Birds of a Feather Flock Together: Orthodox Jewish Fashionista Sells Runway-Ready Looks to Hip Williamsburg Clientele

As a Hasidic Jew, women’s clothing store owner Malky Leibowitz appreciates - but cannot wear - most of the fashions she sells in Plume, her recently-opened boutique on the Williamsburg waterfront.

Brooklyn, NY, January 15, 2014 --( Like many New York women, Malky Leibowitz expresses herself through her clothes. Indeed, Malky is so passionate and dedicated to fashion that she recently opened her own boutique, named Plume, in the now trendy Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, where Malky herself was born and raised. Plume stocks on trend, European-inspired women’s clothing and accessories, all of which have been carefully curated and selected by Malky for the store. But one thing in particular sets Malky apart from other female boutique owners: Malky cannot wear most of the clothes she sells in her own store.

Malky is a Hasidic Jew. She grew up in the tight-knit orthodox Hasidic Jewish community in south Williamsburg, and observes and respects all of the traditional Hasidic Jewish customs. She covers her hair with a wig. She doesn’t drive a car, and she doesn’t read the newspaper or have access to the Internet. Most importantly, she dresses modestly, which means no pants, no mini skirts, no tanktops, no exposed skin, and no tight clothing. As a result, most of the designer-inspired clothing she sells in her own store is off-limits for her.

So why would a Hasidic Jewish woman stock a store with clothes she can’t wear? Malky explained, “I’ve always loved fashion. It’s exciting, and I love interacting with people and helping them find clothes that they love. Plume is a creative outlet for me. I can’t wear some of the clothes that I sell, but buying and showcasing the clothes, looking at the designs, the fabrics, the cuts, I enjoy all of that and that is enough for me.”

Although she does not read mainstream style publications, Malky still finds a way to stay current. “I don’t read Vogue or Internet style websites. But because I can’t drive, I walk everywhere. I live in the most stylish city in the world, and the streets of New York City are my inspiration. That is where I look when I’m thinking about what to buy for the store. In a way, I’m glad I don’t read all the magazines because I am not a slave to trends. I’d rather focus on fabrics, color, construction, and good design,” said Malky.

An even though Malky often cannot wear the clothes she sells in her store in the way they were shown on the runway, Malky herself remains incredibly fashionable. “If I love the design of a tanktop, I can layer it over a sweater or put it under a jacket or cardigan. People have to interpret fashion to match their own body type or style preferences. I just happen to have another set of rules to work with, but if you’re creative, you can make anything work,” said Malky.

Plume is located at 240 Kent Avenue (at N. 1st Street), Brooklyn, NY 11249. Plume is open Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 12pm to 6pm, and by appointment. In observance of Shabbat, Plume is closed Friday and Saturday.

For more information, please visit
Leopold Leibowitz