Quora requested me to answer this question of Mark L. Levinson and 3 others. How has Palestinian traditional clothing changed over time? My answer is here below and I would be happy to have all views and comments, experts in the subject included.
I am no expert in anthropology neither in sociology but I shall endeavour to give what I learned from the multitude of friends I encountered whilst staying and working in the Gulf countries.
The Palestinians like all other peoples around the Mediterranean basin, dressed throughout their history in a wide range of cloths, fabrics and designs. These had variations according to the specifics of the region or town and were of course under the influence of every power that ruled them to date.
There were times of rebellion and times of conciliation and / or reconciliation. For instance, during the times of the presence of the Jewish tribes loitering around well before the advent of nation states, one could not tell a Palestinian from a Jew; they had the same accoutrement. And we are told that they do share the same DNA characteristics.
This went on for some centuries but after the people of the latter as mesmerized by the power and wealth left for Europe in pursuit of the retreating Romans, the fashion had reverted back to that of that of the pre-Roman times.
The following Byzantine period shone little bit in the same way but in a much sterner extravagance. This was soon to be followed by the successive Arab Kalifates with a total departure from the above through a more oriental vista onto the world.
More recently, it is the Ottomans that left an indelible mark on the men and women of the region with their floating robes, headdresses, shoes, etc.
The British didn’t have time to bear any pronounced mark but they did influence the rich and the wealthy in opening the routes of emigration to Europe and later on to America.
The Israelis today being themselves from as diverse an origin cannot imprint a definite style. Could this be at the root of the on-going conflict? Europe is not that far off and its eastern and central regions from which most of these originate from come second to their western counterparts in terms of numbers. Hence a more adversarial attitude that is not conducive to a more effective influence.
Asia with all its ICTs is just around the corner. Social media carry the load in the latest fashion in investment ideas swaps.
America is on the other hand on the other side of the world, but Hollywood isn’t, with all those brave action films heroes in fatigues, baseball caps and all, lambasting each other mercilessly with oversized machines. Closer to us still, there is this multitude per the above, that is housed, looked after relatively well in all GCC countries, but that is another story that could be told on a different occasion.
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