Darzah's shoes have a story to tell you. A charming, moving story about Palestinian history, female kinship, artistic evolution and economic empowerment. All through the elegant art of tatreez.
Tatreez is a form of Palestinian cross-stitch embroidery that dates back 3000 years. While traditionally passed down from mothers to daughters, its continuity is at risk.
Now, a young Palestinian brand is determined to revive and preserve this craft.
Named for the word 'stitch' in Arabic, Darzah is a fair trade certified brand which brings together tatreez artisans, leather producers, shoe makers and other craftsman to produce a line of shoes, bags and accessories.
Economic opportunities are limited in the West Bank and Darzah is determined to provide viable source of income and flexible work for the women of the West Bank.
Here's a rundown of the brand:
Darzah's artisans are employed in the Zababdeh region of the northern West Bank.
New weavers are given one-to-one embroidery lessons by more experienced artisans.
The chef artisans are closely involved in the overall design and fabrication process.
The chain of production reflects the 100% local pledge of Darzah - their leather is responsibly sourced from local providers in Khalil and Hebron.
Each tatreez symbolises a different aspect of Palestinian culture - nature, food, and community ties, among others.
Darzah also launched the Tatreez Archive which invites people to share their own personal, ancestral and regional motifs.
Prices start at 189 USD for a pair of flats and 89 USD for a clutch. They ship internationally and you can shop online here.
In Their Own Words...
On their artisans:
Most artisans know about our mission through other artisans or from the community members, and we are consistently receiving calls from women for training and employment opportunities. We have cultivated trust with our artisans as our mission to empower women is no different from their personal goals.
On the future of Darzah:
Our first goal is to send 10 artisans to technical school to learn how to cobbler shoes. After completing their training, women will start an apprenticeship with a shoe and bag maker in our new center. Our goal is for our artisans to produce our products from start to finish.
On the Tatreez Archive:
This is important as tatreez is a major part of Palestinian heritage and we want to apart of it’s preservation. Most women learn it from their mothers or sisters, but it is not practiced as much since it takes a long time to complete a piece. We want to show this intricate work to the world and tell its story.
Thank you to Catherine for her time!
Do you own a pair of Darzah shoes? Tell us what you think!