Aida Abu Sitta started collecting original old dresses found at Palestinian refugee camps for over 30 years. Today, she has redesigned around 70 dresses and gowns with a mixture of present -day and traditional elements.
The need and popularity of her dresses recently increased. Old and young women want to wear them. Not only because they find them beautiful but also because of the deep meaning behind it: highlighting the importance of preserving Palestinian culture that Israel has tried to destroy.
In an interview Abu Sitta explained how her main focus was on red and blue dresses. Red dresses are meant to be worn by married women, while blue dresses would be worn by women mourning in funerals. But most of the dresses are dresses that can be worn to any event, considered ready-to-wear fashion.
History says that the “thob” was the formal dress of the queens of Canaan. Credited to the “thob” is the preservation and maintenance of a woman’s privacy and modesty. A Palestinian woman would wear the “thob” with pride. They consider the dress as their historical right throughout time.
This has resulted in a fashion show in Gaza City at the Roots hotel. The funds received through entry fees will go towards supporting a local charity caring for women who are suffering from cancer or recovering from it.
The event has received some criticism from strict opinionated groups because of women walking on stage without a hijab, but this did not draw away any of the purpose of the fashion show: raise awareness about Palestinian heritage.
Aida also let us know that she is planning to hold another show soon!
This article is written by Kawtar Dahmane.