Updated: Sep 23
The story of Isabel Reis and her daughter Anastasia: about the connection between times, environmental care, aesthetics,“croche” and “salt flowers”.
Isabel Reis is an interior designer, a person with an insuppressible thirst for aesthetics in all its manifestations, from early childhood. She is the creator of several art projects that are the reflection of her personal life philosophy and views. For example, Isabel believes that any design begins with the being of a person - the self expression with the hairstyle, clothing, attitude and so on. “You are the design and all that surrounds you is a reflection and manifestation of yourself.”
Isabel is the mother of Anastasia. Last year Isabel and Anastasia created the first collection for their joint brand Undina Wear. “Undina” (known to be a mermaid in the european folklore and in Latin meaning “from the waves”) is a story about two generations, the brand of mother and daughter, in which modern times and old times are interwoven, Tel Aviv and Old Jaffa, basic and vintage.
But let's get it in the right order.
“My aunt was born physically disabled and since I can remember her, she was knitting lace, using an old technique with a one hook needle called ‘crochet’ in French.” Crochet is a technique through which especially airy, weightless and smooth textures can be created. “Once I took my favorite and simplest shirt, made of natural linen, and added lace to it. This became the prototype of our future clothing line Undina Wear. In a surprising and unintentional way, I targeted the style of Tel Aviv youth. These young guys love simplicity and mostly wear jeans and T-shirts made of good quality and natural fabrics.”
Interestingly, in 2019, the gothic trend of integrating lace was rediscovered and reborn, this being visible on runways of designers such as Missoni, MSGM, Alexander McQueen and other top designers.
“This is when my ‘hunt for lace’ began, I started walking around flea markets and searching for crochets - napkins, tablecloths, curtains and anything else I could find. This technique became the identifying mark of our brand and the reflection of our identity, fully meeting the principles by which we are guided in our everyday life - environmental friendliness, conservation, manual production.
As an interior designer, I often use vintage elements in the design of modern apartments. Also, in my personal wardrobe, I combine today's brands with clothes and accessories from the 80s or 90s. People invested their creativity, soul and time in these items, while slowly, manually and precisely creating them. I believe that we do not have to constantly produce and buy something new, over and over again, there is so much which already exists and which can be improved and reused.”
“As mentioned before, Undina is a brand shared by my daughter and I, but in fact, the initiator was Anastasia.”
Anastasia’s story of Undina began with the extraction of exclusive marine salt in Crete. Anastasia lives in Crete seasonally and manages two tourist accommodations in the west side of the island: 1. Kritamos Holiday - Experience Southwest Crete in quiet hospitality on a hillside away from touristic areas. Discover virgin beaches, lagoons and breathtaking sights around every corner, reconnect with nature and rest your mind.
2. El 38 Rooms Chania - Boutique hostel in historic Chania city center offers nostalgic accommodation throughout the year. Prime located to the old city, center and the beach.
During her 2019 summer stay on the south-western part of the island she was invited to join locals in search of natural salt by the sea. While visiting Israel she brought home a small amount of the salt she had collected, crispy, crystal-like and amazingly white. This salt is known in the culinary world as fleur de sel (from the French “flower of salt”). It is collected directly from the sea near Crete from the months of May until October (unlike the mass production by giant corporations in artificial pools). Anastasia collects the salt by hand, the way it used to be collected, then dries it in the sun and places it in jars made of the real onyx. After all, this salt is a unique mineral containing useful trace elements essential for our life.
Fleur de Sel by Undina is sold in health food stores as well as online.
“The large flakes of salt reminded me of my beloved ‘crochet’, so my daughter and I decided to unite in creating the image of a kind of modern mermaid - the heroine of our days with her natural beauty, connected to Mother Earth, nutritioned by her fruit and awareness, acceptancing the cycles of nature and dressed in her own style, without chasing after fashion,
carrying lightness and energy.
The first collection of 50 T-shirts was quickly scattered among friends. Starting from the second collection, we manually added inspirational inscriptions - delicate and neat, in the style of tattoos, not only on skin, but on clothes, our ‘second skin’. I chose my first favorite phrases from books, films and popular songs, and now it is constantly replenished with phrases from life offered by friends and clients."
Today the Undina Wear line offers several types of shirts made of cotton or linen, and available in two colors, white and black, both for women and men.
“We pamper our female clients with light white dresses which are perfect for day and night, any joyous event and even dresses for the modern bride asking for a light, informal and non-expensive wedding dress.”
"Lately we are taking more onto the direction of upcycled fashion by using dead stocks. Often we reuse high quality items saved in good shape from our own collection gathered over the years".
The joint activities of Anastasia and Isabel are based on caring for human health, contact with nature and awareness of the unity of all creatures in this world.
“We buy already made wear that is out in the market and give it our own touch, making each piece an unique personal item. We call it UpCycling. We do not support the fashion industry as it is, massively producing too much of what nobody needs.
We believe that change comes from the people, and so we hope for all mankind to heal from the mass purchase need and ‘more means better’ lifestyle towards high quality and meaningful experiences.
Photo: Alina Voronyuk, Liya Geldman
Fabrics: 100% Linen and Cotton.
Where to buy:
Natalie Walker - Beit Eshel 11 JAFFA-TLV
Eclectic by sari - Elkalai St 5, Tel Aviv-Yafo
Undina on Instagram:
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