GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Gaza fashion designers Khalil Khudair and Aya Eid are the team behind a new fashion house in the Gaza Strip that offers fashion design and tailoring courses.
The house offers a two-month course in fashion production using the latest methods and modern equipment.
The Gaza Strip relies heavily on imported clothing, but the trainees hope to create distinctive designs that can compete in the market.
While training on a sewing machine at Khalil & Aya Fashion House, intern Zakiya Akila told Al-Monitor that she aspired to study fashion design after graduating from high school. , but since Palestinian universities did not offer the subject as a major, she had no choice but to major in interior design.
She said that as soon as she heard about the house, she rushed to sign up, adding, “I aspire to be a fashion designer and leave my mark on the market.”
Expressing her sadness at the state of fashion in Gaza due to the Israeli blockade and the difficult economic conditions which mean few people can afford designer clothes, Akila said she hopes things will change and that the demand for design in Gaza increases.
Magdi Sroor is another intern who works at a sewing factory that contracts with Israeli companies to produce clothes. He told Al-Monitor he joined the course because he wanted to learn fashion and design and have a higher income. He said he worked 12 hours a day for $9.
He says he learned many skills during the course and hopes to design clothes for the ready-to-wear market. Sroor aspires to open a small tailoring factory and design clothes that are accessible to consumers and tailored to Palestinian tastes.
Khudair, the co-director, told Al-Monitor that he decided to open the fashion house late last year with Eid to help students learn the skills needed to work in the fashion industry. fashion.
He pointed out that fashion design requires taste, knowledge of design basics and ideas that work in a particular production environment. He also hopes to help young people find a source of income in the face of deteriorating living conditions in Gaza.
Khudair explained that he and his partner Eid have extensive experience in fashion design, including design, pattern making, fabric selection, construction and tailoring.
Khudair studied fashion design in Jordan, graduating in 1996 and launching his own brand in 2000. In 2014 he started teaching abroad.
He pointed out that the global fashion design industry is growing day by day and there is a need to keep up to date with the latest techniques. He said he is in contact with international fashion houses to explore partnership potential.
Khudair explained that her goal is to change the stereotype that local products are inferior, saying local clothing production in Gaza is sophisticated and competitive. He pointed out that garments made in Gaza are exported to Israel and the West Bank.
Her partner, Eid, told Al-Monitor that she decided to share her sewing experience with those who want to learn it in Gaza. She learned sewing online in Egypt.
She explained that the house offers two levels of classes. In the basic course, which runs three days a week for two months, students learn the basics of design, pattern making, construction and sewing. In the five-week advanced course, students learn more fashion design and sewing techniques. Upon completion of this course, students are able to design evening dresses and tuxedos.
Eid said the house has educated dozens of students of various ages, including young men and women, seniors and people with special needs.
She explained that only 10 students can enroll in each class because the number of sewing machines available is limited.
She added that the courses cost $125, a nominal fee considering all the information and training provided to students during the course.
Asked about the difficulties they face as designers, Eid noted that the poor economic conditions in Gaza make it difficult for the students to pay even the low tuition fees and for the house to provide the computers whose students need to use design programs as well as several kinds of fabrics.
She said her ambition was to create a distinctive clothing line in the Gaza Strip that would eventually be exported overseas and to hire its own graduates.