shemagh

So I hopped on the Euro-hipster bandwagon and ordered a shemagh from some ebay dude based on Cairo (which is pretty cool).

I won’t have it for 2-3 weeks since it is so far away, but I’m pretty excited.

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68 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    It’s a kafiya or keffiyah, but whatever. Shemagh is an Anglicized name invented by British soldiers in the Second World War. Also, you could’ve just gone to your handy UO store as they recently started selling keffiyahs in their spring line under the name “Anti-War Scarf”. Jumped on that trend just a little too late, sketchy.

  2. 2

    wealleatpasta said,

    I’ve heard it generally called a shemagh in the states, and as I am an ignorant white American I will call it so boii.

    I in not way consider myself superfashion forward. UO had these anti-war scarfs last season and pulled them because of ridiculous controversy. Now they have similar scarves in non-traditional patterns this season and call them “fringe scarves” and they are pretty hideous.

    But this one is in the traditional pattern which i think it cool, and I’d rather have my money go towards a random dood in Cairo than UO.

  3. 3

    chrisfiore5 said,

    hello this is not hip, just dropped by to check out the latest entry in your blog… and I thought it was! peace.

  4. 4

    caolan tierney said,

    I am personally disappointed in people when i see emos and every other scene see a shemagh as just a fashion accesory, when its worn intentially for palestine solidarity.

  5. 5

    Matt said,

    I think it looks pretty quool!

  6. 6

    CT said,

    I think it looks really cute, if you like it wear it that’s all that matters. People get too caught up in what others think of it, it looks great on you!

  7. 7

    Wes said,

    I wear a shemagh, and I wasn’t aware of any “cool” or “uncool” quotient associated with it until I saw some more ranting on the internet (see first comment). They’re comfortable, they are cheap and they work. I’m sold. Which is not to say that I don’t understand the anger from having a symbol of solidarity co-opted by a culture that has no concern for your cause, but that’s capitalism and a global society. Blame the Industrial Revolution.

  8. 8

    Hass said,

    It’s called a Kufiyeh (spelled in different ways since it’s translated from Arabic). It’s a scarf that has been traditionally worn in the Arab countries in the Middle East. It has turned into a symbol of solidarity and resistance for the Palestinians. The fact that this political and cultural symbol is being marketed for hipsters across the world is disgusting. It’s not the first time the fashion industry has taken some article of cultural significance and marketing it for the masses.

  9. 9

    dan said,

    i think its an insult westeners werering the shemagh it worn by people in the middel east i lived in turkey for many years and i c kurdish men wereing them arab men and my best freind who wos a kurdish man wereing it he gave me a hand made kurdish shemagh a oringe one i come back from turkey to the uk seinng wemen wereing them i think its an insult wemen wereing the shemagh it worn by men

  10. 10

    melanie said,

    i love that pic.. im going to buy some new ones myself .. h&m has some but not much and i dont think its an insult they’re soo cute and they mean absolutely nothing its just a trend, im not disrespecting anyone by wearing it and i have my freedom and rights too

  11. 11

    lulu said,

    i recently bought one from forever21 online store and im loving it , i have had people come up to me to ask where i bought it . im looking to buy more in different colors …. i do not find it offensive

  12. 12

    John Doe said,

    I just recently bought 2, one that was plain coyote and the other coyote with back(kinda like yours). Great pic by the way.
    While this may have taken some sort of political meaning with others, to me it’s just what it was originally meant to be, a piece of cloth with a use. My only problem right now is trying to tie it as a face mask.

  13. 13

    tm said,

    i’m going to buy one because the wind here is really harsh and cold but i don’t know what colors to get.

  14. 14

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  15. 15

    bahaha said,

    I think now that the shemagh has been in mass market, it probably does a complete 180 and is now officially for Isrealie support, whatcha think? I am all for it. Palestine does not exist anymore, get over it.

  16. 16

    kevin thomas said,

    the popularity of shemags is good. people will see them like them and educate themselves on the culture. it is a good way to get islamic culture into the mainstream. they are one of the fastest growing religions. if i were from the mid east, i would like the fact that my culture was being seen in a positive light considering all of the misunderstandings about the middle east.

  17. 17

    you should have had a look on our webshop first :o)

  18. 18

    Khalid said,

    Us Arabs own these scarfs then evry1 wants to be like us by wearin them copyin us, wear yur own shit!!!!!

