When Avi Magaram ‘17 started working with Sharon Roth, the founder and designer of a local high-end women's brand called Jarbo, he never expected to design a product that would end up in stores. However, when Roth ordered a shipment leather to be used for belts, and each strip arrived as a fraction of the expected length, she enlisted Avi for help.
Roth and Avi came up with a design to solve the problem and showcase the quality leather. Avi cut and drew precise patterns to meet their design specifications. He felt a ton of pressure to be exact because his work would “determine the fate of the belts.” After producing a successful prototype, Roth aptly named it the “Avi Belt” and proceeded to make 100 more for sale in Jarbo stores.
Avi did not always dream of seeing his name on a product in clothing stores. His interest in fashion began only a year and a half ago when a friend's jacket grabbed his attention and he started to notice the fashion around him more and more. He began to research menswear further, watching movies on Yves Saint Laurent and Raf Simons that opened his eyes to designers and their philosophies. The marketing and process behind fashion houses became particularly appealing to him. Every time someone introduced him to a new concept or brand, Avi researched background from reviews on online forums.
Now Avi loves designers like Visvim, Raf Simons, Rick Owens, and other Japanese labels. To afford this luxurious clothing, he buys secondhand on Grailed or thrift shops and works as a babysitter. However, that might change with the prospect of a new job.
Avi first connected with Roth over winter break when he approached her about an internship. Roth took the time to show him the studio where she designs and creates handmade items with four other seamstresses. Jarbo has stores in Madison Park and Bellevue, along with seven other locations across the country and factories in Italy, Bulgaria, China, and Turkey.
After their meeting, Roth suggested that Avi work with her over the break. Although this meant skipping his family trip to Hawaii, Avi happily accepted the opportunity and began working five days a week. He spent the first day putting sticky tape on hangers for three hours, a real “test of my will, but I persevered,” he says. All the tedious busy work paid off, as Avi gained both a mentor and an opportunity to create a finished product.
Roth was so impressed with the outcome of Avi’s initial designs, that she had him also modify an existing bag design to his preferences. Again pleased with Avi’s patterns, Roth produced a large quantity of the bags to accompany the belts being sold across the country. “It was a really exciting to go from knowing so little to actually seeing a product I designed in stores,” Avi says. Extremely grateful for the chance to intern with Roth, Avi plans to continue his work at Jarbo in a more permanent paid position.
Avi has already thought about his future and his development in the fashion industry. He plans to take a gap year, during which he hopes to travel to Europe to attend fashion shows and get a taste for the current fashion scene abroad while still working with Roth at Jarbo. After his gap year, Avi is interested in possibly going to design school which he believes is “the best place to start in fashion to give me a better business perspective for later.”
Regardless of what path he chooses to take in the future, Avi is eager to take advantage of whatever opportunities available to pursue his current interest.