Palestinian embroidery inspires international designers and introduces modern fashion designs

By the Initiative of the Businesswomen Forum and the funding from the International Trade Center and Bank of Palestine

Palestinian embroidery inspires international designers and introduces modern fashion designs

Businesswomen Forum achieved an unprecedented success by introducing Palestinian handmade embroidery during its participating in the international fashion show that was held, for the first time, at the United Nations headquarters in New York under the patronage of the International Trade Center.  BWF managed to introduce the Palestinian embroidery into the latest international fashion designs, galleries and showrooms under the supervision of Parsons The New School for Design in New York and the University of the Arts London in the UK.  The audience was impressed by the Palestinian embroidery and admired and appreciated the five pieces that were displayed.

The event was part of the opening of the LDNY Festival, a month-long series of events in London and New York. More than 300 people attended the event, which was co-chaired by Gina Casar, Associated Administrator of UNDP, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. Other prominent guests at the lunch event included Cherie Blair, Ban Soon-taek, wife of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Cameron Russell, Supermodel.

Ms. Doa Wadi, the Executive Director of the BWF who accompanied the Palestinian delegation to New York, said that two members from BWF’s Business Development Center, have been selected to participate in this event.  The two members were Rehab Daqaweieh from Ramallah, owner of Artizana Palestinian embroideries and Ms. Khawla Al-Khatib from Bethlehem, owner of Palestinian Women.  The event was preceded by a four day training in June 2014 at Parsons in New York followed by another four days of training at the University of London by international fashion designers.  The objectives of the training were to upgrade the professional level of the two female owners and integrate them into the international fashion community through introducing them to the fashion panels specialized in their work and connecting them with international fashion designers and college students to create opportunities for creativity and innovations before the female business owners and open world markets for them.

Ms. Wadi added: The training also gave them enough information to know the tastes of international consumers and provided them with new and innovative ideas that enabled them to use their embroideries to excel on both the international and local levels alike.  It also helped them to raise their technical level through learning new technologies used in the international fashion industry which contributed to the establishment of high-level network of relations with the international designer Avis Chalers and with future designers of NY and London students especially that the Palestinian embroidery was a source of inspiration for about 80% of fashion college students in their graduation projects.  It also helped them in getting closer to international consumers and getting to know their taste, interest, and passion of Palestinian embroidery.

Ms. Wadi stressed on the importance of the success of Palestinian women in the introducing the Palestinian embroidery in the modern and international designs of fashion, thus the Palestinian women enters the globalization in its craftsmanship thanks to unique features the Palestinian heritage, embroidery, and accessories are characterized with.

Ms. Wadi said also that in addition to the fashion show, the Palestinian designs were displayed at Joey Showroom among another 62 pieces by 62 models in addition to two Palestinian pieces of Palestine on mannequins in front of the showroom along with a range of accessories brought by “Rehab and Khawla” who also submitted one model for each class of Palestinian embroidery.

She also stressed on how Palestinian businesswomen were distinguished amid the attendance by wearing the Palestinian dress famous by its embroidery, which drew the attention of all attendees and participants.  Designers, wholesalers, and owners of international stores were very impressed and showed their admiration of the Palestinian clothes, accessories, designs of modern dresses, skirts, and sets; as well as the idea of the incorporating embroidery in the accessories and highlighting it very clearly in the belts, rings, necklaces, and earrings.

She also said: “Palestinian pieces with their variety of colors, quality of designs, and nearness to fashion gave the attendance an opportunity to wear them, made the people look forward into how to incorporate embroidery in international designs worldwide, and gave the designers great inspiration in their designs especially students who have designed pieces decorated with Palestinian embroidery done by Palestinian women.”

Ms. Wadi stressed on the importance of the programs that target women and put them on the world map especially that such simulate handicrafts and prevent their extinction.  She also said: “We are trying to open new and international markets for women products within this program that are specialized in Palestinian embroideries which require opening new markets and thus employing Palestinian women.”

Rehab Daqaweieh of Ramallah, owner of Artizana Palestinian embroidery and one of the two participants in the training and fashion show, said: “I have never imagined that I could display my designs in international showrooms in the presence of world’s celebrities and achieve our aspiration in introducing Palestinian embroidery to the international markets.  I would like to present this opportunity of success to more than 200 rural women who have embroidered these pieces of Palestinian heritage.

With the same entrepreneurial and creative spirit, Khawla Al-Khatib from Bethlehem, owner of Palestinian Women Shop for Palestinian embroidery said: “As I am from a tourist town which is Bethlehem, the Palestinian embroidery remains a valuable and expensive item not easy to purchase by the people, but its presence in an international design would raise the price of the Palestinian embroidery.”

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