BEREA ANTAKI Stylish Subversion
All images © 2020 BabyFist
The Nöl Collective is a political fashion collective based in Ramallah, Palestine. Beginning as a community-based initiative to aid in the shared struggle of Israeli occupation, it has grown into a collective dedicated to illuminating the human nature of textiles, fashion and politics with compassion and thoughtfulness.
Nöl (نول) is the Arabic word for loom. The founder Yasmeen Mjalli chose this word as a symbol for the intimate connection between Palestinians and their land. The loom acts as a physical and metaphorical matrix, combining all of the traditional elements–livestock, plants, insects and sea water–that create cloth. Nöl represents a vehicle for collective creative effort, as village members join in caring for livestock, shearing sheep and goat, and washing, carding, dyeing and spinning the wool before it even makes it to the loom.
The collective’s apparel items feature contemporary interpretations of ancient Palestinian motifs–embroidered figs, pomegranates and roses colour youthful streetwear items. Intricately stitched tatreez belts are worn over simple cotton slip dresses. Many of the garments are made with vintage fabrics from Syria, reflecting the historical trade ties that introduced the luxurious silk brocades of Aleppo to traditional dress around the Levant region. Logo shirts declare hopeful statements in Arabic–“Revolution is our poem.”
All apparel is manufactured in Gaza with a family-run factory. Copper jewelry is handmade by a women’s cooperative based in Beit Duqqu village on the edge of Jerusalem. Embroidered tatreez pieces are hand-stitched in a women’s cooperative made up of 60 women living in the villages around Ramallah and in Gaza. Despite the logistic constraints of collaborating within and across the borders of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, the Nöl Collective has an international reach.
It is the Nöl Collective’s hope that in wearing its clothes, you don’t just see a garment, but the hands which made them. Those very hands which pour tea, pick figs and survive despite the difficult circumstances of contemporary life in Palestine. Calling on a long history of Palestinian resilience in the face of institutional barriers, the Nöl Collective looks toward the future with determination and style. To shop the Nöl Collective's current collection, click here.
Subscribe to Selvedge and explore our most recent issue 98 Together.