TAITA LEILA – A PALESTINIAN STORE WHOSE AMBITIONS ARE STRONGER THAN THE IMPOSITION ON THEM
“Fashion is part of our culture and it is about more than just a pretty dress.”
Started in 2015 by crowdfunding, offering the designs as rewards, overshooting their own target of $25,000 to raise ~$36,000. This helped them launch their very first collection called “The Qabbeh collection”, where the main focus was on the chest panel of the traditional Palestinian dress, its most intricate panel.
Taita Leila as a concept is inspired by Leila Khalidi, the author of “The Art of Palestinian Embroidery”, who is the grandmother of one of the co-founders. From her work, they’ve set out to use her research on various Palestinian designs and considered one of the first and an important landmark work in the subject, to inspire their clothing line. And this is the most notable thing in their first collection (that they have a page as ‘sources of inspiration’ on their website). They wanted to commission women for making embroidery that would be worn in everyday lives and not just for special occasions as the case has become nowadays.
Taita Leila’s speciality in Hand embroidery is that they showcase different types of embroidery that Palestine is famous for. They themselves are mostly well known for their cross-stitch but have also featured couching, patchwork, in their collections. You’ll also find in a series “The Anatomy of a Thobe”, Taita as a store has explored each of the different panels of the Palestinian dress by region. In doing so, they want to share the stories of the wearers of these clothes, how the thread was used to communicate the identity of an individual.
“Believe you can and you are halfway there” – Theodore Roosevelt
The ultimate goal of Taita Leila goal is two- folds: Cultural Reappropriation and Social Empowerment. Through various researches and anthropological studies, they want to share the stories of the wearers of the thobe, the hidden language in the thread on their clothes. Also commissioning artisans who make these pieces, empowering them with an income for creating a beautiful collection.
Taita follows a zero-waste philosophy, from which there is a lot to learn. They’ve always worked upon a pre-order philosophy, so they don’t create more than what is ordered. Limited with the kinds of fabrics that, they have access to due to the impositions of the Israelis. Israeli’s control what comes in and what can go out. They have a positive approach towards it are still looking to use more sustainable and long-lasting fabrics, as much as is it possible to attain in their circumstances.
The recent conflicts paused all production, but not to say that it is smooth sailing at other times. Far from it. Coordinating work between the team, who lives across historic Palestine and the diaspora, is a constant challenge. Because of the apartheid, the team in 48 have more privileges than the team in the West Bank, which means that moving things around lies on one party only. Even calling between the two can be very expensive as it is treated as international calls between 48 and the West Bank. The apartheid has always affected productivity, and after all the hardships they still try to release a collection a year.
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other” – Mother Teresa
Worlds contribution towards a better tomorrow in Palestine according to the Taita’ team is that people from all around the World standing with them and speaking up against the violence happening to Palestinian people, which no one, in general, should go through. Sharing their stories, especially when the Palestinians are telling it themselves, has been the most helpful thing that has happened. They have definitely seen a change in the discourse about the cause, and continue to speak up and share many more stories will only help them bring freedom sooner. “Thank you for featuring us in your magazine- this is one example of allyship that we are grateful for”, says the Taita team.
WEBSITE : www.taitaleila.com
INSTAGRAM : @taitaleila
Checkout more such content at: https://gogomagazine.in/category/magazine/storiesfrompalestine/