  19. 19

    Marley said,

    I know what kind of political statement may stand for shemagh and I’m also aware that it is worn by a lot of people in most of the Middle Eastern nations. Shemagh is a traditional wear and can be versatile as well not only in the deserts; plus it looks good! So I really don’t see how it is a problem to wear that scarf; it’s just like wearing a tartan skirt doesn’t make you a Scottish or wearing a shirt with Che Guevara’s face on it doesn’t make you a communist. Com’on, after all they’re just a piece of clothes, why does it have to be so complicated?

  20. 20

    John Keen said,

    Khalid, you sound like an idiot by saying what you’ve said. No one owns a fashion trend or style.

    For those repeatedly stating that the keffiyah is a solidarity thing, please understand these things have been around for far longer than any nationalist/solidarity movement. If members of the solidarity movement have been able to re-interpret a classic Arab garb as a symbol of solidarity, you can just as well re-interpret it into whatever you feel like. Wear it for whatever reason you like even if you don’t assign a particular message to it. If you like wearing it, good for you! Don’t allow someone to attribute only cultural significance to the keffiyah. I own one, and for me, it has nothing to do with Palestinians. I like wearing it. Period.

    There’s nothing wrong with the solidarity interpretation, but I believe clothing can’t be “monopolized” (i.e., assigned a single meaning). You wear whatever you feel like.

  21. 21

    KHALED said,

    THIS VERY NICE
    I AM ARBI AND I AM VERY HAPPY FOR THIS
    THANK YOU AND SEE YOO…

  22. 22

    hot said,

    nice f o p a

  23. 23

    kevin said,

    Typically, the black and white is the one surrounded in controversy, I believe it also bears a distinct pattern. They are worn by British Special Forces for a long time.

    Overall, I think there fashion does not necessarily have to back any political statement, unless you want it too. People have also proven to be quite capable of seeing what they want to see and how they want to see it.

    If you’re walking down the street wearing camouflage pants, are you anti-war/military or pro-war/military? The answer is seems to lie in the observer.

  24. 24

    Tom said,

    The black & white kaffiyah has been worn by palestinians as a symbol of their independance and I can honour that but anyone who wears them because they think they are fashion is just stupid. I see them in pink and purple and orange and thats just defeating the point. The Kurds wore red as an item of significance against the turkish army in the wars. I wear the red one and i know what it means, stop these retarded emos wearing pink kaffiayahs thinking it looks cool. :|

  25. 25

    Aaron said,

    ok see what i dont get is why shemaghs (thats what I like to call them) are being worn as some fashion thingy-ma-bob I use them all the time for paint-ball, Air soft, hunting and tons of other stuff not cuz they look bad ass (which they do) but because they WORK. It bugs me when people take something made to keep sun, sand and blood off ur face change its name and call it an ANTI-WAR scraf and turn it into a fashion trend. its a shemagh! It should be used for what its meant to be used for!
    and I would not consider them “cloths” there more or less combat gear and/or utility headware.

    and it also has some pretty deep traditionly meanings to alot of people so RESPECT THAT! it dosnt matter it you dont believe the way they do. its just rude to obuse someones tradition like that. if i was wareing one and someone asked me to remove it cuz it offened them I would cuz to some people there culture is more important to them then anything and we should all respect that.

    so long story short… use it hows it should be used or just dont use it at all.

  26. 26

    Mike said,

    i like them because they are very similar to many types of scarves and turbans made and worn by the Maya in Guatemala, only they come in earth tones (instead of Maya technicolor) and are extremely functional for hunting and desert hiking, 2 of my favorite pastimes. people should definitely try and buy them from traditional weavers, I think that respect to the culture they came from.
    Oh, and saying that only certain groups should use them is absurd. It’s like saying that only Europeans can wear pants because they invented them to ride horses.

  27. 27

    John said,

    Okay, I have a few points here:

    1. Your pic is really cute with the shemagh/keffiyah/whatever you want to call it.

    2. To say that it is a plitical statement of Palestinian solidarity is ignoring millions of others. It is worn in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, et cetera. If you can convince me a shepherd in Afghanistan, who has never seen a TV or bought mass-produced clothing, wears a shemagh just to promote Palestinian unity I think I would eat my own shoe.

    3. There are a bunch of websites that can tell you how to tie it. I think the most important thing is that if you find a way to tie it that works and feels good, go with it. It is a good, functional, cheap piece of gear that you use for so many different things.

    Good luck and enjoy!
    John
    holzmanj9@yahoo.com

  28. 28

    ALAN said,

    Hey folks, I am in Afghanistan right now. Shemags are nothing more
    than a multi purpose, functional item worn by men and women here.
    Think cowboys bandana, of course they are cool. I have sent 20 or so
    home to friends and family and I wear one here myself. True, some
    patterns and colors apparently symbolize if one has completed a trip to
    Mecca or not in some cultures. I think alot of folks out there are making a big deal out of nothing. If you like them, as I do, buy a bunch. They are cheap and handy.

