From Palestinian refugee camp to London, Paris, Dubai boutiques
From Palestinian refugee camp to London, Paris, Dubai boutiques
The 54-year-old mother of seven describes her work as “modern products with shimmering colors, embroidered with Palestinian and Islamic motifs.”
“I’m proud to see Europeans wearing what we produce here and to see top fashion magazines take an interest,” she said referring to the German online edition of Vogue, a large smile on her face, girded with a red veil.
The Jerash camp where she lives, in northern Jordan, was established to host more than 11,000 Palestinians who fled the Gaza Strip during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war — hence its alternative name, Gaza Camp.
Half a century on, more than 29,000 refugees live in the camp amid poverty, unemployment and crumbling infrastructure.
In 2013, Roberta Ventura, an Italian with a background in investment banking, decided to set up a social project to help women in the camp after visiting it and seeing their intricate skills close up.
SEP Jordan (SEP for social enterprise project) aims to “change lives not only of dozens but over time, hundreds, perhaps thousands of women,” she wrote in a message to AFP.
On the workshop’s tables lay traditional keffiyeh chequered headscarves with inscriptions of different colors, along with cashmere shawls and handbags.
“The project started with 10 women and now they are 300,” said the program’s director, Nawal Aradah. “We make products on request: shawls, handbags, towels, sheets and all kinds of household decor.”
Every two months, 11 to 14 cartons containing 190 to 270 kilogrammes (420 to 600 pounds) of goods are sent to stores in Paris, London or Dubai.
They are also sold inside the Palestinian territories — in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, said the project’s regional manager, Mahmoud Al-Hajj.
In a shop inside a large Amman hotel, prices range from 20 to 300 dinars ($30 to $430, 25 to 362 euros), according to Hajj, who said “most buyers are foreign tourists.”
For women in the workshop, embroidery is an important source of income.
“We all suffer from poverty in this camp,” Ankassuri said. “This work helps us to improve our lives, even if we charge for our products individually at low prices, from 15 to 20 dinars.”
Every product she embroiders requires at least a week’s work.
She says she has pain in her hands, but enjoys being around other women in the workshop.
Ventura said the women’s “unique talent” is “appreciated around the world.”
More than two million Palestinian refugees are registered with the United Nations in Jordan, but about half of the country’s 6.6 million population is of Palestinian origin.
Ankassuri and her colleagues learned the art of embroidery from their mothers and grandmothers. Each region of historic Palestine has its own motifs and patterns.
As well as presenting Palestinian history and culture to a new audience, their craftwork “helps promote the cause of our people,” Aradah said proudly.
A flag and a map hang on the walls of the workshop, reminding the women of their link with the land of their birth or, for the younger ones, that of their ancestors.
“Every woman here has a story,” Aradah said.
“This work helps them to send their children to school, change the furniture in their homes and improve their living conditions, especially since many husbands do not work.”
Hiba Al-Hudari, who was weaving a blue purse with Islamic inscriptions, said the workshop had become “a second home.”
The 37-year-old mother of six said she earns about 150 dinars a month. “With that, I help my husband, who’s a mechanic, provide for our household,” she said.
Shanina Shaik stars in campaign for Revolve
DUBAI: She may not be at Miami Swim Week, but Victoria’s Secret model Shanina Shaik certainly got into the spirit on Instagram, posting shots from her trip to Bermuda with US-based e-tail platform Revolve and giving a special mention to the swimwear event.
“Because it’s swim week,” Shaik captioned a photo of herself wearing a red-and-white vertically striped bikini, by swimwear label Tularosa, against a rocky backdrop in Bermuda. Miami Swim Week is set to continue until July 17 and sees swimwear designers from across the world show off their latest perfect-for-the-pool creations on the sunny shores of the Floridian city.
However, the model is on another sun-drenched shoreline for a photoshoot and launch party celebrating a collaboration between clothing brands The Naven Twins and NBD in Bermuda this week.
Shaik, whose father is Pakistani and mother is Lithuanian-Australian, wasn’t the only fashionable it-girl on the island, however. Revolve handpicked a group of stylish influencers and models to star in the Bermudian snaps.
Designer and marketing guru Draya Michele, model Kara Del Toro and influencer Jill Wallace also took part in the color-packed photoshoot.
For her part, Shaik starred in a series of shots wearing a glittering array of beach-ready outfits. In one windswept photo, the model wears a lilac bandeau top with draped sleeves, paired with a jungle-print pair of high-waisted shorts — “a real-life mermaid,” the Revolve social media team captioned the picture on Instagram.
Revolve carries more than 500 menswear and womenswear brands and has a dedicated beauty section on its website, revolve.com. Launched in 2003, the e-tail website claims to have 40 million page visits per month, so it makes sense that Shaik, an already successful runway model, would jump on the bandwagon.
Shaik is newly married, having tied the knot with musician DJ Ruckus at a family-filled ceremony in the Bahamas in May. The couple promptly followed it up with a bash in Miami that was attended by likes of Bella Hadid and model Hailey Baldwin.
The model married her long-time beau Gregory Andrews on musician Lenny Kravitz’s private island of Eleuthera.
Reverend Run of Run DMC performed the ceremony as family, friends and a handful of celebrity guests gathered for the nuptials, including Ashlee Simpson and Evan Ross, as well as models Nadine Leopold and Hannah Ferguson.
The happy couple got engaged in December 2015 after dating for less than a year. He reportedly presented her with two Lorraine Schwartz rings and let her take her pick. She eventually chose a gold band that featured an amethyst and a diamond, according to media reports.