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Urban Frumfitters?

It wasn’t just the Hebrew in the background that caught my attention in the Urban Outfitters Spring 2011 catalog that just came through my mail slot – it was the tichels. Yes, Urban Outfitters has decided to co-opt the headscarf style worn by many married frum Jewish women.

Urban Outfitters has a mixed history with Israel and many American Jews who’ve accused their clothing choices of being anti-Israel. Whether that’s based on naivete or not, maybe it had some effect on their latest photo shoot – which draws inspiration from Orthodox Jewish women. I’m not talking about the frum women in shul on the Upper West Side dressed from head to toe in Bergdorf labels with the gorgeous, flowing wigs that make you feel like they’re just cheating their ways out of a bad hair day. No, not them: I’m talking about the no-nonsense ladies in urban Israel, standing behind you at the kosher market; two kids in tow and four more at home and want you to move faster because they have to get home to prepare for shabbos.

In the photo shoot, it is hard to deny the source of inspiration. The tichels, the blouse buttoned up to the chin – it’s actually pretty remarkable. I would have loved to have been a fly on that Jerusalem stone wall when the creative director of the photo shoot looked around, then said, “You know what? Let’s button her up, and put this shmata on her head like this.”

And why not? They are beautiful and stylish in their own way. I just didn’t expect Urban Outfitters to seize upon that understated beauty.

Now I can’t wait to see college students rocking this look come spring.

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