In the heart of Palestine, the cultural scene is increasingly overlooked amid overriding conflict erupting, where creativity becomes a powerful form of resistance against adversity. This article delves into the resilient world of sustainable fashion, defined by the community of Palestinian creatives who overcome daily challenges, from censorship to cultural appropriation.
Founded by Yasmeen Mjalli, the Nöl Collective stands as a testament to the preservation of Palestinian crafts amidst the devastation the country is facing. Influenced by Mjalli’s return to Palestine, the brand evolved through this dedication to heritage. Transcending boarders through fashion, Nöl Collective is concerned with the political nature of fashion, navigating the impact of the Gaza blockade on garment production. It is reflected in the upcoming spring collection, where Palestinian and Afghani models showcase garments that embody movement, heritage, and persistence.
Winter ‘24: Intricate embroidery inspired by the southern regions of Palestine and meticulously crafted in Askar refugee camps, these garments are a labor of love from our community, dedicated to supporting our brothers and sisters.
Dedicated to those keeping the craft industries going during this turbulent time of conflict - the weavers of Gaza ‘who have lost everything’.
The upcoming collection features limited edition pieces made from the remaining handwoven Majdalawi Fabric (critical to traditional Palestinian dress) with any proceeds going towards supporting families who have lost their livelihood.
Palestinian creatives, including Nöl Collective, navigate obstacles unique to their region. The appropriation of Tatreez, a traditional Palestinian embroidery, by Israeli designers prompts a response from Nöl, challenging cultural misappropriation through fashion and the techniques of the crafts.
The heart of Nöl Collective lies in its cultural intersectional and hyper-local approach to fashion. Collaborating with local artisans, women’s cooperatives, and family-run businesses, Mjalli shines the light on the people behind each garment rather than the product sold. This commitment to conscious fashion and transparency in production and local partnerships puts Nöl within the Palestinian fashion landscape, preserving indigenous practices and traditions through connecting craftspeople.
In the face of adversity, Palestinian creatives, led by the Nöl Collective, craft resilience through sustainable fashion that celebrates heritage and culture beyond violence. “I hate to be presented in any media platform as a victim.” Mahmoud Alhaj
As an extension of the garments, the people’s stories echo the enduring spirit of Palestinian culture, urging the international community to challenge stereotypes and empower Palestinian creatives. As fashion intersects with politics, this overlooked vibrancy showcases a narrative of persistence, heritage, and creativity in the heart of Palestine.
Messages from the weavers before they lost connection
The garments aim to serve as visual narratives, humanising the collective effort behind each piece and celebrating sustainable creativity and heritage amidst adversity. In the context of Palestine, the political reality, defined by military occupation, influences every aspect of life, including artistic expression. By incorporating these practices and collaborating with cooperatives, the aim is to initiate a conscious dialogue about the intersectional impact of fashion on the environment, politics, and identity.