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Shira Barzilay @Koketit, Tel- Aviv, “The World is My Canvas”

Shira Barzilay Tel-Aviv, Israel

Shira Barzilay, better known as Koketit, is a well known artist and globally recognized Instagram sensation with over 290K followers engaging with her daily illustrations. A life-long fashion lover, she has gained major notoriety from her minimalistic one-line drawings, collaborating with brands like Chanel, Anthropologie, and Amazon. We were thrilled to connect with her this week to dive into her thoughts on fashion; including her early role models, favorite outfit, and her current scent that is driving people a little crazy.

On Being an Artist-Entrepeneur

Hi, name is Shira Barzilay, but I’m best known by my brand’s name, “KOKETIT”, which means “flirty”. I’m an artist, and I have an art business which I built by myself and maintain happily from my apartment in Tel-Aviv which also serves as my studio and office. 

I love creating art and feel lucky to do it for a living. I feature my art daily on my IG page and it’s a kind of practice that’s an integral part of my life. It has brought immense value to my artistic career and I attribute a lot of my success to this platform. I sell my art on my website and collaborate with different brands on fun commercial projects. The world is my canvas. 

I grew up in South Africa, Israel and the United States. Every country is so different, and it took some acclimating on my part. Growing up in South Africa in the eighties – I went to a private Jewish school and everything was very formal. I had to wear a uniform with a tie and socks and everything in between. Israel however, is the most casual country there is. People attend weddings in jeans. It can be quite ridiculous. This is a result of a very not fussy mentality and a hot climate. 

On Living Tel-Aviv

I live in Tel Aviv and been living here for the last 14 years.
It’s an incredible city that is full of familiar and lovable spots. My favorite way to relax is hitting the beach – whether it be for a swim in summer, or a sporty walk on the boardwalk. There is a special spot on the rocks I go to think and breath the salty air. It’s priceless.

Another favorite spot is a restaurant called Cicchetti – it’s owned by a good friend and is near my home. We spend a lot of evenings there, drinking wine with friends. Tel-Aviv is filled with beautiful streets, avenues, old and new architecture mixed together. It’s an exciting and energetic city, and even now during COVID – the young are taking to the streets, sitting on traffic islands having picnics. 

On Finding Her Way

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I admired Versace after receiving  a big book of his collections and drawings. I instantly fell in love. I began drawing fashion sketches, and it grew into such a huge interest that I decided to get a degree in fashion design. I was very young when I began college – at 17. In Israel, you only begin college at age 21 after serving in the army. I didn’t really know what to expect. My love for fashion came from a very artistic place. After I graduated and began working in the industry, I quickly concluded that my passion isn’t making clothes in the conventional sense. 
So I began a path that led me to become a fashion illustrator and that’s where my approach originated from. I had spent a year in Los Angeles, where I was exposed to new mediums of art and fashion, and it opened up my mind allowing me to realize that there are so many ways of creating. 

On Putting Art First

I love fashion so much but at the same time, my emphasis will always be on my art, rather than on my clothes. I look to feel casually sophisticated with a splash of sexy. I’m not a sucker for trends and tend to do my own thing most of the  time. I always looked up to my older sister as a child. Still today she has a sharp eye for second hand and vintage pieces. I was taught to appreciate unique pieces that are “steals” and rare finds. I ‘ve never had a fascination with brand names. I much more appreciate personal style that feels authentic to the person, without any regard to the designer names. My mom instilled this notion of thrift shopping for one of a kind pieces. 

On the Power of a Good Pair of Jeans

My style is eclectic. I am the most comfortable when I am dressed casually with a good denim jacket, and a well-fitting pair of denim jeans. I love to mix it up with a red lip and heels to create a juxtaposition  between femininity and a tomboy look. I think it reflects who I am the best and therefore I am most comfortable
dressing in this way.

On Accessories

I keep it light with accessories. I have a dragonfly diamond necklace my mother gifted me, and a silver bracelet. I never wear rings because they feel like a g-string on my fingers – very confining, and I need my hands free for work. I have lots of shoes but tend to wear out one pair. I am creature of habit. I love hats and am always on the search for a good one. A hat or a good belt can create an entire look. I love feeling transported by an outfit – if I’m wearing a Levi denim jacket I feel like I automatically look approachable. What matters to me about the clothes I wear is the mood they create.

On Beauty Inspiration

These days my emphasis is less on clothes and more on beauty. I take good care of my face and hair and love putting makeup on. If I have to get ready fast I’ll always put some concealer under my eyes and splash on either mascara or eye brow pencil. It livens up the face and that way I don’t look like someone rolled me out of bed. 
I used to watch a lot of VOGUE makeup tutorials and learned a lot from them– but also from watching Rupaul’s Drag Race. Their emphasis on makeup (though completely over the top) helped me realize how metamorphic makeup can really be. 

In terms of scent I like to switch it around but now I’m using Obsession by Calvin Klein, and its been known to drive people crazy around me, so I think I’m going to hold on to it a little longer. 

I’m not so big on trends and usually just do my own thing. However I love seeing how trends are born – and the whole sweatpants-and-top over all look is just so fitting to these times where we rarely leave our homes anymore. It’s all about comfort, and I for one think it’s wonderful. 

I just did a big collab with Swedish brand –“NA-KD” and I discovered an amazing brand that creates incredible, affordable clothes. I have so many pieces by them in my closet right now and I’m so happy about that. In terms of designers – I’m a huge fan or Mara Hoffman’s craftsmanship. I have created some capsule collections with some other brands that I love, including SUNCOO PARIS, POSSESSION LAB and ENCRE CLOTHING

On Being #countertrendfashion

I can’t stand opening my IG and seeing everyone dressed exactly the same. I wish people would find their own personal style that isn’t copied from anybody else. We get inspired by people all the time, but I feel it’s important to filter that inspiration with a personal examination of what’s  right for us specifically, and translate that into our own unique expression. I feel like we are lacking that a bit nowadays and would love to see more of that. I really appreciate the personal style of artist Miranda Makaroff. She has a style that is clearly hers and so unique. She is a huge inspiration.

Thank you Shira! Your personal style is so impactful and inspiring, just like your art! You can see more of Koketit’s art on her website, where there is a vast collection including collaborations for fashion, art prints, and even metal wall hangings in her signature minimalist style.

If you missed them, be sure to check out our Fashion Around the World series featuring Brisbane, Barcelona, Los Angeles, and London, with more to come. Don’t forget to subscribe for updates and follow us on IG! Until next time. Xo

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