We’re a sustainable, genderless clothing brand that exists at the intersection of the community and the individual. We celebrate collective values, ancestries and cultures, while simultaneously celebrating our unique, individual selves - both holding enormous importance in our lives.
In that sense, bubuleh is about escape and belonging all at once. We’re the halfway point between that feeling of warmth and security that comes with being around close friends and family in your comfort zone, and that risk and excitement that comes when you step out of that comfort zone. In your safe moments, in your risky moments, we’re right here with you.
bubuleh is about embracing these dichotomies and celebrating everyday moments and feelings that show who we are, like…
• Knowing your Grandma is going to freak out when she sees your new nose piercing, but knowing it won’t matter in a few months because she loves you however you look.
• Having a nice dinner at your Grandparents, and immediately going to a Grindr or Tinder hookup afterwards.
• That feeling of angst and excitement when you buy a cute new shirt and don’t know if people will like it or not, and wearing it out anyways.
• Respecting your friends and family’s thoughts on an important life decision, and also trusting your own.
• Getting a nose job on Yom Kippur, but still fasting.
• Spending a weekend in pajamas on the couch with your friends, alternating between horror and Disney movies.
bubuleh is where these experiences, feelings and differences meet, and where you can express them through clothing.
HOW WE STARTED
bubuleh was founded in December 2020 by Jordan Star. Star, with a brand self-professed as a “nice Jewish boy meets old Jewish grandma,” always had a deep admiration for his history, grandparents, Jewish heritage and fashion.
He was often that kid growing up who preferred spending time with his grandma over kids his age and who actually enjoyed going to Hebrew school. And, although he had this sweet, community-centered side to him, he also pushed boundaries within his own community (piercings, tattoos, etc.), explored edges, new trends, new ideas and new practices - especially as an LGBTQ Jew.
In other words, he embraced dichotomies between old vs. new, young vs. old, traditional vs. progressive, Jewish vs. secular, and more. And he did this in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
For example, don’t be surprised if Star’s version of showing you that he’s romantically interested consists of going up to you in a gay bar, pinching your cheeks, and telling you how much of a shayna punim (beautiful face) you have.
Having lost two grandparents during the COVID-19 pandemic (one to COVID and one to cancer), his appreciation for his grandparents and culture grew even stronger. Older generations have inspired and protected him his whole life, and he couldn’t help but feel strikingly helpless to protect them.
Realistically he knew that he can’t always protect them, or the Jewish culture and language that have been deeply vulnerable before COVID and even more so after, but he realized that what he could do was celebrate them.
So, he decided to create a clothing brand that celebrates his family and different aspects of his heritage and culture, in a way that puts them into conversation with newer ideas, trends and practices in order to make fashionable and purpose-driven clothing that everyone can enjoy.
To accomplish all of this, we’ve delved into centuries of family photos, historical newspapers, 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.
WHY THE NAME?
Roughly translated from Yiddish - a language traditionally spoken by Ashkenazi Jews - bubuleh means sweetheart. It’s a term 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.
Before the Holocaust, there were about 13 Million Yiddish speakers in the world, and now that number is in the thousands. Despite this, Yiddish survived, and it evolved into something beautiful, humorous and eccentric. It’s a language of resilience with many words and phrases that have made their way into mainstream culture, and that can be used to express very real feelings and experiences that other languages struggle to convey.
Because of all of this, we felt that bubuleh is a word that really embraces dichotomies and differences, and we hope to echo this sentiment through our clothing. We could all use it 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.
Which brings us to…
IS BUBULEH A JEWISH BRAND?
We don’t consider ourselves a Jewish brand, but rather a brand that is heavily influenced by Jewish culture and heritage that all can wear and enjoy.
We hope to use our platform to educate others about Jewish heritage, culture and Yiddish - which has been vulnerable and threatened for many years - in order to carry it on.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST...
Welcome to the bubuleh family! We’re excited to be on this journey, and even more excited to have you here along with us.
We know that it takes a village to build something great, so, always feel free to contact us with any and all thoughts, feedback, critiques or ideas. We would love to hear from you!