It’s the newest edition of Jews of Philly Fashion, introducing you to the Chosen few who dress our city. They might mix wool and linen, but they’ve got some strong opinions on mixing stripes with florals. In this space, we’ll talk to designers, sellers, buyers, influencers, models and more. This week, we spoke to Emunah Wircberg.
It’s hard to find the time to be Emunah Wircberg. She can barely find it herself.
Between raising three children and running the Old City Jewish Arts Center — alongside her husband, Rabbi Zalman Wircberg — the 28-year-old Kosloff Torah Academy Girls’ High School graduate and Philadelphia native needs to work hard to find the time for creative expression.
Running the OCJAC allows for opportunities of that type, given the breadth of non-visual arts programming that’s usually offered (poetry readings, cooking classes, writing classes and more). But to see Wircberg really shine, you don’t need to go to OCJAC at all.
Her tzniut-minded fashion Instagram account, The Modest Mom, has more than 20,000 followers. Wircberg, who worked in the fashion industry back when she and her husband lived in Brooklyn, is now a bona fide fashion influencer. Her project, as she explains it, is to help those who wish to dress modestly to understand that proposition as something generative and exciting, rather than restrictively drab and dull.
“I kind of wanted to show for myself how you could dress fashionably and have style while, at the same time, adhering to the guidelines of modesty, which are so important,” Wircberg said. What started as a hobby has grown into a vehicle for Wircberg to attract paid sponsors and raise money for organizations like the Center City Community Mikvah and the Philly Friendship Circle.
Wircberg spoke about her son’s avant-garde art, bringing back old trends and her favorite neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
What clothing trend would you like to see make a comeback?
Growing up in the ’90s, there are many trends coming back that bring me such joy. Fanny packs, scrunchies and slip dresses, to name a few. I’m also loving some of the ’80s trends — shoulder pads, oversized menswear. I am a minimalist when it comes to style, but love incorporating these trends into my wardrobe while adding my own modest twist.
What’s something you can’t believe you used to wear?
No regrets. Well, actually, I can’t believe I used to wear heels every day! Mom of three now, who am I kidding?
What’s your go-to quarantine meal?
Any salad, always a pick-me-up. Or a halvah milkshake.
What item of clothing should more people be wearing?
Everyone should invest in an awesome pair of kicks. Most days I can be found in my white high-top basketball sneakers. They’re trendy and, in my line of work, comfort is key.
What’s the oddest piece of art that you have in your house?
I wouldn’t say oddest, but my son Levi, 9, is an artist, and boy, do we have a house filled with his unique pieces. Running out of space here — all artwork for sale, contact for inquiries.
Best neighborhood in Philadelphia (that’s not Old City)?
This is honestly the hardest question. Rittenhouse is so classic Philadelphia. Love the rich history that comes with Old City, along with the quaint coffee shops, boutiques and galleries. Northern Liberties/Fishtown is the new hip place to be, though. I feel blessed to live back in the city that I grew up in and have all these neighborhoods so close by.
What talent would you most like to have?
Playing an instrument would be cool.