  29. 29

    Vet said,

    I wore one when I was stationed in the lovely vacation spot of the middle east
    for over four years. I now wear one when I go hunt, as it turns out Coyotes
    see red as a deep yellow. I also use them as a sweat rag, and a towel when I
    go camping. All of you folks out there that say you wear them as an anti-war
    thing, what ever. Stop pretending that you are more evolved than the rest of
    us. You are the squatters of society, you use and and abuse your rights, and
    then preach how much better you are than those of us that have actually done
    something for our nations (both sides). Fine wear your pink and orange
    shemagh, and if it helps you sleep at night to tell yourself that you are
    supporting HAMMAS and not Israel, or Al-Queda instead of the USA or Britain,
    fine, but before you start with your drivel about this and that, pick up a rifle
    and go to those places and people you condemn. Otherwise put a cork in it.

  30. 30

    daniel pleeps said,

    im an army cadet nd loads of us wear them wen we go on camps nd excirsise nd they work both for keeping you warm nd camoflage nd keeping your neck clean it means less cam cream

  31. 31

    David said,

    Long live Palestine!

  32. 32

    robfindlay said,

    The military side of it started with the British SAS when they wanted to blend in with the locals, then later they used them in combat because of there utility.

    The Keffiya is worn all over the middle-east generally in the red/white and black/white pattern but a simple square of the same fabric without a pattern used the same way is also a Keffiya.

    Black and white because of Arafat has come to be a symbol of Palestinian identity and solidarity.

    People everywhere wear them for the political reasons OR for the sheer utility, hence the SAS and other special forces units adopting them.

    A keffiya will keep the sun, wind and sand off of your skin, in the cold it provides insulation, in the heat it wicks sweat away and helps cool you do to evaporative cooling. The “insurgent mask” as it has become identified as is how one would wear it to protect your ENTIRE face. They have been around for hundreds of years.

    Used to be if I saw a westerner wearing one I thought either he was well traveled or a soldier just back from somewhere in the sandbox.

    Wear it if you like the way it looks, or you like it’s functionality or if you wish to show solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

    If someone tries to tell you that it is representative of Islamic fundamentalism kick them in the balls and get on with you day.

    -Rob
    http://robfindlay.org

  33. 33

    duy said,

    she looks cute in it and likes wearing it (which is what really counts).

    personally, all the talk about culture and politics sounds like “blah, blah, blah” to me. i’m vietnamese, living in america, and also own one. the social context doesn’t effect me since i’m obviously a world away.

    i wear mine with goggles while hiking across dune fields and playas of the Mojave/Sonora Desert. it makes dust/sand storms easier to breathe in. isn’t That its true meaning anyways?

  34. 34

    Dawud said,

    funny, everyone likes to say “i wore it before i heard it was cool. it’s cheap and comfortable”

    Bull.
    You didn’t go up on some muslim clothing website or to a muslim store and pick up something you’ve never even heard of because it’s comfortable, not cool.

    I don’t really mind that it’s become fashionable, but it’s just funny how ironic it is to see women wearing a male’s piece of clothing. I guess the closest comparison is imagining a man in a short skirt. [This applies to women wearing keffiyeh's in support of palestine as well as the trendy-trendy westerners]

  35. 35

    Riot Officer said,

    Heh, I have two of those now!

    One red, one green and black. If you ask me, I think they’re fantastic scarves! I’m not surprised that they have made their way into the world of fashion.

    As the clothing industry tends to be inspired more and more by military clothing and patterns, plus the British intervention in the middle east, it was inevitable that the Shemagh (or otherwise) would find itself wrapped around the neck of today’s alternative youth.

    Further more, you needn’t order one from Cairo, there are plenty sold in army surplus shops around the UK, I got two for 16 pounds! Bargain!

    PS: The scarf suits you!

  36. 36

    Bushman Dan said,

    I have an olive and black shemagh/keffiyah, and wear it when I’m out wild camping and bushcrafting, as they are fantasticially versitile garments; I certainly don’t give a flying fuck whether it looks cool or not to emo-kids.

    And yes, no culture can “own” any garment – like the good point made about only us Europeans being allowed to wear trousers, as it was we who invented them for horseriding! Ridiculous.

  37. 37

    Anon passing by said,

    I’ve been looking up scarves on eBay to wear to school because of the cold rainy weather and the cheapest ones (that look nice) are these ones. I have never heard of the scarfs before and about its cultural significance or anything. I’m going to buy a few because its cheap, as well as looking nice (can’t beat that combination) and of course should keep me warm through the cold weather at school.

