Two Neighbors is an ethical fashion label bringing together Israeli and Palestinian women to make beautiful clothes and help bridge a history of divisiveness and hate.
Where are the Two Neighbors manufacturing facilities located?
The embroidery is made in Palestine villages and then the final garment is sewn in Tel-Aviv.
How open are the women to work with their neighbors?
Palestinian women have to get permits to go into Israel. Israeli women are not supposed to go into Palestine so just dealing that causes huge problems and causes delays. Meetings are usually held at Everest Hotel, which although it is in the West Bank, Israelis usually feel comfortable going there for meetings. That place is known for being pretty neutral meeting ground. When things get too tense politically, roads are closed in the West Bank, the women can’t get to the meetings, and TN can’t get pieces back and forth.
As the women got to know each other from both sides, stories about dealing with husbands were shared. The money both sides are making is the first time some of them have had their own money. It is bringing a bit of women’s liberation to the village women – they have money and now have a voice in the finances of the family. We think that is pretty cool. Empowering women is always good in general.
What kind of wages do the artisans receive?
Pay for embroidery is pretty much set by the embroiderers. They usually get an average of $25 per piece which is pretty good. We work with sewing shops who set their own prices, sometimes with negotiation.
Who are your artisans, what is their story?
The Israeli sewing women are usually Russian Jews. They are in the lower end of the socioeconomic scale in Israel. They live in the poorer sections of Israel and usually work an 8 hour day 5 days a week. The women in the West Bank that do the embroidery live in remote villages, some with minimal or no electricity. Their homes vary from caves to stone houses to brick homes. The embroiders embroider, take care of the children, cook, take care of the livestock. They do our embroidery in the evenings or when they have spare time.
The women want peace, to be able to move about freely. The Palestinians come from a village that is committed to Non-violent resistance. Both sides live in poverty and I think that although they want peace, feeding their families is probably foremost in their minds on a daily basis.
At the end of the day, Two Neighbors is about empowering women one stitch at a time.