September 16, 2011
Inside the waiting area of Gypsy05’s solar-powered plant in downtown L.A., walls are decorated with brightly colored dresses and T-shirts alongside decorative hamsas, fashion magazine clippings, a “blessing of the business” in Hebrew, a picture of the Rebbe and certificates of recognition from American Solar Energy Solutions.
The display reflects Gypsy05’s values: Israeli entrepreneurship, Jewish idealism, environmental awareness, American and Israeli patriotism, and a love of comfort and glamour.
Gypsy05 grew out of sabra Dotan Shoham’s dye company, Pacific Blue, which he founded not long after coming to the United States 16 years ago with just a few hundred dollars in his pocket. Starting out in the garment business, he used his knack for chemistry to experiment with dying techniques that were considerably more eco-friendly than traditional techniques.
“I care about the environment,” Dotan said. “Maybe it’s important for me because I surf, and I go to the ocean a lot, and I see what goes back into the ocean, so it’s important for me to be careful.”
His sister, Osi, joined Dotan’s dye house in 2002 with an MBA under her belt and a pent-up love for fashion. Together, they created Gypsy05 in 2005. Today, the brand, whose colorful, airy cotton and silk dresses and T-shirts evoke a connection to earth and water, have been worn by starlets Zoe Saldana, Ashley Tisdale, Nicky Hilton, Nikki Reed and others. Gypsy05 billboards appear on L.A.’s trendiest boulevards.
“It was always my true passion because I was always enamored with fashion,” Osi said. “But we were Jewish kids so we were always encouraged to do something practical.”
Their Jewish upbringing inspires the company’s social awareness. Still very much connected to their homeland, the siblings are supporters of the Israeli Leadership Council and the Israel Film Festival.
“The more we’ll grow and achieve and be successful,” Dotan said, “the more we’ll be able to contribute to our surroundings.”