    Would I be offending anyone if I wore it to school?

  38. 38

    steve said,

    im getting one and wearing it people and think everybody should have one for free bcus here if you wear it your looked at by the police as a terrorist doesnt matter if your arab or not and just a scarf no matter what political message is attached to it, our message is we can wear it here pigs and doesnt matter what you classify us as i see that if alot ppl wore them then they would know which way there ass is up fuk em

  39. 39

    gambler said,

    who fucking cares its a symbol of this and that who fuckin cares look at you people getting twisted over a god damn scarf. they have been used in hundreds of things from revolution to fashion who really cares if she likes it and wants to call it whatever she wants then she will. but in all this you people criticizeing her is just retarded you people need something in your lives other than the internet cause you people dont know how to use ur time wisely.

    p.s. i know there are gramatical and spelling errors. so dont inform me also i know im useing the internet the same and i keep telling myself i need a more eventful life.

  40. 40

    Silas said,

    I’m of the mind that if you like it, buy one. Who cares if some jack off behind a keyboard posing as the arbiter of hip finds it objectionable? Anonymous Internet personalities don’t live with me, I don’t work with them, and I don’t have to answer to them.

    Also, it’s called a shemagh OR A KEFFIYEH, they are synonymous. There’s no better word or more correct word for it so there’s no use in correcting people that call it a shemagh. If you want to buy one and you search for “shemagh” you will find what you’re looking for.

    Also, Westernizing a Palestinian symbol shouldn’t offend anyone but Palestinians. …and even they have more important things to worry about.

  41. 41

    LS said,

    Anyways, Soldier here, being as all of this controversy is being brought up, common wear in most of the middle east, it was only a matter of time with the renewed interest in Arab culture, lots of guys wear these down range as an effective means to keep sand out of the facial orifices

  42. 42

    Yvan said,

    To answer the first post, Shmagh has nothing to do with an Anglicized name! Most Native English speakers can’t even pronounce it properly…
    The name (ya)shmagh comes from Turkish: yaƟmak “tied thing”, and didn’t have to wait for WWII to exist!
    At the end of the day it’s just a scarf, so there is no reason why anyone couldn’t wear it. And i don’t think anyone would be offended if you wear it. Just like i don’t think anyone would be offended if you eat dates.

  43. 43

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  44. 44

    aaron said,

    I own a olive drab and black one bought from an army surplus store. I knew the significance of the different colors and being non-palestinian and particularly Anti-hamas(I have lost family members to terrorists) i bought one in the colors that the US and UK military wear as a way to show support to the troops over there. I live in in Boston a very windy city and it works great at keeping the chill away on cold days.

  45. 45

    I might be wrong (doesn’t happen too often. . . .) but my understanding is that a “keffiya” is a skull cap which is worn under a “ghutra” which is the head scarf on top of which is placed a double banded black cord called an agal.

    I am certain about the Agal and Ghutra part as some Saudi friends gave me a set. When I heard about keffiya I assumed it was scarf but in a different Arabic dialect. But most recently I saw it referred to as the Moslem skull cap.

    A Moslem Internet-based clothing store uses Ghutra and Shemag interchangeably and refers to the skull cap as a gaffiya which to my ear sounds close enough to keffiya to make me thing they are one and the same.

  46. 46

    Adi said,

    Nice Keffiyeh, it looks good on you.

    I was looking for some time to get one, now I have the adresse

  47. 48

    JohnnyH73 said,

    I have had one for several years, which is the “sand” colour they issue to British forces in Afghanistan. Mine was sent from a friend there. It is quite warm and keeps the wind off my face. And as an anthropological note: things like this have been worn in every single semi-arid society in all of history. So no-one can claim it as “theirs”.

  48. 49

    Ayal said,

    The Keffiayah is a Middle-East head covering and has no meaning of solidarity. I have one in blue and white with a star of David pattern and the words (in Hebrew) “The people of Israel live” on all four borders. If Westernizing or Israelizing a so-called Palestinian symbol offends someone there is no “right” to not be offended.

  49. 50

    John said,

    u.s. troops are some-times issued shemghs or can buy them at some but not all base stores. also anti-war scarf it may be-called by some but it mainly used by military groups.
    oh and they are not just used by Palestinians the jewish have been useing them just as long if not longer.

