By Libby Herz
She hails from Italy, the country famous for its high-quality clothing and exquisite design. “Growing up in Italy gave me an eye for a certain beauty and elegance that you don’t necessarily see in the subways of Brooklyn,” says fashion designer Chanchy Schmukler (nee Nazrolai). “And growing up frum,” says the Italian who currently resides in Crown Heights, “I wanted to combine the worlds of tznius and fashion.” Chanchy’s desire for the fusion of both worlds led to the creation of her very own brand – Damigella, which translates to ‘bridesmaid’ in Italian. Damigella consists of an evening gown rental, plus a line of cocktail dresses and casual pieces for sale.
Chanchy’s first foray into fashion design began when she was hunting for a gown to wear to her sister’s wedding. She struggled to find something that matched her standards in both tznius and fashion. After exhausting many gemachs and bridal stores, she ultimately designed her own gown and had it custom-made in Israel.
After the wedding, a friend asked to borrow the gown. Then, Chanchy received another request. And the requests didn’t stop coming in. “I rented that gown out twenty times,” she says.
Seeing how popular the dress had become, Chanchy’s husband had a suggestion. “Why don’t you start making dresses?” he asked.
After even more requests to borrow her dress, Chanchy sketched out a design, and hired a Crown Heights seamstress. With the plans in place, the new designer began searching for the perfect fabric. “I was driving to buy fabric with my newborn in tow,” she laughs.
The effort was worth it, and Chanchi’s design was a tremendous hit. Women loved its elegant and unique style. She created a few more styles, and opened gown rental consisting of her own original formal wear pieces.
Next, the designer transferred to a Manhattan office and designed an array of tznius cocktail dresses. “The first dress was the dream l’chaim dress I never found,” Chanchy says. “That’s how I launched my first line.”
The dresses for sale were highly sought after, so Chanchy got to work designing casual pieces, as well. “It was so much work,” she recalls. “It took so much time going back and forth, making big decisions during sleepless nights, plus with kids!” But she never lost sight of her goal of creating gorgeous pieces that were completely tznius.
Creating a brand while growing a young family is not for the faint of heart. “I launched my first four pieces at the beginning of my third pregnancy,” says the young mother, “ I had two toddlers in tow and was feeling super nauseous.” She launched her second casual winter collection the day after her son’s bris. “Both collections were launched at the busiest times of my life,” she says. The experience taught her that she was capable of much more than she realized.
Still, the launch of her newest line was a challenge. “My family lives far away in Italy, but thank G-d my mother stayed extra long so we could complete all of the orders and packing.” This past month, Damigella launched seven more casual pieces plus four cocktail dresses, bringing the number of gowns she designed to a total of thirty.
And there’s always more in the works. “I have ideas to grow more, and include styles that I think are missing. I design pieces that I was always looking for and couldn’t find. Things that are cute and tznius at the same time.”
Women constantly reach out and thank Chanchy for creating stylish solutions. “A woman who contacted me on Instagram,” Chanchi says. “She was looking for something beautiful and tznius when she saw one of the Damigella dresses. She was amazed she could find something so perfect and up to her tznius standards. She appreciated the beauty and that there was no compromise on tznius. I packed an order for her daughter’s kiddush. When she thanked me, I realized how satisfying it is; I’m actually getting into people’s homes, events, and lives, and making a difference. When I get discouraged through the ups and downs in the business, I remember that this is the reason I started this. This is my main focus.”
You can find Damigella on Instagram @damigella.cs, or email: [email protected] Check out their website: www.damigellashop.com. Right now, you can get 30% OFF sale with code WINTER30
WOHOOOO GO CHANCY!!!!!
can you please make some that go to the ankles too:)
I bought some dresses from the newest collection and I love the quality.
Clothing that are beautiful and tznius, very much needed. Thank you!
Thank you for making this beautiful collection!
We need more tznius elegance!
Keep it going.
Can’t wait to see what come out next
Keep the standards high while taking style to new heights
I live on Shluchus, its always so hard to find Tznius nice and elegant dresses
I’m going to buy!