Made in Palestine: 13 online brands selling handmade products from Gaza, West Bank and beyond
From clothing to homeware and even yoga straps, here's a directory of online stores selling items directly from Palestine
As the world's eyes have been on Israel and Palestine in recent weeks, people across the globe have been looking to support Palestinians and their livelihoods.
While many have decided to donate to charity, others have looked to help local brands stay afloat amid the crisis.
There are countless Palestinian artisans in Gaza, West Bank and throughout Israel hand-making beautiful products, and dozens of stores selling those wares, with funds going directly back to their makers.
Here are 13 brands that have online stores, offering worldwide shipping:
The name of this social enterprise is an amalgamation of a colloquial Arabic term for grandmother used across the Levant, and Leila Hussein Fakhri Khalidi, the author of The Art of Palestinian Embroidery.
Taita Leila sells modern clothing inspired by the tradition of Palestinian embroidery, or tatreez, reinterpreting the techniques “in a way that would make your grandmother proud”.
The clothes are handmade in Palestine by women in the West Bank, and can be delivered anywhere in the world.
Jeel, which means generation in Arabic, is a multidisciplinary design house that specialises in old Palestinian embroidery with a 1970s aesthetic. “We preserve and repurpose so Palestine is never forgotten and passed on to generations that follow,” reads its bio on Instagram.
A team of in-house and external designers and artists create modern pieces that express history. This includes accessories, furniture and artwork.
It has offices in Dubai and Ramallah, and items can be shipped around the world from the UAE.
An intersectional feminist and political fashion collective, Nol manufactures apparel and accessories with small family-run businesses and women’s co-operatives in the West Bank and Gaza. Products range from jewellery and clothing to accessories and even handmade soap.
The online store sells pieces from a range of Palestinian brands, including clothing line Hind Hilal, jeweller Mai Zarkawi and Straps by Sarab, a line of yoga mat straps sporting traditional motifs and handmade by women from Al Amari Refugee Camp Centre.
“The production process is designed to help revive the local textile industry, supporting local artisans,” reads a statement on its website. “These garments represent to us the transcendence of the creative process and of the collective over physically imposed borders, signifying an act of defiance in and of itself.”
Designer Noora Khalifeh reinterprets traditional tatreez in a unique, modern way. Khalifeh is the visionary, while it’s women across Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem who carry out the needlework.
The clothing and accessories are elegant and feminine, with items such as thobes, abayas, kaftans, skirts, dresses and jackets all available to buy online.
Check out the Sunbird collection, which includes clutches and scarves. Khalifeh chose the sunbird as a symbol of freedom, “spreading his wings in his skies of Palestine”.
Holy Land Boutique
This online store sells pieces from various designers all based in Palestine. Buy a beautiful coaster, for example, handmade by Shireen Salman, who was born in Jerusalem in 1986, and whose great-grandfather was a jeweller and her father owns an antique shop. She also makes postcards and cloth posters.
You’ll find everything from blazers to belts and tote bags on the store, too. And there’s free shipping on orders above $199 for people based in the Middle East.
This slow-fashion streetwear brand and community from Gaza creates timeless pieces that can be worn by any gender. It incorporates Palestinian embroidery and puts a focus on producing consciously, ethically and sustainably in a bid to promote the perils of fast-fashion.
Find contemporary denim jackets sporting hand-stitched patterns such as those found on a keffiyeh or in the shape of Palestine.
Started by designer Angham Khalil in 2019 as a response to her identity struggle, nnbynn is a Palestinian ready-to-wear label based in Jerusalem. It merges Khalil’s creative background and education with the roots of her homeland and the nostalgia she feels for it.
Her designs for men and women infuse new with old, holding “signature details, lines, silhouettes and craftsmanship with an emphasis on contemporary style”, according to the website. The spring / summer 2021 collection is now available online, and the brand ships worldwide.
Hirbawi Keffiyeh Weavery
The weavery in Hebron is widely said to be the last to make keffiyehs, the traditional scarf worn around the head or neck, in Palestine. It was opened by Yasser Hirbawi in 1961 and in its heyday produced 150,000 keffiyehs per year.
By 2010, however, following an influx of imported products, this dropped to 10,000.
But thanks to media interest in the garment, which was at threat, and a collaboration with MadeinPalestine.de, sales have been steadily increasing.
Carol Morton, the wife of a reverend from St Andrews Scottish Church in Jerusalem, founded a modest craft shop in 1988, which grew to become Sunbula in 1996. It’s a non-profit fair trade organisation that supports marginalised women and communities in the West Bank, Gaza and other Palestinian communities within Israel through the selling of artisanal crafts.
Morton’s aim is to promote Palestinian women’s rights and economic empowerment by providing their handicrafts.
The online store sells everything from clothing to homeware and accessories to children’s toys. They also have a section dedicated to face masks. Have a look through the website to learn more about the amazing artisans they work with.
El Bustan, which means “the garden” in Arabic, is based in London, but works with artisans, women’s co-operatives, entrepreneurs and factories in and from Palestine, to bring their creations to an international audience, as it offers delivery across the world.
You’ll find home and lifestyle items galore on the online store, with everything from calligraphic artwork to dainty jewellery and contemporary clothing to hand-crafted kitchen utensils, even books.
The website includes a wealth of information about the products and their talented designers.
This online store, which is based in the UAE, focuses on the centuries-old ceramic industry in Palestine. Palestinian pottery is known for its intricate details and Arabesque patterns, and each ceramic work goes through a week-long process during which it’s shaped, dried, cleaned, smoothed and fired, before the artists paint and glaze.
Fyrouzi, which means turquoise in Arabic, provides handmade pieces from Palestine, from bowls to lanterns and coffee sets to ashtrays, with shipping across the UAE within two to three days.
Based in Jaffa, Israel, Hilweh Market is a local artisanal boutique featuring handmade homeware, textiles and other items from Palestine and the Arab world.
While it has a bricks-and-mortar store, you can also shop its range of products online, where you’ll find purses, plates, bowls, blouses, cushions, calligraphy coasters and plenty more.
“Through sustainable local partnerships with designers, makers and craftsmen and women, we help shed light on forgotten stories through beautiful objects while supporting their powerful and creative practices,” reads a statement on the website.
Darzah began with a mission to empower women in the West Bank. Today, it works with 26 female artisans and other partners and for every dollar spent, 80 per cent goes towards the makers themselves.
All of the products are handmade and fair trade certified, with a major focus on tatreez. There are sandals, pillows, bags, aprons, masks and boots to choose from, just to name a few. It also offers you the opportunity to design your own custom pair of hand-embroidered wedding shoes.
It’s a project of Child’s Cup Full, a non-profit social enterprise that empowers women in Palestine by creating job opportunities.
Published: May 28, 2021 09:17 AM