On display at the gallery in the Urban Outfitters building is an exhibit by Lital Gold, an Israeli textile designer who immigrated to Philadelphia in 2011.
In addition to being the site where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed, Philadelphia is well known as the nation’s first capital at various times from the Revolutionary War through 1800.
But to the surprise of many, Philadelphia also is the birthplace of the Navy.
The battleships may be gone, but nearly 250 years later, the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia has become a vibrant hub for business. It’s home to 120 companies, among them clothing manufacturer Urban Outfitters.
And on display at the gallery in the Urban Outfitters building is an exhibit by Lital Gold, an Israeli textile designer who immigrated to Philadelphia in 2011. The exhibit opened Feb. 29 and ends April 6.
Gold, 32, who grew up in Holon near Tel Aviv, spoke with the Exponent about her journey to the United States.
“I thought it was going to be temporary,” Gold said. “I didn’t think I was going to stay. I’m still adjusting; there are so many things that are different. It’s been beyond a language barrier.”
According to Gold, who grew up loving art and fashion, the way Americans talk and act is vastly different from the culture in Israel.
There she drew and painted and admired her father, Shlomi Gold, a graphic designer. After completing her military service, she studied textiles and majored in print design at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Ramat.
“I was always very inspired by the work he (her father) did,” she said.
Shortly after graduating in 2010 she started a website, while also working for a small textile company in Tel Aviv.
Out of nowhere, Free People, a subsidiary of Urban Outfitters, contacted her. Surprisingly, she wasn’t seeking employment or hadn’t even heard of Urban Outfitters, but was offered a position she could not turn down.
Gold worked there full time from 2011 to 2013 before branching out to freelance not only for Urban but for Tanya Taylor, Tory Burch, Roberta Freymann and Anthropologie, among other companies.
“The one thing that I enjoy the most is painting because I paint the design,” she explained. “That’s the thing that still makes me feel good.”
A few months ago, Urban Outfitters approached her about creating an exhibit, which she found intriguing. What she created was near and dear to her heart.
Entitled “Sabina and the Moon,” the silhouetted image tells the story of her great-grandmother Sabina Gold, who emigrated from Romania to Israel in the 1930s.
Gold knew Sabina until she was 13 and explained that the images don’t necessarily portray her, but rather her struggles to assimilate to Israeli life. Gold said her great-grandmother reminded her of the moon because they have the same “strength and shyness.”
“The whole idea of the show was to create a serious series of works that have a narrative that kind of tells the story of different cultures,” she said. “I always think about her and the way she came to Israel.
“She was a very independent strong woman. It’s sharing a private memory. It’s sharing something very personal.”
Reminiscing about the past four and a half years in America, Gold said she never envisioned herself living in the U.S. But she loves being in Philadelphia and enjoys its history, culture and vibrant Jewish community, not to mention that she met her husband, Daniel Nissenbaum.
And it’s nice to see clothes in stores that she helped design.
While she misses her friends and family, she doesn’t regret relocating.
“I knew I was going to do something either with art or design,” she said. “I’m glad it was Philadelphia and not New York.
“It makes me feel good to be part of people’s aesthetic. If they choose to wear something that I design because they like the color, like the print or like how it makes them feel, for me this is the best thing. I think it’s a privilege to be able to be a part of people’s lives.”
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