Editor's Note: This list includes both small businesses and non-profit organizations, it is not exhaustive.
With the rise of fast-fashion brands that are detrimental to the environment and low in quality, it is difficult to find a Palestinian brand to support among the abundance of ventures that use Palestine as an apolitical concept for monetary gain.
Whether looking to buy map necklaces or t-shirts, it can be hard to differentiate between ethically sourced businesses and those that have immoral practices and deceptive public engagement. To make navigating this sphere easier, the compiled list below offers a selection of vetted brands that hire local creatives in Gaza and the West Bank to produce hand-made items. Some of these brands also have initiatives that donate proceeds from each purchase to refugee camps in Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon.
1) Hirbawi Keffiyeh Weavery
Founded in 1961, Hirbawi is the last Palestinian Keffiyeh factory in the Palestinian Territories.
Following the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords that introduced the free-markets policy, Chinese-made Keffiyehs flooded markets and overshadowed sales of Palestine-based manufacturers.
Located on the outskirt of Hebron, the family-run business sells Keffiyehs to shops, fashion designers, and political activists.
2) Anat International
Anat International is a slow-fashion streetwear brand based out of the Gaza Strip. The brand sells unisex embroidered denim jackets and works towards reviving the textile industry in Gaza that has been impacted by the Israeli military siege.
Anat's mission is gender-less, one that ensures Palestinian embroidery transcends labels, and is not only worn and enjoyed by all consumers, but also hand-cut and made by both men and women in an effort to break the perception that embroidery is a strictly female sphere.
3) Taita Leila
Taita Leila is a feminist social enterprise that commissions hand-stitched and embroidered clothing from Palestinian women in the West Bank, including from refugee camps, villages, and women’s societies. Taita Leila supports women by providing a reliable income from every commissioned item. The enterprise’s name refers to Laila Fakhri El-Khalidi, who wrote The Art of Palestinian Embroidery, a book on Palestinian tatreez. She was also the head librarian at the PLO Research Center in Beirut.
4) Nöl Collective
Founded by Yasmeen Mjalli, Nöl Collective is an intersectional feminist and political fashion collective based out of Ramallah, Palestine. The idea behind Nöl Collective stemmed from experiences and frustrations surrounding sexual harassment and the reality of the patriarchy in Palestine and Arab society.
The Collective “work[s] at the intersection of feminism, Palestinian culture, ethical fashion, and social justice.” Not only does Nöl Collective have distinctive designs and hand-made jewelry, they also offer political feminist education for young women in Palestine, while working directly with Palestinian cooperatives and artisans, keeping all apparel production within a family-run Gaza factory.
Nöl Collective hopes to open its own women-run and women-led apparel manufacturing factory.
Watan is a Palestine-inspired arts shop located in Chicago, Illinois, and Amman, Jordan. Watan aims to create a space for Palestinians to explore their cultural and intellectual heritage through a visual encyclopedia of resources and art pieces. Watan sells laptop stickers, art prints, maps of Palestine, jewelry and statement shirts. Watan’s website states that it “began as a responsibility: to compel us to reach into the archives and try to dig out some connection to our Palestinian heritage.”
6) Hilweh Market
An artisanal Palestinian boutique in Yafa, Hilweh Market sells a myriad of products, including hand-made earrings, vibrant-painted Hebron plates, and pashmina scarves. They also partner with local organizations and Palestinian designers in Nablus and Jerusalem, producing one-of-a-kind items meant to highlight and save Palestinian heritage and culture.
Darzah is a non-profit apparel and décor brand based in the West Bank. Using traditional Palestinian embroidery, tatreez, Darzah collaborates with talented Palestinian women artisans and designers to produce vibrant embroidered scrunchies and bags.
Considering the repression imposed by the Israeli Occupation and lack of job opportunities in the West Bank, Darzah provides economic empowerment and supports the women financially. Their manufacturers, located in Hebron, provide locally purchased and sourced materials for their products.
Darzah’s website states that “each and every purchase from Darzah contributes to artisan salaries, employment programs, and job training in the West Bank".
8) Women in Hebron
Founded in 2005 by Nawal Slemiah, Women in Hebron is a non-profit Palestinian trade cooperative registered under Idna [city] Cooperative Association for Embroidery and Handicrafts.
One hundred and fifty Palestinian women earn their living through the cooperative by making and selling embroidered products such as handbags, thobs, scarves, and wallets. Most of the sales come from tourists visiting the Old City market in Hebron.
The non-profit believes that developing Palestinian handicraft goes beyond providing income to families in Hebron but rather contributes to strengthening the Palestinian community, and especially women in the face of the Israeli occupation.
Since the on-set of the pandemic, tourism and sales have significantly declined. Amy Hagemeier, a volunteer with Women in Hebron, started a fundraiser earlier this year to help support these artisans and sustain the organization through restrictions imposed by COVID-19. The fundraiser is open through June.
Alternatively, U.S.-based small orders can be made through the organization’s partner website, Palestine Partners that is also hosting a fundraiser, which directly contributes to sending money back to the women in Hebron. Bulk orders can be made from the organization’s website and shipped from Hebron.
9) Inaash Association
Inaash Association is a non-profit organization based in Lebanon working towards providing employment opportunities and sustainable income for Palestinian women in refugee camps across the country. Inaash also aims to preserve the long-standing tradition of embroidery.
Inaash was founded in 1969 by Huguette Bechara El Khoury, the daughter of Lebanon’s first president. The country is host to many refugee camps that suffer from dire living conditions and inequalities resulting from governmental negligence and political tension.
Almost 400 embroiders work with Inaash Association, whose specific tatreez style has been passed down for generations.
10) Sulafa Embroidery Center
The Sulafa Embroidery Center is a non-profit initiative that was founded in 1950 by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees. Based in Gaza, the Center supports over 200 Palestinian women artisans by commissioning embroidered goods and providing them with an income.
The non-profit mixes traditional and contemporary forms of embroidery: the traditional cross-stich method and the Madani stich, both of which are commonly practiced in the West Bank. Their products include thobes, headbands, pillowcases, totes, and shawls.
While not characterized as brands, some non-governmental organization offer hand-made products that are available for a limited amount of time to help raise funds for Palestinian refugees. Such organizations include Beit Atfal Assumoud which is based in Beirut but operates in multiple camps across Lebanon.