Tatreez is a traditional Palestinian embroidery that originates from Palestine’s very own villages where hours are spent sewing and bringing together colorful pieces. It is an important symbol for Palestinian cultural heritance as mothers pass on personal collections of tatreez down to their daughters. They hope to keep the tradition alive for years to come.
However, at present the tradition is at risk of being lost as fewer Palestinians are learning tatreez. In response, project Darzah was launched. Project Darzah is a non-profit women’s economic initiative based in the West Bank. Their aim is to replenish the growth of tatreez by creating jobs for Palestinian refugees and low income women artists by introducing it to the mainstream global market. In doing so, it calls for the celebration of the old tradition and revitalizes its presence, globally. Extending the garment across the globe empowers the smaller communities in Palestine as the project is reserving the culture and art that is beautifully produced by natives.
Darzah has set up artisan centres in the west bank to provide a space for Palestinian refugees and low income women artists to handcraft tatreez garments that are later sold on Darzah’s website and many pop-up stores across the United States. There is an entire selection of hand made tatreez at Darzah, ranging from items like shoes, bags, scarves and even aprons. There are even special services where you can choose to design your own bridal tatreez shoes. Each purchase on their website will go towards funding their training and employment programs in the West Bank.
Tatreez Shoes made by locals in the West Bank
Apron with tatreez embroidery made by locals in the West Bank
At present a prominent issue that is taking a toll on the Palestinian economy is the declining shoe industry in Hebron. The local shoe-making industry used to sustain the market, however, there has been a growing import of cheap products flooding the market, and filtering out hand-made Palestinian supplies. Darzah has committed to helping resolve that issue by collaboratively working with local shoe makers, suppliers and manufacturers in the West Bank to produce the items.
Shop the collection at darzah.org, and help support the project’s aim of building more jobs for refugee and low income women in Palestine.