Many questioned Hamas’s fashion sense when they saw the civilian outfit that Gilad Shalit was dressed in for his transfer to Israel during last week’s prisoner swap. They thought it was far from flattering to his thin, malnourished frame and gaunt face. It turns out, however, that Gazans actually thought the collared, checkered shirt the Israel soldier was wearing was the height of style. Consequently, it has been dubbed the “Gilad Shirt” and turned into a must-have item.
Large numbers of the exact shirt, as well as some very similar ones, are now on display in Gazan stores and markets for an average price of $16.50. They are being snatched up like hotcakes, and Gazan shoppers have expressed concern that they will run out.
Astonishingly, 10 different Facebook fan pages have reportedly been set up to honor the shirt, with thousands of users liking them and posting odes to the shirt and updates on where it can be purchased. To be sure, some posters are using the pages to spread anti-Israel propaganda. But others — Palestinians and Israelis alike — seem to be using their mutual admiration for the Gilad Shirt to come together, at least in cyberspace. “Israelis and Palastinians [sic] talking… God bless Facebook… our leaders should learned [sic],” wrote one Palestinian poster, whose face is totally obscured by a kaffiyeh in his profile picture.
Shalit is surely glad to be out of that shirt, but others are eager to keep it in the spotlight. With fashion trends quickly going global these days, perhaps we will soon see it at our local Walmart, or even inspiring menswear collections on the haute couture runway next season.