwear/works of art.

In an exclusive email interview with JewishPress.com, Levi discussed his growing career and a recent experience in which his Jewish background somehow became reflected in his footwear as well.

Flamingo shoes

One of the designer’s most creative — and perhaps most sensuous — designs is a pair of intricate pink Flamingo spike heels. We asked Levi if these shoes are actually wearable, or if they are simply designed for performance and “show” wear.

Wearable creative fashion art by Kobi Levi

“As for the Flamingo inspired shoes, they are completely wearable for any purpose the person who wears it chooses,” the designer replied. “Technically they are like “normal” high heel shoes, but their artistic look makes people think they are more challenging to wear. Usually when tried on, people are surprised with the feel and fit.”

Kobi Levi’s whimsical “Banana” shoes

Likewise, Levi said his Banana shoes — modeled by Whoopi Goldberg — are “completely comfortable and wearable. And their heel angle is very low.”

Comedienne and actress Whoopi Goldberg wearing Kobi Levi’s “Banana” shoes on stage

In fact, he said, all his creations are wearable. “It is important for me to make “real wearable art” that comes to life on the body, as well as being on display. It makes me work very hard to achieve that; it is not just a mock-up for show only, but it is worth the amazing feeling to see it become alive!”

Levi added that his themes are usually those that everyone can relate to, “as they are part of life, iconic images we all know. People often see my point of view and stories reflected in my designs,” he said.

“In one exhibition my “Sling-Shot” shoe started a discussion about David and Goliath. I didn’t have this in mind when I designed it, but I can see how the curator saw this connection,” Levi said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.