How has Darzah helped to empower women, economically? Are there any examples/stories that you can share to highlight its success?
We know from experience and research that women who have economic security will help their families and community at large. One example that comes to mind is one of our embroiderers, who is a single mom, a divorcee and is currently living with her parents and extended family members. She wants to eventually live on her own with her children. Through employment with our social enterprise, her economic security has definitely opened up doors for her to work towards that, creaming more opportunities for her children. We know that by employing women, and in some cases they become the breadwinners of their families, the sustainable income offers them choices that are otherwise may not be available to them.
Because of the Palestinian oppression in many areas, and the changes that have been made in the political dynamic there in relation to Israel, is Darzah able to keep some of the Palestinian heritage alive?
Thankfully, there are a lot of local and international initiatives to keep Palestinian heritage alive that not only focus on Tatreez, but also in food, art, and architecture. Our goal is to be a part of this international movement to preserve the history and celebrate the culture. We want to be able to share this art form with the world. It’s so important to make it visible, accessible, and also educational so that people anywhere can share the knowledge of Palestinian culture with their communities.
Artisan women working on Tatrez pieces for Darzah. Photo: Supplied
You mentioned that you are making the markets accessible, internationally, for the artists and their consumers. What markets have you been able to reach, and is this all online, or in stores too?
We focus mainly on the U.S market, as I have been living in the U.S for over 20 years and I’m currently a professor at the University of Oklahoma. We have an online store and we’re working hard to build our customer base online, both in the U.S and internationally. Our Assistant Director is based in Portland, OR, so we do a lot of pop-up shows and events on the West Coast and Midwest, including shows like the Renegade Craft Fair, West Coast Fair, and the Islamic Society of North America’s Annual Convention in Chicago. We also sell wholesale to a small number of fair trade stores and boutiques around the country. We’d love to grow the business in all of these areas. The more products we sell, the more jobs we can create in the West Bank, and we hope to establish a self-sustaining business in the next year.
The world of fashion is rapidly changing, and oftentimes it includes a lot of ethnic features in some designer’s pieces. How do you expect, or have seen, Tatreez make its way into the market?
It’s true that Tatreez can be found in fast fashion, but often people have no idea the designs are Palestinian, and they are made by machine instead of crafted by hand. There’s a huge difference between authentic, handcrafted Tatreez products, and mass produced products. As an ethical fashion brand, it’s important to us that Palestinian Tatreez is properly attributed as a Palestinian art form, and that it’s ethically made. We are fair trade certified, which means that we commit to paying living wages to our artisans and paying fair prices for our materials. We would love to see ethically produced Tatreez become even more popular in mainstream fashion. We see a huge amount of power in fashion in creating jobs, empowering women, and educating people about traditional art forms.
To check out the beautiful pieces on Darzah, click here.
To donate to their LaunchGood campaign, click here.