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Nancy Klein

Hadar Satat necklace

Hadar Satat multi-strand bracelets with leather and pearls

Hadas Shaham rings featuring the concrete detailing


by Shawna Wiwierski

Tel Aviv is known as being the fashion capitol of Israel because of the city's unique mix of designers.  For those of you who can't afford to visit the city every time you need to shop, sales representative and distributor, Nancy Klein, is bringing Israel's hottest designers to our shores.

Klein, who is based out of Toronto, but is a native Winnipegger, is the Canadian distributor for Israeli designers such as Hagar Satat, Hadas Shaham, Kisim Handbags, and Smadar-Pola Azriel's line, Paula Bianco. 

Klein started her business, called NJK Sales, a few years ago because of the response she was getting from her friends on the items she would bring back from her trips to Israel.
"When I go there they have the most incredible designers and I would bring [clothing and jewelry] back and [my friends] would ask why didn't you bring me stuff back?" says Klein, who has a background in fashion from the International Academy for Design and Technology in Toronto.  She has also worked as a personal shopper for Holt Renfrew and as a stylist for television shows such as Diva on a Dime.

Klein started connecting with the designers in Israel, who can all be found at their stores, and got them on board to distribute their lines in Canada.  Currently, the brands can be found in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, South Western Ontario, and here in Winnipeg at Bejeweled Accessories on Academy Road and The Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Klein says the biggest difference in trends between Canada and Israel is the uniqueness in the designs.

"In some ways [Israel] is ahead.  They pick up from Europe and a lot of the designers are not trendy and that's what I like about them.  They have their own way of merchandising which is something I'm drawn to… They are classic and I wanted to choose designers who are unique.  I wanted stuff that is unique but also can sell.  Hagar's line isn't trendy but very fashionable and easy to wear."

Hagar Satat, who has two stores in Tel Aviv, is a jewelry line that features leather, sterling silver, 24 karat gold or silver plate.  The line features multi-strand necklaces with a handful of gold chains fashioned together by leather braiding, laser cut necklaces, bracelets that have coloured leather on the inside with a gold plate on the outside, which Britney Spears was spotted wearing, rings of all different patterns and textures, and more.  Prices range from $65-180, and can be exclusively found in Winnipeg at Bejeweled Accessories.

Another jewelry line, Hadas Shaham, has three stores in Tel Aviv and one store in Jaffa.  The line features items made of concrete and sterling silver.  The pieces resemble art, with one necklace that had a concrete block with gold detailing on it fashioned with a leather chain.  The Winnipeg Art Gallery recently picked up the line and the pieces generally range from $110-800.

Paula Bianco, which features scarves and jewelry (the jewelry, which is sold in upscale department store, Harvey Nichols in London, won't be available until the fall according to Klein), features hand dyed gauze scarves with messages inspired by Alice in Wonderland printed on them.

"In Israel in the summer time it is 45 degrees, but women still want to be fashionable.  It has very fine cotton gauze and ribbon which has been influenced by Alice in Wonderland and she puts messages on them which are wonderland-esque," says Klein.

Klein's fourth line, Kisim handbags, features very unique handbags that are brilliantly designed and well made.  One bag in particular, called the Cube, is inspired by Japanese origami and is appropriately shaped like a cube.  Sarah Jessica Parker even donned it in the Sex and the City movie.  The bags range from $150-600.

The number one thing that Klein looks for in choosing designers is the brands uniqueness and her personal judgment.

"I choose it for it's uniqueness and my idea of what will sell.  I have to love it too, as I wear most of it."

So what has the response in Canada been like?  Well, according to Klein it's been amazing, particularly in small towns.

"They are really open to all the unique designs.  Israeli designers have a name out there and if it says 'Made in Israel' they are interested in what you have."

For more information contact [email protected]

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