Two Orthodox sisters living in Brooklyn want to break the stigma associated with dressing modestly. Australian transplants Simi Polonsky and Chaya Chanin are the creators of a fashion label, The Frock NYC, which adheres to the dress code required in the Orthodox Jewish community but does so with a fashionable flair.
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Orthodox and Hasidic women — who are required wear skirts or dresses and must cover their knees, shoulders, neckline and other areas of their bodies deemed “immodest” — can now do so while expressing their personal style.
Two Orthodox sisters living in Brooklyn want to break the stigma associated with dressing modestly.
Australian transplants Simi Polonsky and Chaya Chanin are the creators of fashion label The Frock NYC, which adheres to the strict dress code required in the Orthodox Jewish community — but does so with a fashionable flair.
Orthodox and Hasidic women must cover their knees, shoulders, neckline and other areas of their bodies deemed “immodest.”
“To the average person, the stereotype of an Orthodox Jewish woman and many modest-dressing women is that they’re dowdy, unattractive and frumpy,” Polonsky told The Post.
As a teen, Polonsky struggled to adhere to the dress code, prompting her to work on creative ways to cover up without crimping her personal style and forming the basis for her eventual fashion line.
“It was so uncool to dress modest. I didn’t want to be uncool, so how can we coolify being modest,” the designer told The Post.
Shternie Mangami and Zelda Volkov count themselves as big fans of the brand and praise it for making shopping easier.
“It was always hard for me to find cute clothing because of our modest restrictions, and I find that that’s what attracts everyone to them — that they’re so fun and hip and exciting,” Volkov told The Post.
While The Frock’s designs are considered demure by many standards, critics of the label argue any push towards modernity is controversial and hurts the community.
“I can’t believe that this woman in this community or these women are wearing this and promoting this, and what’s gonna happen to our children. If our daughters see this, what’s the next thing?” Chanin said of the reaction she has received from some of her peers.
Rabbi Simon Jacobson explained, “It’s a real raw-nerve type of topic. It touches the buttons.”
Controversy aside, the label has cultivated a following. The owners, who founded the business in 2010, said they started out small by dressing women in their Jewish community but now have customers all over the globe.
The designers see no conflict between their traditional dress code and free expression.
“We live in America, the country that is governed by probably the most laws that you can, and we’re known as the land of the free. So to us, having guidelines and boundaries doesn’t take away our freedom,” Polonsky told The Post.
Jacobson said even though the fashion label is controversial, he believes it is ultimately positive for the Jewish community.
“I love the idea that people are attempting to bridge the two worlds. To show that traditional Judaism is very much with the times, can be very cool, can be very hip, can be very fashionable and beautiful,” Jacobson told The Post.
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I'm not Jewish but I love to dress in long skirts and not too much cleavage.. so I'm really happy to see this kind of fashion uprising! Hope it will spread also outside the Jewish community. Because normal fashion tends to go for more and more skin these days...
Ok, when you know only one way of life from the time you are born, that is not freedom. Freedoms are having multiple choices and being knowledgeable about the different aspects of life. Different lanes of the highway , not a one lane highway
The Ashkenazi Jews have to be mixed with Christian European blood because they originated originally in the Middle East and don't have darl features at all like the Sephardic Jews from the Middle East. Did the Christians marry into Judaism and convert or...?
I'm Ashkenazi, Mormon by religion,we have strict modest beliefs. I love the clothes,where can I buy them?:) I'm a professional stand in and actress, Sheila Epstein Hunter (IMDb) I'm born in Long Beach LI thank you 😊
Modesty doesn't mean ugly nor does fashionable mean naked, exposed etc. You can be modest and feel beautiful for ones self.
Again if men look and stair and become attracted then the problem is the men not the women's clothes.
Still Hasidic men with the fur hats, coats, etc looks so much cooler than the frumpy orthodox women with the bad wigs.. If they’d skip the wigs and go for cool turbans and headscarf’s it would make them so much better looking
I do understand where you're coming from, though, according to the video it "stimulates a man", that's not really how I think of it... But I understand your point, and I'm just saying that's not the reason I dress a certain way.
No, I don't see that way, and neither do any of the women I know. I'm not forced, it's something I choose to do (my family isn't actually Orthodox, though we are Jewish, I'm the one that chose to become more religious, I like it and I'm happy with my choice).
first of all those sister are definitely no orthodox in any way. second i ask as an orthodox woman who loves to dress in colorful cloths, what's wrong with the boundaries the Torah told us how to dress, you can dress in lots of stile without showing a knee or an elbow. i think that for those sisters are going down and out of the orthodox or being religious at all, and just making excuses for wanting to be like the rest of the street
Shalom aleichem my friend i just wanted to say that for those who are not experts or inside the jewish community they might classified orthodox as a sort of umbrela term for orthdox/hasidic/conservative judaism, i agree that this girls might probably not be hassidic but they certainly can fit in other orthodoxies. Just saying