Making travel plans with someone on the other side of the world whom I just got to know a few weeks ago over the internet.
Palestinian embroidery… yet another stolen folk art
Many Arab ladies expressed their discontent via social media when the J.crew embroidered pumpscame out a couple of months ago flourished with Palestinian embroidery but without any reference to that particular cultural heritage. The shopping website mentioned in the description of the item that it’s made in Italy.
Now that would make a lot of us who are familiar with Palestinian embroidery upset that our heritage is used and produced by commercial fashion brands without any credit unlike the case with the Aztec patterns that were all over the internet last year.
A couple of weeks ago I was checking what’s on sale on Anthropologie and I was furious that such a fashion and lifestyle brand that emphasizes on authenticity and craftsmanship as their moto sells this pair of sneakers made by some Israeli designers using Palestinian embroidery patterns. The item is described on the website as follows:
Israel-based designers Kim Ben Shimon and Zoar “Zozi” Asher quickly bonded and, then, made each other friendship bracelets. That simple project grew into more complicated designs, and a short time later, their jewelry collection. Now, Kim & Zozi have added effortlessly chic woven and patterned sneakers to their roster. We love this stitched canvas pair with everything from distressed denim to laidback dresses.
Now on the two designers’ website it says that ‘KIM & ZOZI is a Los Angeles, California based fashion collaboration between designers, Kim Ben Shimon and Zoar “Zozi” Asher’ without any reference to Israel. The exact same item is also sold on UrbanOutfitters. And if you check where their items are available all over the world you’ll be shocked to see Philosophi in Jordan, Bloomingdale Dubai in UAE, Muriel A in Lebanon, and Remza in Bahrain are on the list.
To my curiosity, I decided to search for what else is embroidered on Anthropologie.com and found a couple of items as part of a collection called Tiny by designer Karyn Craven who founded a fashion brand named Burning Torch which is a privately held company based in Los Angeles. Looking at these couple of items, without any expert’s feedback, you can easily see that the embroidery used is similar to the Palestinian embroidery patterns we’re all familiar with. And it made me wonder what if it was yet another case of an Israeli designer/artist who produces designs made in Israel using “stolen folk art” but based somewhere else in the world like LA in this case. As a customer it’s my right to know where every item is made and not just mention to me in the details of the product that it’s ‘imported‘ .
I just don’t understand how big brands like Anthropologie and Urbanoutfitters are in a way supporting products with stolen designs, stolen heritage and stolen identity. I am aware that embroidery is part of many cultures and folklore and that the colors and patterns from one culture might be echoed in another one. But if you simply google ‘Palestinian embroidery’ you can easily spot the similarity between the products I mentioned above and the image results you’ll get. The cross-stitch motifs (whether natural like palm leaves, ears of corn and cypress trees or religious like the Holy Star and Cross of Jerusalem), the use of black or white fabric, or the deep red colored thread used, all are but some of the characteristics of the Palestinian embroidery.
This crime has been going on since Palestine was occupied and it’s the sickest game that Zionists are playing. Stealing traditions, culture, food, folklore, art, and even music. This article raises a very important issue here..
Palestine gained membership of UNESCO in 2011 but its representatives have not yet made best use of this new status due in part to pressure by Israel and the United States…
The main provisions of the 2012 draft law on tangible cultural heritage include the principle of public ownership of cultural heritage, a ban on the sale or transfer of such properties, and a mechanism enabling the local authorities to reclaim cultural properties illegally removed from occupied territory. The draft law itself obliges the state to seek ratification of international conventions aimed at protecting cultural heritage. However, the capacity and resources for the management and preservation of sites in Palestine remain limited, resulting in a backlog in documentation and preservation. The draft law seeks to address this state of affairs by establishing an independent Authority to preserve, protect and develop cultural heritage in Palestine.
The 2012 draft law concerning intangible cultural heritage, which includes Palestinian folk dance, embroidery, and hikaye (a narrative expression practiced by women), among others, addresses the measures for safeguarding such heritage and defines the criminal offenses that can be perpetrated against it.
As much as we make efforts to boycott Israeli products and brands, it’s our duty to fight this crime, raise awareness about it, and find solutions to protect our heritage from being stolen even more.
One of the innovative examples that I found recently through The Electronic Intifada is Ibra wa Khayt, a fashion brand based in Ramallah by a group of creative Palestinian ladies who revive old traditional dresses that tell the story of occupation, dispossession, and the Palestinian Diaspora, in a modern, fashionable and totally wearable piece.
