Fashion retailers receive flak for selling Israeli designer’s ‘Palestinian’ top

After Louis Vuitton’s monogrammed keffiyeh created controversy, some fashion retailers have also raised eyebrows for selling ‘Palestinian’ clothes.

Retailers Nordstrom, Kirna Zabete, and Forward are now selling embroidered cotton peasant-style ‘Anna’ top labelled as ‘Palestinian’, created by Israeli, New-York-based designer Nili Lotan. “Light-blue embroidery pays tribute to Nili Lotan’s Middle East roots on this peasant-style top cut from lightweight woven cotton. Its long sleeves are flared and the neckline is gathered for flow and volume,” reads the description. The top costs Rs 31,200 on Lotan’s website.

In an Instagram post, fashion watchdog Diet Prada mentioned that the ‘Anna’ top on Lotan’s own website describes the garment as a “stunning, airy top” that “radiates femininity” but “has no mention of any Palestinian origin, though other items like the ‘Abby Romanian Embroidered Top’ seem to indicate the garment’s inspiration.”

The embroidery on Lotan’s top also resembles the cross-stitch motifs on the traditional Palestinian thobe, an embroidered ankle-length handmade garment worn by Palestinian women since the 11th century.

In fact, the embroidery became a symbol of protest against Israeli occupation, Diet Prada pointed out. “During the First Intifada in the late 1980s, the thobe took on new meaning as embroidery became a tool of protest to Israeli occupation, which banned the display of Palestinian colors in public, among other oppressive actions. Women in the West Bank began making ‘Intifada dresses,’ incorporating political imagery and the thobe ultimately became a unifying symbol of resistance and cultural identity,” mentioned the official Instagram handle.

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