Adonis Diaries

Stolen folk art? Palestinian embroidery

Posted on: March 26, 2014

Palestinian embroidery… yet another stolen folk art

Many Arab ladies expressed their discontent via social media when the J.crew embroidered pumps came out a couple of months ago flourished with Palestinian embroidery, but without any reference to that particular cultural heritage.

The shopping website mentioned in the description of the item that it’s made in Italy.

Now that would make a lot of us who are familiar with Palestinian embroidery upset that our heritage is used and produced by commercial fashion brands without any credit, unlike the case with the Aztec patterns that were all over the internet last year.

A couple of weeks ago, I was checking what’s on sale on Anthropologie and I was furious that such a fashion and lifestyle brand that emphasizes on authenticity and craftsmanship as their motto sells this pair of sneakers made by some Israeli designers using Palestinian embroidery patterns. The item is described on the website as follows:

Israel-based designers Kim Ben Shimon and Zoar “Zozi” Asher quickly bonded and, then, made each other friendship bracelets. That simple project grew into more complicated designs, and a short time later, their jewelry collection. Now, Kim & Zozi have added effortlessly chic woven and patterned sneakers to their roster. We love this stitched canvas pair with everything from distressed denim to laidback dresses.

Now on the two designers’ website it says that ‘KIM & ZOZI is a Los Angeles, California based fashion collaboration between designers, Kim Ben Shimon and Zoar “Zozi” Asher’ without any reference to Israel.

The exact same item is also sold on UrbanOutfitters.

And if you check where their items are available all over the world you’ll be shocked to see Philosophi in Jordan, Bloomingdale Dubai in UAE, Muriel A inLebanon, and Remza in Bahrain are on the list. anthro1

To my curiosity, I decided to search for what else is embroidered on and found a couple of items as part of a collection called Tiny by designer Karyn Craven who founded a fashion brand named Burning Torch which is a privately held company based in Los Angeles.

Looking at these couple of items, without any expert’s feedback,  you can easily see that the embroidery used is similar to the Palestinian embroidery used patterns we’re all familiar with.

And it made me wonder what if it was yet another case of an Israeli designer/artist who produces designs made in Israel using “stolen folk art” but based somewhere else in the world like LA in this case.


As a customer it’s my right to know where every item is made and not just mention to me in the details of the product that it’s ‘imported‘ . anthro2

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March 2014

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