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“Holding on to our thobes is holding on to our roots”

Jerusalem24 – You can find this freelance graphic designer, and visual artist, between stacks of old Palestinian traditional dresses (“Thobes”) searching for the ones with the most defects, to bring them back to life by wearing them herself.

Rand Dabboor tells Jerusalem24 that it all started a while ago, reusing old traditional dresses in an attempt to revive and preserve Palestinian heritage.

“Five years ago I bought an old traditional dress from Nablus city, that felt to me like a reflection of our identity. Since then I started buying more old dresses… Each thobe for me represents a story of the woman who wore it.”

[Courtesy: Rand Dabboor]
On 25 July of every year, Palestinians commemorate “Palestinian Traditional Dress Day”. Women and men walk the streets in colorful dresses singing traditional Palestinian songs that celebrate nature, land, and love.

Palestinian women celebrating the Palestinian Traditional Dress day on Jul 25, 2022. [Courtesy: Al-Bireh Municipality]
Dabboor explains, “The thobes have their own beauty, and each has its own different patterns, colors, and motifs. I buy the dresses because I feel like I have the obligation to preserve them.”

“When I find an old thobe, it brings joy to me. I try to look for [defects] in them so I can save them and bring them back to life.”

Dabboor gets inspiration from the patterns on the thobes, re-drawing them and adding them to the design she publishes as posts on her Instagram page, “to revive the thobes in a modern artistic way.”

Rand Dabboor’s art, courtesy of her Instagram page.

Dabboor believes that the thobe collection she owns tells a story of how thobes developed over the years. She says, “Holding on to our thobes is holding on to our roots.”

Listen to the full interview on Vibes.

Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 6 years of experience in journalism. She currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC-Palestine TV and Jerusalem24 radio. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna.

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