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Lee Dekel 

Combining identity and culture in a distinct utilitarian style, Dekel connects experience and place

  • Meghan Ross

Durable khaki, identity and culture are creatively stitched together in Lee Dekel's 2015 collections. While completing a degree in the history of science at King's, Dekel took a year off in 2012 to travel to her birthplace, Israel, which changed her perception of clothing. During her time there, Dekel (who grew up in Toronto) became acquainted with ATA, the first clothing factory in the country, making the khaki threads that became a staple in every Israeli closet during the 1940s and '50s. A simple khaki shirt sparked her creativity and jumpstarted her desire to pursue fashion. "The clothing itself is kind of a clash between utilitarian uniform and the really distinct Middle Eastern and Northern African styles that tapered over," she says. The khaki construction is paired with muted pops of blue and pink and textures inspired by Palestinian traditional garments. Dekel works with textiles in a way that connects experience and place, treating the clothing like an art form. She is interested in the social function of clothing and the "role fashion plays in identity, which is often overlooked."

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