Two Neighbors is a brand that uses fashion as a bridge between cultures that have been ripped apart by conflict, distrust, abuse and occupation.
The co-founders are Adeem Amro, a Palestinian, and Segal Kirsch, an Israeli, backed by a retired American couple and donations through Kickstarter.
The pair believe that they have more in common with each other than the things that divide them.
An Expanding Circle of Interaction
They use their designs to increase this circle of creation, interaction,co-operation and trust evident in the company tagline, ‘Peace Through the Eye of a Needle.’
Two Neighbors specialises in ‘minimalist’ clothing embellished with elaborate embroidery.
The company insists that the garments are “unique products that are full of soul.”
The clothes are stitched by Israeli seamstresses and then embroidered by members of the Palestinian women’s collective in South Hebron.
Work, Trade, Succeed
The brand was established in 2013 and has a unique set of circumstances to overcome in order to work, trade and succeed.
Prejudice is not an issue, the physical manifestations of prejudice are.
Communication between Jerusalem and the West Bank
is made extremely difficult, checkpoints, permits, violence, soldiers, frustration.
Adeem and Segal meet every two weeks to collaborate on the design decisions.
Twice a year the company brings together the fifty Israeli and Palestinian women who work for Two Neighbors.
It is a complex task, which demands weeks of planning and a location where everyone feels comfortable.
Then there are travel permit requirements for the Palestinians and road blocks and checkpoints for the Israelis.
The idea for the venture was born at a Global Square Gathering, set up by The Center for Emerging Futures, the concept is to bring both Israelis and Palestinians together.
The gatherings take place twice a year close to the Israeli- Palestinian border.
They duo insist that Two Neighbors is not a political movement and its objective is the same as most commercial concerns, namely sales.
Speaking to the Independent, a UK newspaper Segal Kirsch said:“We might not all share the same solution, and not all know what the solution should be. But we all share the hope for a just agreement that will achieve peace and equality to both sides.”
They see success as crucial to provide an income for the women in their employ.
This is not just materialism, this is to enable future generations in a region blinded by a recurring sandstorm of violence.