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Batsheva Hay found strength in dressing for herself — and now shares that through her designs

Jamé Jackson
·3-min read

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We profile the people behind the fashion industry’s must-know brands, from high-end industry leaders to breakout names. Learn about their creative process and get to know who makes the designs you love.

“For me, I mostly want my customers to feel powerful,” says an optimistic Batsheva Hay, founder and designer of the popular brand, Batsheva.

Hay says growing up, her family supported her artistic expression. Oftentimes, she was immersed in drawing, writing or putting on plays. However, Hay admits that she wanted to be a “successful professional.” As a result, she went to law school.

“Having to dress like that and act like that…I think it made me feel like I was erasing my identity,” the designer tells In The Know. A short time after, Hay quit without a plan. However, her sewing hobby soon began to manifest into something bigger, and thus, Batsheva was born.

On Batsheva Hay’s personal identity:

The designer admits that, especially while growing up, there were aspects of her identity that made her feel less than confident. Ironically, her name (also the name of her clothing brand) was one of them.”My name felt embarrassing to me when I was a child,” she reveals to In The Know.

“To be honest, it partially felt embarrassing because it was an ethnic name. […] I was embarrassed to be like, ‘It’s a Jewish name, you know?’ Now, I really do love it. It takes a lot of bravery to show up in my name every day. I’m living in it comfortably.”

The birth of Batsheva:

Based on “feminine adventure,” Batsheva is led by eccentric styles and fabrics through a modest, modern approach. It encourages women to live the best versions of themselves simply by living unapologetically and confidently in their skin.

Regardless of the design aspect, the brand still stands out from competitors because it offers something few high-profile brands do: a woman designing clothes for women. “I think it’s special when there’s a woman designing clothes for other women,” she says.

On dressing Ella Emhoff:

Amazingly enough, the brand already has a roster of high-profile admirers under its belt. The world saw the brand on January 20, 2021, when a young and fashionable Ella Emhoff — Vice President Kamala Harris’s 21-year-old stepdaughter — wore a custom design to Inauguration Day. “Something that’s really important for me, especially with people I wear, is: I want to be able to see them as an artist and as a designer and work with people who I really respect,” Emhoff told Vogue in January.

Continuing, she said, “I love New York for its fashion community, especially the parts that are created through Instagram, so working with a designer from that scene who was able to create something formal was perfect.”

On legacy and what’s next:

However, the designer has no plans of slowing down. She’s on a mission to empower women one dress at a time. “Honestly, being yourself, even if you’re a huge nerd like me, or whatever it is, it’s the best version of yourself. Just to be comfortable with yourself, that always looks good on someone,” Hay tells In The Know.

Shop some of Hay’s clothes below and follow the brand on Instagram.

Shop: Crystal-button Leopard-print Velvet Mini Dress, $470

Credit: Matches Fashion

Shop: Carol Tie-neck Cotton-poplin Blouse, $205

Credit: Matches Fashion

Shop: Floral-embroidered Midi Dress, $552

Credit: Matches Fashion

If you liked this story, you might also enjoy Yo Soy Afro Latina is on a mission to empower Black Latinas.

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