First Palestinian-American congresswoman says she wore traditional garment as 'an unapologetic display of the fabric of the people in this country'
When Rashida Tlaib became the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in the US Congress on Thursday, she also set off a fashion storm on social media.
Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinians who immigrated to the US before she was born, was elected as representative for Michigan's 13th district in November's midterm elections which has brought the most diverse group of first-time politicians to the House in US history.
Along with Ilhan Omar, a representative for Minnesota, Tlaib also made history as the first Muslim women to serve Congress in a freshman class that also includes more females and racially diverse politicians than ever before, the first Native American congresswoman and a handful of CIA agents-turned-politicians.
A month after she was elected, Tlaib, 42, announced that she would be wearing a thobe, a traditional Palestinian garment, when she was sworn in to office.
Hand-stitched and worn on special occasions, thobes are often passed down through generations. Tlaib's was stiched by her mother who is from the village of Beir Ur al-Fauqa near Ramallah and arrived in the US when she was 20.
Taking the oath of office on Thursday, Tlaib, in thobe, was sworn in with a copy of the Koran that belonged to Thomas Jefferson.
In her honour, women from around the world posted photos of themselves in thobes under the hashtag #TweetYourThobe.
— Noura Erakat (@4noura) January 3, 2019
As a Palestinian American, I wear thobes embroidered by the women in my family to honor their legacy, style and tragedy. @RashidaTlaib wearing a thobe while being sworn into congress amplifies the journey of Palestinian women and I couldn’t be more in my feels #TweetYourThobe 🇵🇸 pic.twitter.com/HmLDXIK19Y
— Samar Marwan (@HellaSamar) January 3, 2019
— Huwaida Arraf (@huwaidaarraf) January 3, 2019
Tlaib campaigned for a $15 minimum wage and the end of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and called for the impeachment of president Donald Trump.
In an essay for Elle published on Thursday, Tlaib wrote that she decided to wear a thobe to bring "an unapologetic display of the fabric of the people in this country".
“Throughout my career in public service, the residents I have had the privilege of fighting for have embraced who I am, especially my Palestinian roots," she wrote.
“When I posted the photo of the thobe I will wear on Instagram, I was overcome with joy at the response I received."
A twist on our tradition embroidered Palestinian thobe, but one that represents my heritage nonetheless. Today, Congresswoman @rashidatlaib is wearing her thobe as she takes the oath of office, swearing in on Thomas Jefferson’s centuries-old Quran. #tweetyourthobe pic.twitter.com/fM3RewhEvK
— Dena Takruri (@Dena) January 4, 2019
— alice muaddi (@umaboud) January 3, 2019
Many Palestinian and Palestinian-American women expressed pride as Tlaib came to office
— Zaina (@Zkahuk) January 3, 2019
Other women just expressed pride
— sophie (@peachyjew) January 3, 2019
And some are now in the market for a thobe
Now I want a thobe 😭
— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) January 3, 2019