Feb 8, 2008


SEATTLE, Washington – My blog mugshot was a 2005 joke in Jordan. I did not realize it was au courant. Tres au courant.

I apologize wholeheartedly. Thirty-somethings have no business with fads, except to tut at them over a glass of pinot noir.

The horrible moment of discovery: while reporting on a Wadi Rum electronica festival, I joked the keffiyeh was the next hot rave accessory. But it turns out they already are. No wonder young Andy was wearing one at the branch library ...

This link provokes the most sniggers. But The Village Voice analysed the issue more coherently, way back in 2005 when us – ahem – trendsetters donned the Middle Eastern garb: "They've been around since the 1970's ... and last year TopShop and Urban Outfitters began stocking and promoting the scarves, causing a backlash that forced the stores to pull the items. Ironically, considering the item's contentious message, Urban Outfitters titled the product Antiwar Woven Scarf'."

Nina Lalli's piece continued: "Pro-Palestinian activists usually drape them loosely over their shoulders, as was recently seen at antiwar protests. World-music types bunch them to make a regular, long scarf, as girls did in the '80s. And the hippest kids fold the square in half to make a triangle and gather it around the neck, center point-down over their chests. This is similar to the way U.S. and British troops wear the scarves in Iraq and Afghanistan—to protect the face in sandstorms. (In that context, the keffiyeh is called a shemagh.) It may be no different in spirit from wearing camouflage, but it's certainly more likely to raise eyebrows."

A year or so later The New York Times noticed the keffiyeh kraze, in time to note its passing. Go newspaper of record! Go, go goooooooooo!


  1. Here's one alternative:


  2. I'm thinking the next fashion trend should be the burqa for men.

  3. B, thanks, that's fascinating, especially this:

    "The youth section of the Hamburg German-Israeli Society has announced an Palitüch amnesty. All you have to do is post yours in* - regardless of what colour they are - and you could win an “equally trendy and colourful scarf made by American Apparel”.

    Given the sex scandals surrounding American Apparel CEO Dov Charney, I'm not sure it's the best spin, though.

  4. Louche, yes, you have my vote.

    We'll start bagging 'em up with the aforementioned Mr Charney, who insists "There is no evidence to say that you can’t walk around in your underwear all day anywhere in the United States of America."

  5. When I think of it, I really don't want to see most of the world in their underpants. Thank goodness for clothes.

  6. sascha1:52 AM

    Political dressing is de-rigoreur, my friends. Topshop is at the forefront. I marvel at this beauty, the perfect clash between anti-war, pro- Islam and ditch-feminism masterpiece. The result is, funnily enough, deeply feminist: "I am who I am and I stick up my middle finger at A-line skirts and nice girls."


  7. ISLAMOfashion -- a hilarious mock-umentary KABOBfest.com created about the kuffiyeh kraze. You've got to check it out!

  8. Sascha: I have never been sadder over a broken link. Petal, can you email me the URL? I might be able to html this rebel fashion manifesto across the Interwebs...

    Emily: your link rocked the kasbah so hard, I made a lazy-arse post all about it. Shukran!

  9. sascha5:09 AM

    The link works, petal....copy the whole thing, including the -1 and visit the...Cropped Hareem Pants

  10. Sweet child of mine, naughty Blogger has taken to chopping off the end of commented URLS in Firefox for Mac, so I can't cut and paste. Very strange.

    But I searched onto the offending site with your on-the-mean-streets intel.

    And may I just say this: for far less than 22 quid, I will scrunch up anyone's cheap sweatpants to achieve this same crop length harem pant effect.

    (What the heck do you Lime-washed folk call "sweatpants"? They're not exactly tracksuits ... "Tacky jersey trousers, perhaps?")