Believe it or not, today's Israelis love to dress up. Even a passing acquaintance with the country's principal cities reveals that Israel's pioneering days, when a T-shirt, faded shorts and sandals were appropriate to almost any occasion, are coming to a close. Style has become an integral part of life, and Israel's fashion designers and manufacturers are leading the way. For children's fashion, sportswear, leisure wear, leather, lingerie, swimwear, shoes, tailored suits and haute couture, Israeli designs are attracting attention in shops and on catwalks across the world.

Beachwear and swimwear were the first Israeli products to make international waves. Ever since lastex fabric was imported into the country in 1949, Israeli bathing suits have conquered the swimwear industry. Today, Israeli designers present the global fashion community with dramatic trend-setting collections every year, employing bold combinations of colours and ranging in style from the voluptuous to the sporty, from classic elegance to wild exoticism. Israel's swimwear designers create lines for all shapes and sizes, and are among the few worldwide who produce special bathing suits for women who have undergone mastectomies.

But Israelis don't spend all of their time at the beach. The range of up-market shops and boutiques underlies the skills of Israeli designers in creating formal menswear and womenswear.

Utilizing highest quality fabrics in everything from evening gowns to leather suits, Israel's fashion flair satisfies the most conservative classic taste as well as the most outrageous fantasies. Casual garments, in a country famed for its informality, have a comfortable yet trendy feel : summer basics such as T-shirts have been transformed into stunning statement-makers inspired by the colours and imagery of the local landscape. And Israel has made a remarkable hit in what used to be considered a backwater of the footwear industry - sandals and summer shoes that are durable, attractive and extremely comfortable.

The multicultural mix of Israel's population and the inspiration this provides is backed by a cosmopolitan exposure to international trends and concerns. Moreover, Israeli fashion is not only the success story of innovative designers: it benefits from a highly skilled workforce using the most advanced technology and achieving the highest levels of quality. So as "you are what you wear" quickly becomes a way of life, it's time to cash in on Israel's eye for style.