Riding the WaveIn 2008, Ziv founded Style Coalition, pulling together influencers—or rather bloggers, as they were in that pre-social-media era—who had been accustomed to being lone voices in a vast Internet wilderness and showcasing them on one platform. With the rise of social media, it turned out to have been a prescient move—Style Coalition was acquired by tech and data firm Launchmetrics in 2017.
Ziv and her parents emigrated from Russia to Israel when she was 15. A dozen years later, in 2003, she packed up the same suitcase and headed to the US. “I knew I would survive,” she says. “I’d worked for an Israeli-American tech startup; I had computer, design and web design experience; and I knew what was in demand."
Throughout all these adventures, Ziv looked for the perfect dress. She knew exactly what she wanted, but it appeared that the dress did not yet exist. “I started with a list of features,” she says. “The waist had to be expandable—that one was inspired by pregnancy. It had to be water and stain and wrinkle resistant, and have a detachable hood and sleeves for chillier places. And you know, sometimes you want mini-length, other times you want maxi-length.”
The look had to be “simple and minimal, something everyone of all ages can wear. And the dress had to be comfy, not form-fitting, and timeless, not trendy," she says. After working on the design for a bit, she landed on a shape that works, and then had to find the right fabric. "I wanted to be able to sleep on a plane, she says. I tried various comfy, stretchy fabrics, but I wanted something you could wear to work or to go out.” A smart polyester fabric from Japan did the trick.
The Ultima Dress, says Ziv, is a response to disposable fast fashion that makes a statement in more ways than one. “We talk a lot these days about knowing where our food comes from, but not with clothing,” she says. “It’s become so cheap that people buy for the season and then toss things out. There’s one study that says 82 percent of clothing never even gets worn. For the sake of the planet, we need to move in a minimalist direction and cut down on the volume. And moving up here also gave me a new perspective.”
Turns out there’s plenty to do up here, including a pop-up launch event for the Ultima Dress at 44MAIN in Cold Spring the weekend of March 27-29.