Free International Shipping on Orders of 5+ Kufiyas
Creating the original kufiya, since 1961.

Our Story

THE LAST KUFIYA FACTORY IN PALESTINE

THE LEGACY OF

Yasser Hirbawi

Over the last century the Kufiya has become synonymous with the quest for Palestinian freedom & self-determination. Although Hirbawi founder Yasser Hirbawi passed away in 2018, his three sons carry on the determination, passion, and commitment their father instilled in them, the business, and Palestinian supporters worldwide.⁠..

EXTERNAL PRESSURE AND THE

THREAT TO AUTHENTICITY

From the era of the British Empire to the Israeli occupation, the Kufiya has remained a symbol of resistance and sovereignty for the Palestinian people. 

Following the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords and the adoption of a free-market policy, the import of low-cost & mass-produced kufiyas made in China began to flood the markets worldwide. ⁠

And because of the Israeli occupation, a shrinking Palestinian economy and the Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks created further hindrances to the production and trade of Palestinian small businesses.⁠

NEW BEGINNINGS AND

THE REVIVAL OF THE KUFIYA

At the brink of collapse, the comeback of the Hirbawi Factory was a transition away from local sales in the Middle East, towards appealing to the rising giant of social media, and a growing online audience.

The Hirbawi Factory and its partners at Made In Palestine, a German organisation founded by Palestinians, established kufiya.org, a website that would be the primary means of the Hirbawi Factory selling its product online.

THE FUTURE OF HIRBAWI

WE WILL CONTINUE

After supporters of the Palestinian-made Hirbawi Kufiya brought the factory light, the international community responded. And the mission of the Hirbawi Family to preserve the Palestinian Kufiya was restored.

The Kufiya today is more than just a symbol of Palestinian heritage. Wearing the Kufiya has become an expression of resistance and rebellion against injustices of all kinds. A way to express solidarity with all those whose rights are stolen and whose voices are silenced. A colourful piece of fabric that speaks a thousand words.

The Hirbawi Factory continues its struggle to keep the factory going. We will continue. This is the fruit of 50 years of continuous work – it’s more than a business. We will remain competitive by continuing to produce the best quality Kufiya.

TAKE THE PHOTO TOUR

The Last Palestinian Kufiyas
The Hirbawi Textile Factory produces the iconic Kufiya, a patterned scarf worn around the Middle East. “It’s the last and the only factory”, says manager Abdul Hirbawi with some pride. Hanging in the factory’s small backroom shop, a colourful assortment of embroidered Palestinian kufiyas await their sale.
The Hirbawi Gate (Hebron, Palestine)
Located in the city of Hebron, (known in Arabic as Al-Khalil) the biggest city in Palestine’s West Bank. Hebron has been a hot spot of conflict in recent decades. Extremist Israelis have illegally settled in the centre of Hebron, leading to almost daily violence between settlers, Israeli soldiers, and Palestinian residents.
Inside the Factory
The factory is unassuming, tucked away on a quiet residential street. Inside are twenty industrial looms (both working and non-working) fill half of the florescent-lit warehouse. The working machines thump in constant motion, creating an insistent roar inside the building. Up until recently, the factory ran only half the machines because sales had been in steady decline since the 1990s.
Abed Keraki (Left) & Izzat Hirbawi (Right)
The factory was started over 60 years ago by Yasser Hirbawi, and is now run by his three sons and their family friend Abed Keraki. Peering over spools of thread are Abed and Izzat, who are responsible for the careful creation of each Hirbawi Kufiya design.
Black & White Kufiyas are prduced in the shop
Making up a majority of the factory’s sales, the black and white kufiya is referred to as the unofficial Palestinian flag, and carries deep meaning for many who wear it. The origin of its pattern is debated. It is said to represent a fishing net, a honeycomb, the joining of hands, or the marks of dirt and sweat wiped off a worker’s brow, among other things.
Factory Founder Yasser Hirbawi
With a cigarette in the factory's small backroom shop sits Yasser Hirbawi. He says the Kufiya is more popular than ever in Palestine. During the first Intifada, many avoided wearing it for fear of being arrested. But now, Kufiya is worn as a symbol of Palestinian culture and heritage. “It’s our past, future… it means everything”.
Factory is founded in 1961
In 2021, the Hirbawi Factory marked it's 60th anniversary. Yasser Hirbawi started the factory at the young age of 33, and began training his sons with the aim that the factory remain operated and run by the Hirbawi family for at least another generation.
Factory Shop Manager, Abdulla Hirbawi
One of three brothers, Abdulla Hirbawi gestures in front of the Palestinian flag, while talking about the factory’s struggles. He says solemnly, that for years sales have been steadily dropping due to the import of cheaper, though inferior, foreign-made scarves in the pattern of the kufiya.
Izzat Hirbawi Carefully Trims Extraneous Threads
Learning the looms is detailed work. The machines must be monitored constantly to make sure the finished products are fit for sale. Yasser Hirbawi says it took him 9 years to learn every part of the machines. Here, his son Izzat carefully trims the threads from a colorful kufiya in progress.
Nael AlQassis and Jouda Hirbawi
Friends for over a decade, Nael AlQassis stands side-by-side with the factory operations manager Jouda Hirbawi. Together the two business partners founded kufiya.org and hirbawi.ps, the ecommerce platforms that now generate most of the factory's revenues.
Colourful Threads are Spun for the New Designs
Opening up to a global market with the use of their new website, the Hirbawi team now develops new designs to produce modern Kufiyas in trendy colors based on the iconic heritage of Palestine. An everyday fashion item woven with meaning.
The Trusty Loom
Even with their father to teach them, it took the Hirbawi brothers more than five years to fully understand the complex industrial looms that produce the iconic kufiya patterns you see today.
Operational Looms Need Constant Attention
Abed Keraki works to loosen tangled thread, and get a loom back up and running. These gentlemen do all the repair work on the machines themselves. They say they will train only one of Yasser’s six grandchildren to run the factory. It is more important for the rest to go to university.
Repairs and Maintenance Work Play a Vital Role
While a loom pounds out a colorful palestinian flag kufiya, Izzat Hirbawi holds a thread in his mouth as he quickly replaces a spool. The many operational looms in the factory require constant attention.
Foreign kufiyas are often sold on the streets
A street vendor in Bethlehem offers foreign-made kufiyas to a group of tourists. Because kufiyas imported to the West Bank are typically loosely woven from cheaper material, they can cost a quarter of the price of an original kufiya. Sadly much of the profits goes to foreign corporations and little feeds the Palestinian locals.
Yasser Hirbawi Ponders on the Future
Yasser Hirbawi, now passed away, reflects on the story of Hirbawi. He describes working in the factory as a “battle,” as he and his family struggle to compete with cheaper producers across the globe. He concludes: “But what can we do? It’s our work and our life, and by God's will, we will never stop producing original kufiyas made in Palestine.”
Previous
Next

FROM PALESTINE. FOR PALESTINE.

LEARN MORE:

Why Hirbawi?

Our Mission

weekly blog