I am drawn to good, clean, minimal design. Whether it’s a coffee table from CB2 (we named him Bingham – what? he’s part of the family) or most everything thought up by Sara of Salted Ink (she’s kind of amazing), it’s the sort of design that just never gets old. And that’s exactly how I measure my own success as a self-taught graphic designer – if I’m not tired of it weeks or months later, I know I did good. This is probably why Swift Textiles caught my eye. Michal and Roni launched the fresh and modern brand just last year from their home studios in Tel Aviv, Israel and trust me – these ladies know how to make a statement.
NAMES Michal Fierstein & Roni Yeheskel
AGES 30, 28
LOCATION Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND B.Des in Textile Design at Shenkar College
COMPANY Swift Textiles
Tell me a bit about yourselves & what prompted you to start Swift Textiles. We met each other at weaving class during Textile Design studies. Not long after graduating, Michal suggested this idea of starting an independent business and it was perfect timing for both of us. We were looking for something that will help us grow and learn on one hand, and keep a free creativity on the other. Also, the textile industry in Israel is declining, unlike the quantity of talented designers here, and our goal is creating something new and different that suits the time we live in.
Is there a story behind your company name? We looked for a word that features the spirit behind the brand, something light that’s easy to drift after. There were all kinds of ideas but Swift felt right and young. Post factum, we discovered that Swift is the umbrella to spool thread on – that’s when we knew it was meant to be.
You have a unique, minimalistic aesthetic that feels very natural & relaxed. Where do you draw your inspiration? Has it changed at all since you first launched Swift? Most of our inspiration is drawn from our varied environment. Israel is a melting pot for cultures and new vs. old, and so is Swift – we combine traditional handcrafted techniques with modern, fresh design. This aesthetic is very typical for both of us. We used it in different ways before and during school, and that’s one of the things that linked us in the first place. Also, we keep updated on what is happening outside of our specific design niche, and there is no doubt that art, in all its forms, is a great influence on our work.
How does living in a bustling city like Tel Aviv influence your work & designs? Living in Tel Aviv is, without a doubt, one of the things that motivates our work. All of the suppliers and professionals we work with are right here in our area, and the city’s tempo dictates Swift’s tempo. There’s also a sense of healthy competition between the designers in the city that we need to keep track with.
Tell me about the design process. What materials do you work with? The design process usually begins with an inspirational subject, transforms by hand to motives and patterns and then minimal computer processing. Searching for the right fabric is also a great part of the process; this is where we fit the material and its features to the product and the technique, such as absorption capacity, insulating capability and of course, looks. We usually aim for natural materials, although synthetic is not a dirty word and has awesome features.
I am impressed that although both of you currently have jobs outside of Swift, you have created a truly thoughtful brand. As far as Swift goes, what does a day in the life of Michal & Roni look like? The truth is that we both work part-time, so about half of our time is on our daily jobs and the other half on Swift. We schedule Swift-time in a way that it splits between design and manufacturing, marketing and branding, photoshoot production and searching for fresh, new inspiration the rest of the time. When everything is handmade and self-produced, it’s important to pay attention to all the small details. There’s no doubt that working as a team is the right and most productive way for our brand and for each other. Of course, we do our best to mix business with pleasure to loosen up and enjoy – it’s healthy for our creativity.
When you’re not making seriously beautiful handmade items (I’m looking at you, tie dyed tote!), what are you doing? It’s very summery most of the year, so like most Israelis, we try to spend as much time as we can at the beach. Michal is doing Pilates as a physical activity and Roni does Yoga. It’s our little escape from a busy day.
As entrepreneurs, what has been the most valuable take-away since launching last year? Have some guts and never be afraid of aspiration. Sometimes, great things are much more achievable than you think, especially in our time where everything is so accessible. We have learned so much the past year, like to always keep track with what’s going on in our niche, listen to colleagues from our design field but also know what to filter in order to stay loyal to our brand and principles.
Cake or pie? Cake!
Guilty pleasure? We really want to say a siesta but..some good, fat cheese and sundried fruits.
Coffee order? Michal: strong cappuccino, Roni: cappuccino
Dream collaborator? Nani Marquina
Item you can’t leave home without? A MUJI black ink pen