The Keffiyeh – Symbol of Palestinian solidarity
Traditionally worn by Palestinian peasants, the keffiyeh became a symbol of Palestinian nationalism during the Arab Revolt of the 1930s.Its prominence increased in the 1960s with the beginning of the Palestinian resistance movement and its adoption by Palestinian politician Yasser Arafat. Outside of the Middle East, the keffiyeh first gained popularity among activists supporting the Palestinians in the conflict with Israel.
In the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia, when the keffiyeh became popular as a fashion accessory, usually worn as a scarf around the neck in hipster circles. Stores such as Urban Outfitters and Top Shop stocked the item. After some controversy, Urban Outfitters pulled the item. In spring 2008, keffiyeh in colours like purple and mauve were given away in issues of fashion magazines in Spain and France!!
Did you know that a Keffiyeh scarf is a great way to stay cool in the summers?
Wondering How? Just do as the Arabs do – spray the scarf with cold water and wear it. The scarf will also shield your neck from the sun. Since it’s made of cotton, you can wear it in the summer and autumn too.
The keffiyeh is usually folded in half, into a triangle, and the fold is worn across the forehead. Now, we’d rather drape it stylishly around our collars to give us that rugged bohemian feel.
So how do go about draping it to suit your style?
There are three cool ways
The Back Drape: Fold the scarf in half, lay it across the back of your neck, and let the edges hang in front.
The Front Drape: Fold it in half and hold it under the chin. Now grab the two ends, wrapping them around the neck. Let the ends come back to the front after one or two drapes.
The Point Front Drape: Fold the scarf diagonally. Now roll the longer edge until it can fit under the chin. Hold the two ends of the rolled edge and make one knot around the neck
Which brings us to the very heated debate about whether wearing a keffiyeh may also be a political statement. It’s totally cool if people choose to wear the keffiyeh for its fashion appeal. Cause let’s face it; it does look pretty awesome! But people should also wear it knowing and being proud of what it truly represents; Palestinian heritage and nationalism. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s been suggested by some politically correct fashion police that wearing this black & white (or red & white) checked scarf shows the wearer to be a sympathizer with the Palestinian liberation movement. Take that one step further: wearing such a scarf symbolizes anti-Semitism. Part of the reason for this assumption was the fact that leader of the movement for a Palestinian state Yasser Arafat was often portrayed wearing the keffiyeh himself! So, there you have it, the Keffiyeh is a proven fashion for a cause. Probably the most successful of its kind!