How is the keffiyeh scarf made?

The same ancient quality of garment that farmers sought as protection against the Palestinian sun and harsh desert mornings is woven with care and precision into each Hirbawi Keffiyeh.

The Hirbawi keffiyeh stands apart from any other shemagh in the world. It is produced in the last of the surviving keffiyeh workshops of Palestine. Here the keffiyeh is a national treasure, an irreplaceable part of the history and culture of the area.

The art of making the Hirbawi keffiyeh begins in much the same way it has for thousands of years. A premium blend of cotton and wool is selected for the weaving process before the strains are dyed to form the choice fabric for which the Hirbawi Keffiyeh is so treasured.

Although production methods have moved on from the old wooden looms of generations past there is much more making a Hirbawi keffiyeh than simply setting the correct tension and plotting out the general pattern and weave by computer. This is an art that relies on sheer experience and human touch passed on from generation to generation. If an artist's job is to fill the void that a machine can't, the Hirbawi keffiyeh is arguably Palestine's most important piece of vestiary art.

The thread that runs through this all is the uncompromising focus of the Al Hirbawi brothers. Wherever you might stand on the issues of Palestine, there comes a point at which a deep enough love for something has a place in the wider human story. Like their father, before them, they keep a hand on the whole production process. Much of the pattern-making of a Hirbawi keffiyeh, for instance, happens after the mechanical loom has done its job and thus the tradition still requires a great deal of manual oversight. This is key to ensuring the quality standard remains its finest.

To avoid extinction much has energy and time has been sacrificed too. The Al Hirbawi brothers have borne up against numerous challenges to keep the Hirbawi keffiyeh as a symbol of quality and innovation, not least the flooding of the global market with low-quality imports from China, which many mistakenly call keffiyeh. Shutting down the Hirbawi Keffihey factory was never a question on their minds, even when most would call it a common-sense move. Today, the brother's Al Hirbawi still oversees every step of the process, and beyond that they've created more variety in their cloth than ever before.

The real thing comes once in a lifetime. The Hirbawi Kufiya is a testament to a sense of style and originality and also a longstanding ethic of hard work devoted to keeping this ancient garment alive. Indeed, this is the only cloth that deserves the name of the keffiyeh. Replicas that bear no resemblance to the Hirbawi Keffiyeh, either in quality give no notion of what it means to wear a true keffiyeh. Now we're proud to say that the Hirbawi keffiyeh has found its rightful place, as all authentic things eventually do.

The Hirbawi Keffiyeh headscarf is a symbol of a way of life. Not only of perseverance, but also innovation and a sense of beauty that is as old as the desert itself.


  • abra

    I have one of these shemaghs. The knot came undone and I want to put it back together. Can someone advise how these are to be tied?


  • Cate M

    Is it correct that you are making a poly type scarf? What happened to cotton/wool blend? I am interested in original yarns/threads and think my very old one is combo of cotton/wool. Is there anyone who has this information? I am very sorry to hear you are making any sort of synthetic product, if you are.

  • Flesch Norbert

    This all sounds nice, but can anyone tell me what happened to Hirbawi factory? Why are they producing or at least selling synthetic scarves advertised as 100% cotton. Judging from their Amazon reviews I see that it has been going on for at least a few years now . Was this always the case?

  • Thom Flaherty

    keep up the good work

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