African Qashabeyyeh finds casual new home in local designer’s pieces

Qashabeyyeh models
(Photo: Handout from Lima Haddad)
AMMAN — A Qashabeyyeh (also spelled as Kachabia) is an article of North African clothing that resembles a long dress with a hood. Jordanian Lima Haddad took the Qashabeyyeh and added a more casual twist to the classic pieceاضافة اعلان

“I like wearing unique things. I love colors and lively things, I love to show a piece on me that’s different from everyone, whether it’s a ring or a pair jeans,” Haddad told Jordan News. She added that she wanted to bring the lively colors she loves in the original Qashabeyyeh and the region it comes from into her designs and in every element surrounding the business, down to the logo.

Haddad came up with the idea when she saw “hoodies in Amsterdam that looked exactly like the Qashabeyyeh with their designs and patterns. I was like why don’t we do it with our Bedouin patterns?” She then teamed up with three local tailors to sew tailor clothes.

“It was quite the struggle to find the perfect quality of fabric to fashion into wearable items. We had to go on several field visits and conduct a lot of wash tests to make sure the colors don’t bleed and that the fabric is nice and comfortable for everyday use,” the designer said. She also mentioned that it is difficult to “find the same fabric from different suppliers, because the suppliers usually run out.”

Qashabeyyeh also struggled with people on social media thinking that their clothing line, which uses fabrics and patterns resembling those used “for tents and Bedouin seating,” was not suited for hoodies and T-shirts.

“They were not familiar with the fact that we can convert that fabric and those colors into a clothing line,” Haddad said. “It is still a beautiful pattern and they are beautiful colors that you actually put in your house, why not wear it and go out with it?”

When starting out her brand, Haddad hit a few bumps along the way but always had her friends to help her, whether through modeling, navigating social media, or the business aspects that come with starting a fashion line. “None of my friends liked to model, none of them, but they loved the product, and they loved what we were doing and they wanted to help.”

At one of the first photo-shoots for Qashabeyyeh, Haddad called five of her friends and 15 showed up that day. “They all called each other, they got their own water and food, everything. They just wanted to show up and support us. The (Instagram) page didn’t have any followers, so they didn’t know if it was going to go viral or not, they just wanted to help. They did it for free.”

In Qashabeyyeh’s latest photo-shoot, strangers from coffee shops who recognized the brand asked to join as models. “So we created a new group, with new people and new faces of Qashabeyyeh,” the designer said.

“All the deliveries are done by women, my friends, my sister and I. So people are enjoying the experience more, a woman is delivering so I’m just going to show her and ask for her opinion,” Haddad added. “So it’s pretty nice, we have a good connection with our customers. It’s a friendly vibe between Qashabeyyeh and customers.”

“Seeing the feedback I get on Instagram is very rewarding, it’s literally the best feeling ever to see your customers happy.”

Qashabeyyeh launched in 2021 as an online shop, mainly run from their Instagram account.

“I would rather have 30,000 followers than have a shop that has one customer coming in, glancing around and leaving,” Haddad said.

She explained that in a store, she can’t market her pieces properly, but on social media, she can always do ads and sponsorships to reach a bigger audience and target different demographics.

Haddad stressed that for businesses just starting out, stores are just inconvenient, “with COVID-19, taxes, electricity bills and all of that.” Online shops help cut down on costs. “Your income is your income”.

For the summer collection, Qashabeyyeh tested many variations of their staple winter garment and decided “to get 100 percent cotton shirts and to have a simple Qashabeyyeh pattern pocket or a stripe.”

Qashabeyyeh is branching out with “more designs for the future, we might do bucket hats, flip flops, anything we can add Qashabeyyeh to.”

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