I really hope this post opens the eyes of many young Arab ladies to do some research before buying any item online, check where the item is made if you’re buying in-store, buy fair-trade, support impoverished communities (Nisolo and Oliberté are very good examples) and prevent our folk art and heritage from being stolen in any possible way.
i find it really angering that abusive friendships aren’t addressed as much as abusive relationships. they’re both very much alike, horrible, and do a great deal of damage. its hard to talk to someone about leaving an abusive friend and feel like you’re being taken seriously
Inspired by every student whose told they can’t be an artist because it doesn’t “make enough money”.
People from middle and upper middle class can say these things and get away. People who don’t know what starting capital is can say these things. People who literally don’t know what its like to have nothing or to live in poverty can say these things.
You can’t follow your dreams without some start up cash from somewhere. And most people don’t have that. Like if money was no object and people could just ~live their dreams~ then why are there children starving in 1st world nations
It’s the social economic version of “just stop being depressed”
Actually reblogging again to add commentary:
"All you need is a house and food and a laptop".
And internet for the laptop. And electricity. And plumbing. And heat. And possibly has for your car. Oh and tabs and emissions if you have a car. Travel if you live away from family/friends or have a job that requires it but doesn’t pay for it.
And, hm, what else?
Medications. Doctor appointments. Replacement for things like canes and wheelchairs if they break and your insurance doesn’t cover it (oh, and if you’re self employed, you have to pay for insurance, too).
Not only is this super classist, it’s ableist as fuck.
It means well, and it’s good to dream, but…yeah.
Flat, bills-only fee to live in my apartment, buy food, and pay my various and sundry bills, the worst of which is a $100 a month credit card payment? $1700.
Total amount I’ve made writing creatively over the last four years since I decided I needed to go for it? Approximately $200.
Shut up about this shit. Just, shut up about it. People don’t work shitty jobs because they’re too afraid to do what they love. People work shitty jobs because STUFF COSTS MONEY.
And people who want to do what they love generally want to do creative things WHICH RARELY PAYS OUT IN LOTS OF MONEY.
I have friends who work 100+ hours a week to do what they love (making comics) and also work day jobs to pay the bills and help them make more comics. It’s fucking exhausting just watching them some nights. They are doing what they love, and they’re willing to put in the time, and the thing is, if you want to do what you love, you have to PUT IN THE FUCKING TIME. And that may mean not sleeping a lot. That may mean taking shit jobs.
You can do what you love. You should do what you love. But don’t fucking idealize it as the solution to your problems. It is, in some ways, your big problem, and it’s the fact that you love it that makes it worthwhile to pursue.
Another problem with this form of thinking is that it severely devalues the people who work “dirty jobs” that no one wants to do. No one goes out into life and passionately wants to be a janitor or a waitress or an administrative assistant. And yet there are hundreds of thousands of people working these kinds of jobs.
They are not lesser because they chose to work a job that they’d dreamed about since childhood. They are not stupid because they didn’t “follow their passions”. You do not get to judge them and find them wanting for choosing to pay their mortgage and fund their kids’ education.
Sure, sometimes people find a career that is intensely fulfilling and also pays well! But just as many people work a job that they don’t particularly love, and then use that job to fund hobbies outside of that. And they too live truly joyful lives.
Thank god for you all, I saw this comic on my dash with no commentary on it last week and almost vomited.
Must be nice to not have to give a shit about money because mommy and daddy let you fall back on them. Excuse me while I fret over how I’m going to try to find an entry level position in WHAT I LOVE TO DO when I can’t afford to do anything this comic says, or get an internship, or work for fucking free.
Reblogging for commentary.
Isn’t it interesting that when people say they are pro-Israel they always mean “pro-extreme-right-wing-occupying-&-excusing-war-crimes-Israel” rather than the idea of a “pro-peaceful-non-human-rights-violating-Israel”? Isn’t it? Because I’m quite sure not everyone in Israel itself is that racist and conservative.
When you find this in your ask share five facts about yourself and then pass it on to your ten favorite followers. ♥
- As a kid, I always pretended I am an adventurer or detective and sometimes I still do.
- When I’m at a store, I have to touch everything.
- I’m very interested in other cultures.
- Material things are not so important to me; I like simplicity.
- I’m very critical which often keeps me from enjoying things.