Written by Amani Arman.
Tatreez, also known as Palestinian embroidery/cross-stitch, has made its way and taken over the fashion world by surprise. You no longer have to fly all the way to Palestine to get your hands on a stunning Tatreez piece. Whether it be clothing, accessories, or even shoes — it’s all over the place, from high end — like Saks Fifth — to affordable fashion like Forever21. Places like Free People and Anthropologie have sold dresses in the past that look more like a thobe (traditional Palestinian dress) than a dress.
The awesome thing about it is that in this day and age, it’s way easier to find hijabi-friendly fashion anywhere. Macy’s and Nordstrom rack is usually my go-to for Tatreez accessories. They usually have clutches and purses plastered with glorious amounts of Tatreez. Aside from retail shops, there are a huge amount of small businesses that produce authentic handmade Tatreez pieces. Some of them include Darzah, Palestinian Stitches, and myself. All you have to do is search the keyword “Tatreez” on Etsy to find an overwhelming amount of results.
Some people just see it as a pretty piece they need to add to their wardrobe, but that’s not all it is. It’s way more than just a trend — it has a story, it has meaning, a background, a culture. Each city and village has its own special design, which makes it easy to distinguish each from another.
The blood, sweat and tears put into the art form of Tatreez is amazing. It’s a skill not many can achieve. It takes time and needs a lot of patience. It represents us as Palestinians. It goes to show that we do exist — and that there, indeed, is a Palestine with a beautiful culture that people just can’t get enough of.
My great grandmother hand-stitched all of her traditional dresses. One of the thobes she hand-stitched was passed down on to me. Since most of my mom’s family are really petite and I’m 5’8″, I couldn’t really wear it. So I decided to slowly cut off the Tatreez and preserve it as a memory forever by attaching it on to pieces like my backpack or my clutch for Eid. Aside from all the hate going on in this world today, fashion has the ability to bring us together. Here are 10 of some of the coolest Tatreez pieces in the market today.
1. Alexander McQueen Coat
This Alexander McQueen coat is absolutely stunning! I’m head over heals with this intricate detailing.
2. Nordstrom Tote Bag
This super cute tote bag would make the perfect accessory to any cute casual outfit, or even the perfect fit for your laptop/iPad!
3. Free People ‘Star Gazer’ Embroidered Tunic Dress
I am obsessed with this cross stitch dress!
4. H&M Embroidered Blouse
I love this embroidery detail that is mimicking manajeel on a thobe. The colors are so fall-y! And it’s on sale too!
5. Darzah Tatreez Flats
Lets just appreciate these flats right now. Like come on who hasn’t fallen in love with these? These are the cutest Tatreez flats by Darzah, a non-profit organization based in Palestine. They have a beautiful selection of hand-made pieces created by refugees and low-income women artisans from the West Bank. These are available on their website.
6. Etsy Tatreez Thobe
I love the style of this Tatreez thobe by Motarrazat on Etsy. It’s so modern and unique.
7. Tatreez Chokers
So I did something. Since chokers have been so trendy lately, I decided to put two & two together and create Tatreez chokers! I’m so happy with how they turned out! Check them out on my Etsy shop in different colors and styles.
8. Tatreez Statement Necklace
Another one of my favorite pieces that I created is this Tatreez statement necklace. I paired it with an all black maxi dress.
@Malookaaa_ on the other hand paired it with a cute olive green jacket, beige hijab, and denim jeans. That means this could be styled either casual and fun — or fancied up for an evening occasion.
9. Tatreez Bracelet
I also created this bracelet, available on Etsy.
10. Tatreez Mug
Mommyliciouscrafts on Etsy proved that Tatreez looks dope on pretty much anything. How adorable is this mug?! I know I’d like to order a few, ASAP. She has so many other super cute designs aside from Tatreez. Check her page out.
These are just 10 of the millions of beautiful pieces you can find basically anywhere right now. The fact that we could keep the tradition of Tatreez alive is beautiful. In my opinion, it is still completely underrated and deserves a bigger spotlight.
It’s an art form that lets people express themselves. The stitches tell stories bigger than words can. You can see struggle, love, beauty and patience. Palestinian women who have been stitching from way before an Israel came into existence deserve to be noticed, and their ways are slowly making a mark on everything.
Follow me on Instagram to keep up with my journey as a Muslim woman who is trying to burn bridges and take down stereotypes day by day as I try to build a successful business: @amani_arman.
My pieces are on sale on my Etsy shop.