Yakira Bella, a collection of contemporary fashion for women, has opened at 1377 Queen Anne Road in Teaneck. Designed and owned by Emily Gerszberg, Yakira Bella has been online since May; this is the second brick and mortar location after Cedarhurst.
The key pieces in the collection are designed to work together. Gerszberg, who has a background in men’s clothing, used her knowledge of men’s knitwear to create clothes that are comfy and casual, with her trademark drawstring cords, raw edges and natural feel. She looked at trends in the market that would make sense for a tznius lifestyle. “Our camouflage skirt put us on the map,” she said, “It really defines what we went after—being fashion forward and comfortable in tznius clothing.”
Versatility is another hallmark of the collection. “There are three ways to style every piece in here,” she noted, demonstrating how a collar accessory can be placed into a sweater for a whole new look. Florals are also big this year and Yakira Bella has several floral skirts and dresses.
Gerszberg named her brand Yakira Bella, which means precious and beautiful, after her stepdaughter. “It’s so appropriate. These pieces are precious,” she said. “Sometimes your favorite pieces are not necessarily the most expensive, but the ones that are reliable, pretty and make you feel good.”
Gerszberg said the idea for Yakira Bella began on a camping trip with friends, when the women talked about the limited options for everyday, comfortable, contemporary, tzniut clothing. She was looking for a new challenge, after she and her husband left the 2,400-employee, global menswear brand they had created. “I had been thinking about going into something else, like interior design,” said Gerszberg, “but I thought that this could be an opportunity I could fill.” Although she hadn’t designed women’s clothing, she had her own sense of style to guide her, and still had relationships with suppliers of fabrics and factories where clothing was produced. “I didn’t think I wanted to get back into fashion since it is so big and broad,” she said. “But this is a specific market, very focused and clear.” Gerszberg began designing last October. The first pieces were produced in November and December. Yakira Bella began selling online in May.
Formerly from Highland Park, Gerszberg lives in Englewood and is getting to know what the women in this area want. Having a store brings her closer to her customers. “I like feedback on the spot, to dialogue with the customer,” she said. “ A store also gives you the ability to build an environment that reflects your brand. It’s harder to tell that story online.”
Events are planned for the store, including a runway show for the spring line, which is in production now for an end-of-December debut—Gerszberg wanted to have spring dresses ready for winter break. And while she continues to sell online, she’s hoping to add more stores. “Brick and mortar is here to stay,” she said.
The response during her first few weeks in Teaneck has been an onslaught of grateful customers. “We had an incredible launch,” Gerszberg said. “Customers made comments like, ‘We really needed something like this here.’” Yakira Bella is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m to 6:00 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sunday by appointment to try clothes on with purchases completed on weekdays. Visit www.yakirabella.com and follow on Instagram @yakirabellaofficial.
By Bracha Schwartz