Take a walk through Gan Hahashmal (pronounced Gan Hachashmal) in Tel Aviv today and you’ll find that the neighborhood is practically unrecognizable compared to just a few years ago. The pockets of criminals and seedy establishments that once inhabited this region have now been replaced with high-end designer shops and cafes. Gan Hahashmal, or “the electric garden” in Hebrew, was built around the country’s first power plant and used to be a bustling area in the 1940’s. However, when the plant closed in the 1970’s, so did the community around it.
The area remained forlorn well into the 80’s and 90’s until a few young designers decided to take their chances and move out of their cramped studios into larger spaces with inexpensive rent fees, giving them the opportunity to display their creations in a more appropriate setting. Slowly but surely, this group of designers expanded and is now known as the Collective 6940, a group of entrepreneurs and designers who organize events, fashion shows, coordinate sales and anything else it takes to support the young designers in the area.
As a result of the Collective 6940’s dedication and its heavy indie-fashion following, Gan Hahashmal has been transformed from a rundown neighborhood into a fashion district similar to those in major capitols around the world in just a few short years. Now the streets are filled with shoppers going from the well-known Kisim and Delicatessen shops during the day to club-goers and partyers drinking and dancing at night. Gan Hashashmal is a must-see for fashion lovers in and outside of Tel Aviv.