My Trip to Palestine

Posted on July 10 2015

 My Trip to Palestine

         

Travelling to Palestine as part of my MBA course last month I wanted to see if it was possible to find some traditional handicraftspeople who could make some product for Lowie.  Considering that Lowie has a history of hand-knitting and embroidery, it seems like the ideal place to do some business, utilise those fabulous traditions and encourage business development in Palestine.  What I found was a troubled country where it’s difficult to run a business because of all the restrictions Israel puts on the free movement of goods and people.

 A little bit of research led me to the last remaining traditional Kufiyeh scarf factory situated in Hebron, a tense, divided, ancient city where emotions between Israeli settlers and Palestinians still run hot. Although Kufiyehs are still worn, cheap Chinese imports, often synthetic and lacking the texture and substance of the originals have inundated the local market.  I’m proud to have bought a few from the Hirbawi factory for the Lowie shop in less traditional fashion patterns and colours – come in and take a look.

I also met with Nadya Hazbunova, a half Polish, half Palestinian fashion designer living in Bethlehem.  She talked about her experiences of having to fly to Europe - a privilege most Palestinians don’t have as they aren’t allowed to leave the country - to buy quality fabrics to make her clothing designs.  In 2012 Nadya launched her hand-crafted olive wood jewellery line, using both traditional techniques and laser cutting to create modern wearable pieces.  Inspired by the Palestinian reality, the jewellery graphically uses Arabic calligraphy in subtle phrases such as ‘I’m Free’, ‘What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger’ and ‘I will dream’.

Check out Nadya’s cool jewellery online and in our Herne Hill store.

 

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