  50. 51

    May said,

    Have a lot of you people ever considered that some Westerns actually know that the Keffiyeh is a symbol of solidarity and resistance for the Palestinians and they wear it to show their support to Palestine, and for hope that maybe there will be peace over there one day.
    Not all of us are ignorant idiots, I have one and wear it, but I’m not mocking them, I feel for those people. And it’s sadly one of the only things I can do here to show that support.
    Please, don’t assume everyone who wears one is trying to mock Palestine.

    Also, it looks good on you Laura.

  51. 52

    Silas said,

    I have a Palestinian flag pin that I wear on my sports coats for the same reason. I know that it’s not helping any of them for me to wear it, but it’s no different than slapping a “support our troops” ribbon on your car.

  52. 53

    fuck yall its todd said,

    Its just a rag like the one that most of you have up your twat I have one and use it like its intended to stop the sun from ravaging your skin and keeping the dust out of your mouth get over your self and worry about falling america good day.

  53. 54

    fuck yall its todd said,

    Its just a rag like the one that most of you have up your twat I have one and i use it like its intended to stop the sun from ravaging your skin and keeping the dust out of your mouth get over your self and worry about falling america good day.

  54. 55

    Allah said,

    Islam is peace, the culture of the original man, the true face of islam is that of the original man…the “Shemagh”(at time incorrectly dubbed “turban”) is utilized by the arab in the hills and deserts of the middle east… P.roper E.ducation A.lways C.orrects E.rror(PEACE!)

  55. 56

    larry said,

    Fuck islam. mohammed wasn’t a prophet, he was a pedophile. You muslim assholes can all go fuck yourselves. And another thought before I go. Your boy toy bin laden isn’t in paradise. No 72 virgins. His stinking corpse is rotting in the bottom of the sea (I felt they should have buried him with dead pigs). Your false prophet is in hell where belongs.

  56. 57

    May said,

    It’s sad how much hate there is here.

    You. Larry, are no better than the people you despise. Yes, Bin Laden was not a good person, and yes, I don’t agree with everything the Qu’ran says. But I don’t hate all Muslims, because I happen to disagree with some of their beliefs. Everyone is entitled to worship whatever God they wish.

    Hatred is a vile thing. Grow up.

  57. 58

    Tucker said,

    I’d like to believe there was a time when clothing was judged based on its usefulness, not based on ridiculous fashion or symbolic thought. Because what I see here is an attack on all of western culture over a clothing accessory that existed long before the religion or politics, that some of you are pissy about, even existed.

  58. 59

    heatwave said,

    I don’t see it as any political statement. it’s a large bandana for pete’s sake. I bought one to wear doing yard work and hiking. It keeps the sun off my face and ears and neck, soaked in water is like wearing an air conditioner. Loks fashionable when wrapped around the neck, but personally don’t care for fashion. I got it to serve a purpose, it is a loose weave material so breathes in the summer.

  59. 60

    armygrl said,

    I have a real one that I shed blood sweat and tears for in Afghanistan. Do I wear it here because it’s cool? No, I scoff at ppl who do, who have no idea what it’s actual use is.

  60. 61

    Jay said,

    I. S.elf L.ord A.nd M.aster – A.rm L.eg L.eg A.rm H.ead

  61. 62

    The dude said,

    To me its a symbol of revolution and thats why i would wear one, not because there “fashionable”. Also it is very useful in desert environments even if you just work outside in the hot weather, if you wear around your face it keeps you cool and soaks up sweat. In the winter when your deer hunting it keeps your face from becoming a popsicle.

  62. 63

    Z said,

    im african american and puerto rican.its a scarf.get over it.it protects i from the sun and cold.to mi it symbolizes mi seperation from america.pp see it and automaticaly think mi muslim or a terrorist.fools.

  63. 64

    Z said,

    especially today.911.i cant wear mi own headwrap without getn snarls and evil looks

  64. 65

    Charles Tinman said,

    here we go again placing judgement on what people wear. The shemagh has been worn through history in arab countries. It is not tied to any one sect or religious belief. People use the excuse to hide their fear of what they don’t understand. Even the British wear this garment. It is your ignorance of other cultures that produce your racist epithet. Whatever made you stupid to others in this world is working. And if you have a smart remark, 2 things….. You can find my sympathy for you between shit and syphilis in the dictionary, and my middle finger can answer the rest of your questions.

  65. 66

    Eric said,

    I wore one when I got deployed to Afghanistan. It wasn’t a fashion statement, it was to keep sand and sun out of my face. It was wartime clothing. I still have mine, and it still smells like sweat and gun smoke The fact that people wear it as a designer fashion is laughable.

  66. 67

    Ramonita said,

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  67. 68

    Dianne said,

    I’m not sure why but this blog is loading extremely slow for me.
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