Israeli designer 'duped' Palestinian women into embroidering dress for NYFW

Israeli designer 'duped' Palestinian women into embroidering dress for NYFW
A group of Palestinian bedouin women have accused an Israeli designer of deceit after a gown embroidered for New York Fashion Week was sponsored by a movement condoning Jewish settlements.
2 min read
15 Sep, 2017
Palestinian bedouins claim they were unaware the dress was sponsored by an Israeli movement [Instagram/aviadarikherman]

A group of Palestinian Bedouin women say there were duped into embroidering a dress for an Israeli movement after a designer approached them for a partnership for New York Fashion Week.

Desert Embroidery, a team of seamstresses working for a local association promoting the empowerment of Bedouin women in the Negev, say they were not informed the project was sponsored by the OR Movement, an Israeli organisation that works to promote the resettlement of Israeli Jews to the Negev and the Galilee.

The women were approached by designer Aviad Arik Herman, who earlier this year made headlines when he designed a controversial gown depicting a "unified Jerusalem", worn by far-right Israeli culture minister Miri Regev at an international film festival.

According to Asma al-Saneh, head of the Lakia-based Association for the Improvement of Women's Status, Herman failed to mention that OR Movement was behind the initiative, describing his actions as "deceiving and dishonest".

"We regularly receive such requests from various designers and retailers in Israel - so this was not a one-time occurrence, and we had no problem assisting him [the designer]," Saneh told Al Jazeera.

"But we would have never agreed to do this had we known from the start who he was and who had sent him," she added. "We feel that our end product was misused."

According to Herman and OR Movement's CEO, Roni Flamer, the interaction from the beginning of the project was "authentic" and transparent, and both parties were aware of OR's involvement.

Saneh refutes the claim, saying it was a "surprise" to discover OR's involvement.

The embroidered gown received significant on social media, who dubbed the result as "cultural appropriation" due to the use of Palestinian embroidery on an Israeli design.

But according to Herman, it was meant to highlight the potential for coexistence in the Negev.