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Mizrahim masculine fashion as the expression of political confrontation in Israel in the 1970s

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This article explores how and why, in the 1970s, Israeli Mizrahi men – Jews from Arab countries – used fashion (among other tools) to both rebel against Ashkenazim hegemony and reconnect with their own roots. This article first shows how, during Israel’s pre-state era, many Jewish Ashkenazim pioneers wore a very simple outfit that was associated with socialist political ideology and became the male Israeli national dress code before and after Israel’s establishment in 1948. Not all Israelis identified with it, though: in the 1970s, second-generation male Mizrahim rebelled against the ethnic and racial discrimination they suffered from Ashkenazim, and used fashion alongside other means to express their opposition. By doing so, Mizrahim paved the way for contemporary male Israeli fashion. This article clarifies how this fashion change occurred, and how it converged with political upheaval. It also discloses the links with Mizrahim Arabic heritage concerning body care.
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Keywords: Arabic heritage; Ashkenazim; Mizrahim; ethnic discrimination; fashion; ideology; rebellion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Zefat Academic College and Bezalel, Art & Design Academy, Israel 2: Ben Gurion University, Israel

Publication date: October 1, 2019

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  • The International Journal of Fashion Studies is a scientific peer-reviewed journal that fosters the worldwide diffusion of Fashion Studies. Fashion Studies is an interdisciplinary field of research that has been producing an extensive repertoire of theories, analyses and enquiries.
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