17 July 2007


I've been getting requests for a more in-depth lecture on the "fringe-y Arabic-y scarf things" I mentioned as being so popular with the youngsters in London and New York. Turns out they're called "keffiyehs" and are "generally white, square, cotton cloths that are wrapped around the head in various styles, but many have a checkered pattern in red or black stitched into them. The black and white checkered style became especially well-known during the 1930’s as a symbol of Palestinian nationalism, and continues to be associated with Palestinian political sympathies." Observe:
Let it be stated here and now that I predict the imminent arrival and subsequent overuse of the keffiyeh in the L.A. scene (not that I'd mind; I think they look kind of neat). Hey, if Colin Farrell's doing it, LiLo can't be far behind....

I would go into the cultural and social implications and questions raised by the use of a religious garment as a fad, but this post on the (CRIT) design blog does it for me. Personally, I don't find it offensive to use something that's traditionally religious, if it's not used offensively. I.e., if wearing the keffiyeh is saying only "these scarves are like so rad" or even "I support Palestine," in no way is that negative. So my own personal panties are by no means in a twist over this one. But remember how my store decided it was too controversial to sell them? Apparently, Urban Outfitters ran into the same problem. Interesting.

> r r <

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Blogger gilda said...

those scarfs were the most happening things last year in tokyo and i bought 4 iin different colours. for like 2 bucks! :) there are also designer labels for like 300 dollars. my friends and i wear them all the time. i love it!

18 July, 2007 08:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The traditional Palestinian headdress has become a symbol of support for the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation. The younger generation in the Middle East wears it expressly to show support of the Palestinian cause, and it is also used by militants to disguise their faces. The black and white kaffiyeh is often associated with Fatah; the red and white with Hamas. The red one is also often associated with that youre willing to kill for the palistinians. So think twise before putting it on. It IS politics. This makes me sick!!

25 July, 2007 14:05  
Anonymous Ryan said...

The Red and white is not associated with Hamas! Green and white is, but Hamas men often wear any kind. Red and white is associated with the radical left, especially the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Hence why I wear one.

18 October, 2007 12:45  

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