Inside the Middle East
February 1, 2012
Posted: 1825 GMT

Fashion designer Zeina Abou Chaaban has found inspiration in Jordan's largest Palestinian refugee camp, Baqa'a.

Watch the video below - and follow Inside the Middle East on Facebook to see behind-the-scenes pictures from our shoot in Jordan.

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miriam   February 2nd, 2012 1:54 pm ET

The designer should be commended for her support of these impoverished women.

Textiles, dyes and embroidery are crafts that date back to biblical times in the Middle East. Rather than referring to this embroidery as a national heritage, it is more accurate to refer to it as Arab of regional. For hundreds of years, tribes and families were identified by distinct designs which became associated with specific regions as nomadic Beduin became more settled.

It is for this reason embroidery is about the only form of cultural identity promoted by the Palestinians not because of a national heritage but because it was a form of local identity which distinguished different families and clans.

Until the Arab revolt of the 1930s, Arab Palestinians wore the Turkish fez or a turban. The Beduins took control of towns and a decree ordered all men to wear the keffiyeh. The black and white check, seen in the video became associated with arab Palestinians in the late 50s and 60s with the rise of Arafat and became popular only in 1967.

Labeling Palestinian dress a national heritage is misleading. Do the various designs represent localized identities? Yes, but not a "national"

David k.   February 15th, 2012 1:13 pm ET

I have to wonder... why are palestinians in Jordan in a refugee camp? WHy isn't the same propaganda used against Israel being used on Jordan? why dont the palestinians use terror? oh thats right,, because the palestinian issue is all about being antisemitic.

Charlotte   February 17th, 2012 10:17 pm ET

FYI wreits If you think the war in Palestine is about geopolitics you are dreaming. Are you contrasting geopolitics to religious affiliation, or are you suggesting something else?I'm missing what you mean.

Esp20   February 22nd, 2012 5:54 pm ET

Burqas and full head scarves as well as clothing up to the neck are repressive. Nonetheless, at least "some" Islamic nation states allow these women to wear make-up.

deniz boro   February 28th, 2012 11:48 pm ET

Value of a good is the time spent in making it and the mastery. Also the deep heritage behind it. A handmade item is so much more than a machine made jewelery piece. I realy appreciate this article. In Turkish handwoven Kilims which are made of materials died with natural plant dyes there is a meaning to every motif woven. A kilim or a carpet becomes almost a letter. I would not be suprised if the same is true for Palestyle.

deniz boro   March 2nd, 2012 4:10 am ET

Almost all handmade embroidery motifs have a meaning and most of them have a common or similar meaning in all native cultures throughout the world. When these motifs are put together they form a universal story (as the first people did in forming an alphabet). The hole concept and structure of this design and production is examplary.

Mo   March 15th, 2012 4:24 am ET

Her skill could see a nice new designer line in fashion suicide vests.

W.G.   March 15th, 2012 12:11 pm ET

Does the designer take into consideration that ALL
pelstinian children are taught to be martyres . So in designing
the clothes she has to take certain things into consideration .
For instance can the shirts conceal a grenade or does she make
special pockets for them , Can the shoulder seams withstand the
straps of a suicide vest ?

karaOK   March 18th, 2012 5:53 pm ET

So are kids in suicide vests the "in" thing???

Celeste   March 20th, 2012 1:30 pm ET

I have a lot of Palestinian friends, none of them are extremists, in fact some of the most kind and gentle people I have met! I'm wondering where all of these stereotypical/racist comments are coming from!

Paul O'Rourke   March 24th, 2012 10:21 pm ET

Congratulations to Zeina and thanks CNN for the upbeat news report from that troubled land. The suicide vest comments are a disgusting reflection on the unbridled hatred for all of the Palestinian people by a sorry segment, who find some sort of perverted solace in tarring everyone from Palestine with the same brush. Ironically, the same people demand respect and recognition for their particular affiliation. Tragically sad.

Paul O'Rourke   March 28th, 2012 7:39 am ET

Why is my comment not being regarded?
I am recording the activity on this blog for posterity..

odinsgranny88   March 28th, 2012 6:29 pm ET

The traditional drab palestinian suicide vest may now be replaced with something more colourful and 'now'.

Suzy   April 3rd, 2012 12:39 am ET

Any vests with grenade holders?

Johnny   April 9th, 2012 1:24 pm ET

It is so nice to see people something constructive for change. Not a common occurance in the ME. This means employment for women and more equality which is sadly lacking in the region.

Joy   April 16th, 2012 6:09 pm ET



ayala   April 29th, 2012 1:51 pm ET

nice to see the palestinians making money out of their own cause..really noble that
i wonder why they dont use the proceeds to build real homes for those in the refugee camps
bunch of hypocrites

ayala   April 29th, 2012 1:53 pm ET

using their 'cause' to make money then giving back a tiny percent to the women who actually make the clothes

really smart that...

michael   May 10th, 2012 4:56 am ET

Comments are moderated by CNN, in accordance with the CNN Comment Policy, and may not appear on this blog until they have been reviewed and deemed appropriate for posting. Also, due to the volume of comments we receive, not all comments will be posted.

interesting statement concideing the amount of racist posts on this site

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