Keffiyehs or kufiyas are a customary Middle Eastern turban formed from a square-shaped scarf, typically of cotton material. It is also referred to as the shemagh, hattah, mashadah, ghutrah, cemedani, or chafiye. We see them being worn typically by Arabs, as well as by Iranic nomads (particularly Kurds) and by several Mizrahi Jews. These are commonly seen in regions that are very dry as they safeguard against sunburn, sand, and dust. While its unique pattern, which is the ordinary woven checkered, is presumed to have originated from a Mesopotamian representation in the old days of either ears of grain or fishing nets, the actual origin of the pattern is still undertermined.
Varieties and Distinctions
This piece of cloth is made of wool and cotton of white/black/orange, and worn mostly by Palestinians. The mixture of wool and cotton causes these keffiyehs to get dry quickly and, if desired, maintaining the head warm.
The shemagh dates back to a very old Middle Eastern tradition of wearing a headgear. A piece of material, usually cotton or flax as well decorated with lots of colors, but very often red as well as white, which is primarily used by Saudi Arabians in addition to Jordanians. Jordanian keffiyehs come in decorative cotton, otherwise wool tassels, along the sides; the larger such tassels, the higher the supposed value of the garment as well the distinction of its wearer.
A piece of cotton mild white cloth, donned in the western parts of Iraq as well as by the Arabs belonging to the Persian gulf regions.
This type of keffiyeh is typical among the North Africans and Egyptians.
Men, regardless of their age, wear the keffiyeh as a headgear or about the shoulders.
The Keffiyeh Fashion Trend
Similar to some other wartime wardrobe, for instance the fatigues, khaki pants, and T-shirts, keffiyehs have become a very popular pieces of clothing in the West and among non-Arabs. Keffiyehs were introduced in the US towards the end of the 198os, when the First Intifada took place and punks along with Bohemian girls started wearing keffiyehs like scarves about their necks. In early 2000s, the keffiyeh became highly popular among the younger ones in Tokyo, and they often wore them alongside camouflage clothing. Such a fashion trend resurfaced in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia in mid-2000 when keffiyehs became a popular fashion accessory, often used like a scarf all-around the neck in hipster groups. Although it is usually worn to represent unity with the struggle of Palestinians, the fashion world has made use of its style and pattern in everyday clothing design.