Instagram, @seevanahawari

Meet Seevana Hawari, Founder of Arab Heritage Streetwear Brand KUVRD

In case you’ve missed it, KUVRD’s educational posts have been going viral for a while now on Instagram. However, their mission doesn’t stop here. 

KUVRD is a streetwear brand that is all about “reviving Arab heritage” by making such authentic products as Keffiyeh, tatreez shirts, bucket hats, and jackets — and even more.

In an interview with Muslim Girl, Seevana Hawari, the founder of KUVRD, talked about how the brand doesn’t limit itself to just being a street style brand. Rather, it leverages its power by setting itself on a mission to educate people about the unique culture and the terrible struggles of the Middle East.

“We’re a community, we’re not just a brand,” Hawari told Muslim Girl. “Our brand page is really all about educating those that may not know too much about the Middle East, or Palestine — or the cause in general. We always try to keep everyone posted on what’s happening, and so forth.”

What makes KUVRD different from other clothing brands, as Hawari puts it, is that it incorporates the authentic keffiyeh within its products.

“Our brand is differentiated because we actually use the authentic keffiyeh within our garments. We don’t use a print — we rarely use a print,” Hawari said. 

“We may have one or two items on our site that are a print for reasons that are out of our hands. But, 95 percent of our garments that incorporate the keffiyeh actually incorporate the authentic keffiyeh — which does differentiate us,” she continued.

KUVRD has been donating to Arab vulnerable communities in the Middle East on the ground since its inception in 2018 as a part of its mission to give back to those in need.

“We decided last year to focus on Jerash Refugee Camp — which is a Jordanian refugee camp in Jordan. But, most of its refugees are Palestinians,” Hawari told Muslim Girl. “For this year, it’s Gaza. We are working with Human Concern International and they’re on the ground supporting us with our donations in the form of meals — specifically meal baskets.”

KUVRD x Jerash Refugee Camp, Jordan Meal Distribution

“As much as we wanna support all refugee camps that are vulnerable in the Middle East, we are kind of calculated by what represents our brand the most,” Hawari told Muslim Girl.

Along with making donations to communities in need, KUVRD provides job opportunities for vulnerable and marginalized communities in Jordan.

“We’re employing those that are living in vulnerable communities in Jordan specifically. We chose that region, because, you know, my family’s factory is here, and I have my coworkers here that are able to go and check on our production,” Hawari said.

Hawari’s vision for KUVRD stems from her persistence against cultural appropriation, her educational background, and her family’s legacy, along with her desire to “start something that can shed light on [Arab] culture and how beautiful it is.”

“It really just stems from cultural appropriation and passion, and obviously yes, it’s amazing to continue on the family’s legacy regarding the keffiyeh, you know, textile industry here in Jordan,” Hawari said. “We took a lot of courses and classes about cultural appropriation, and how these fast fashion retailers are taking our heritage, and our prints and patterns without really acknowledging the history behind them.”

Being aware of the stigma that befalls those who wear a keffiyeh, Hawari talked about how she works on dismantling negative stereotypes using her brand.

“When you type on Google ‘terrorism,’ or ‘what do terrorists wear,’ a keffiyeh does show up unfortunately,” Hawari said. “We try to modernize it, and carry on the legacy and heritage of the Middle East through garments, through fashion, and through sparking conversations. We’re working towards fighting this stereotype and really making it something that is more of a heritage, and a cultural piece.”

KUVRD’s support doesn’t stop at showing solidarity to those in need. If anything, its long-term plan is all about entirely transforming the lives of vulnerable communities in the Middle East.

“We do see that KUVRD’s vision in the Middle East is to actually have workshops around the region where we have refugees and marginalized communities come in and learn about business, and even how to start a business. We do wanna see them grow,” Hawari said. 

“This idea actually stabbed about two years ago. I thought about this idea, and it’s not like an overnight idea. It takes a lot of time and a lot of development, and it needs a lot of funding to actually start. So, we’re working on that, and we do see the vision come to life in the league in later years,” she continued.

Addressing the meanings of her brand’s products, Hawari explained to Muslim Girl how pivotal it is for her customers and future collaborators to be mindful of the value of the products they’re wearing.

“If they’re wearing, let’s say, a tatreez shirt, they need to understand that a woman stitched it with her hands. It took her at least five hours to make that shirt — just the stitching of it. It’s not just a garment, there’s a story behind it: the woman who’s stitching motifs that symbolize the villages of Palestine,” Hawari said. 

“I would want to collaborate with someone that is heavily an advocate for the Middle East and the Palestinian cause — someone that is already working on the ground, and really understands what’s going on and how we can make an impact and see a change,” she continued.

Commenting on the recognition KUVRD has gained from Mohamed Hadid and his family, as it has also been reposted recently by Gigi Hadid, Hawari explained that she met Hadid in 2019 during the Harvard event she attended.

“I met Mohamed Hadid and I gave him my jacket there, and that’s sort of how I built that connection with him.”

KUVRD is currently preparing a new surprise for its 4th anniversary. “It’s gonna be a new product line — something we haven’t done before. And, yeah, we’re so excited for it actually.”