Is the physical manifestation and realization of a young Palestinian artist’s dream to connect her passion for traditional cross-stitch with her second love: modern fashion. Our products fuse modern styles colored by the multiple contemporary influences inspired by Noora Khalifeh’s personal experience of Jerusalem with traditional Palestinian “Tatreez.” Dar Noora’s pieces offer a fresh and unique interpretation of a classic method.Dar Noora is also the fruit born of a mission to give new voice to and to empower the women who have carried on this tradition through the nation’s history. Dar Noora is both the designer and artist, Noora Khalifeh, and the women across Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem who carry out the needle-work, and without whom Dar Noora would be incomplete.
Noora Khalifeh has taken what many Palestinians accept as a cultural fixture—traditional Palestinian “Tatreez”—but which is, sadly, overlooked as a dated cultural practice. Noora sees in this technique, and in these women, a hidden national treasure, a hidden talent. Like uncut diamonds in the rough, Dar Noora has guided and polished these talents, empowering them to truly shine. This is a major aspect of Dar Noora’s dream and mission.
Our brand empowers and gives voice to women across Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem who carry out traditional Palestinian needle-work, and without whom Dar Noora would be incomplete. Noora’s Heritage House sees in this cultural fixture, in these women’s handiwork, and in this modern blend, a hidden national treasure and gift to be shared with the world.
Dar Noora is very proud of its social outreach and the way it connects the traditional artisans who have historically produced such complex and ornate cross-stich designs for generations to a blossoming industry and a market, to which they would otherwise not have access. Beyond outreach, Dar Noora sees this work not only as an opportunity to create expressive, novel designs never before seen elsewhere, but also as a means of preserving Palestine’s rich cultural heritage. Cultural preservation vis-à-vis incorporating traditional cross-stitch in every design is one of Dar Noora’s top priorities.
Furthermore, Dar Noora concerns itself with social and economic impact: Palestine needs jobs, and while many women still work in traditional Tatreez, this is hardly sustainable as an industry. Beyond Tatreez, there is a rich opportunity to open and expand a uniquely Palestinian fashion industry that would counter the typically foreign imposed model of economic development and empowerment with an organic, home-grown alternative, that stands to create jobs in which Palestinians would take great pride.
Imagine a wide-eyed and wonder-filled girl exploring the familiar tunnels of Al-Quds (Jerusalem’s) old city as if for the first time, from her father’s souvenir shop through the many shops, kiosks, stands, and corners of the market, following the cadence of bejeweled headdresses, skirts, and wrists punctuated by the clockwork clanging of iron shop doors opening and moaning their call to the morning’s patrons. She dances forth weightlessly, under and between the kaleidoscopic array of hand-crafted and painted ceramics, embroidered garments hanging just out of reach of a child’s arms, and antique silver jewelry, contrasted and framed on all sides by the intimately familiar pale grays, beige, and creams of a stone so native as to be termed “Jerusalem stone.”
Imagine many years later that same impressionable and absorbent mind encountering modern shapes, colors, and styles and reconciling both past and present artifacts and archetypes in a single shared narrative through clothing, resulting in a simultaneously historical and contemporary wearable narrative like ancient tapestries with a modern make-over.
Noora Khalifeh does not see a market in the Old City; instead, she sees a runway. The exotic, local and foreign, each body an unwitting character in her show from the local merchants and artisans in the traditional regional garb of Palestine to the foreign visitors with their unique cultural contributions: all of the garments come from a place and represent political, cultural, social, as well as spiritual realities, but at the same time, they populate the stage and, in doing so, become unquestionably Jerusalemite. Jerusalem is an inescapably international world capital, and the western, modern influences blend with and become part of the tapestry. All of these archetypes have analogs in the fashion world, and the interplay of these symbols—the masculine, authoritarian, the gentle maternal, the pastoral—serve as the secondary influences on Noora’s designs, preceded only by traditional Palestinian cross-stitch. This is Noora’s Old City.
Through her pieces, designer Noora Khalifeh aims to share with us these sensations, and with these sensations, her impressions of the world she inhabits, her interpretations of the interaction of history with the present, the uniquely Palestinian, and specifically feminine experience that always was a story told in stitches, but lacked the language to be carried beyond its sphere.