Our Spiel


The Beginning

Hi. I’m Jordan, and yes, the photo above is a legitimate screenshot from my Hinge profile. If we’ve met before (even just once), you’re probably not surprised in the least, and therein begins the story of bubuleh...

I’ve always had a deep admiration for my history, grandparents, culture and fashion. I was always that kid who preferred spending time with his grandma over kids his age (seriously, I love Nana more than life itself), who actually enjoyed going to hebrew school, and who has worn every style under the sun - many of them ahead of current trends, while others have been truly questionable - in eager exploration of different aesthetics and patterns.

Unsurprisingly, these passions have stayed with me my whole life, and have manifested themselves in somewhat unusual ways. For example, don’t be surprised if my version of showing you that I’m romantically interested consists of going up to you in a bar, pinching your cheeks, and telling you how much of a shayna punim (beautiful face) you have. That’s just who I am. Thanks, Nana. 

Having lost two grandparents during the pandemic (one to COVID and one to cancer), my appreciation for my grandparents and our culture grew even stronger. Older generations have inspired and protected me my whole life, and I couldn’t help but feel strikingly helpless to protect them. 

Realistically I know that I can’t always protect them, or our culture and language that have been deeply vulnerable before COVID and even more so after, but I realized that what I could do is celebrate them, and shine a spotlight on those who are often overlooked.

A photo of bubuleh founder Jordan Star in a white sweater and jeans, hugging his grandmother, also in white.

 

Why the name?

Before the Holocaust, there were about 13 Million Yiddish speakers in the world, and now that number is in the thousands. Despite this and further centuries of persecution, Yiddish survived, and it evolved into something beautiful, humorous and eccentric. It’s a language of resilience and so much more.

Roughly translated from Yiddish, bubuleh means sweetheart, which many older Jews say to their children and grandchildren as a term of endearment. It's a word full of warmth; characterizing those nostalgic moments that have given our lives the most meaning and joy. 

We hope to echo this sentiment of warmth and resilience through our clothing, because we could all use a little more of both right now. Even if that just means throwing on a cute shirt that you might have splurged on just a bit (don’t worry - it’s worth it). Though Yiddish is a niche language that is part of a niche culture, we know that the sentiment it evokes and captures is universal, which is why our clothing is for everyone - Jewish or not.

 

What does this have to do with sustainable clothing? 

We are attempting something which has never been done by creating a clothing line inspired by both the spirit of Yiddish and many generations of Jewish families and culture, but for anyone who:

loves a killer outfit with meaning behind it.
is unapologetically proud of who they are and where they come from.
cares about the environment.
knows that grandparents are the original trendsetters.

Put another way, if you blend your grandma’s comfortable looks with our founder’s loud, eclectic sense of style and passion for sustainability, you get bubuleh.

To accomplish all of this, we’ve delved into centuries of family photos, historical newspapers, and patterns from grandparents, great grandparents, and so on. We’re exploring history in order to preserve it, prolong it, interpret it, and translate it in new, fashion-forward ways that minimize harm to the environment.

And we're just getting started.