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The Hijazi Ommah

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The headwear representation of heritage.


When it comes to headwear, the omama, or ommah as we say in Hijazi, is not merely a fashion statement. Tracing back to centuries, the ommah (the turban-like head wrap) is steeped in tradition with deep cultural roots. Whether demonstrating the religious position of the wearer, to distinguish the tribe the wearer is from, or a simple fashion tribute, there is no denying the significance of the ommah in our culture.

To know more about the history of the ommah, the differences and variations, we sat with renowned photographer Mazen Falemban.ummah-june-2017-aram-03

Falemban is not your typical photographer. His arcane interest in the Hijazi culture drove him to make a photography documentation of the traditional Hijazi lifestyle and heritage the center of his exhibits. With already six exhibitions in the past, Falemban is currently preparing for his seventh exhibition, planned to take place July of 2018 in Jeddah’s Al Balad.

There’s so much one can learn from art, and that’s what Falemban’s work aspires to achieve. His photography is not merely a method to archive the beautiful and deep-rooted heritage of the Hijazi culture. He aims through his pieces to also educate and spread awareness in the youth.ummah-june-2017-aram-04

Because of his thorough research and accumulated knowledge, Falemban can be considered a go-to to all things associated to the Hijazi heritage, particularly when it comes to lifestyle and clothing.

Falemban tells us that the ommah can be traced back to our ancestors, and are worn by different groups that make up the community. For instance, religious scholars wear the white Ommah, which is exclusively worn by them making it a differentiator. A distinctive ommah is also worn by head of notable heads of families and mayors. Even craftsmen wear one unique to them. The variations are not just in type of textile and color, but also the way the ommah is wrapped – making it both an art and tradition carried down by generations.ummah-june-2017-aram-02

When it comes to the types of textile used, there are a number that are popular in the region and are usually imported from the city of Aleppo in Syria, or from India.  But the best quality are the ones brought in from Syria.

As for the prices of ommah fabric, the prices could range from SR 150 – 3,000. On rare occasions, one may opt for a more luxurious choice, like the Sulaimi silk, and that may reach up to SR 5,000.

Instagram: mazenfelemban
Twitter: mmaaff92

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