Frum magazine smuggles in the glamour

By Elissa Strauss, April 25, 2014
A recent fashion shoot for the magazine (left)

A recent fashion shoot for the magazine (left)

On its cover, Hadar little resembles other women’s magazines.

Its spring 2014 cover features a drawing of a dark-haired women holding a bouquet of poppies alongside promises of no-potato Passovers and DIY tricks.

Open it up, however, and it suddenly looks more like a contemporary fashion and lifestyle glossy than its cover suggests. There are guides to wearing this season’s must-have pastels and fashion spreads featuring attractive women in booties and smart coats.

“I think that there is a big misconception that tznius equals frumpy. This can turn a lot of people off from the entire concept [of modesty],” said Shevi Genuth, managing editor of Hadar.

Ms Genuth and publisher Bari Weizman started the quarterly magazine last year because they felt there was a large market of smart, fashionable, business-minded Orthodox women who were in need of a good read.

Like their less religious and non-Jewish contemporaries, these women are trying to figure out how to have it all, managing careers, families, religion, and looking good while they are at it. Unlike their less religious and non-Jewish contemporaries, they are trying to do all this while living an observant life in a secular world.

Recent articles include advice on how to budget for yeshivah and kosher food. These run alongside harder-hitting fare like one piece on how some women find regular visits to the mikveh difficult but feel uncomfortable voicing these feelings, and another on how non-white Jewish converts often feel like outsiders. And then there are the tips on how to make the latest trends work for a modest dresser.

Ms Genuth says there is nothing new about Orthodox women being into fashion. “How many of us have inherited beautiful fur coats or fabulous statement jewellery from our grandmothers?”

But with more women earning their own money and fashion becoming more accessible with the rise of affordable high street chains, interest in it has spiked.

The women acknowledge that some might find their focus on looking good to be materialistic or shallow. Ms Genuth said: “There is so much beauty in the world, all created by Hashem, that we are meant to enjoy. Why is this, if not for aesthetic pleasure?”

Last updated: 6:45am, April 25 2014