T-shirt store starts new fashion trend in Libya's Benghazi

Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:41am EDT
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By Feras Bosalum

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Browsing through the racks of printed T-shirts and scarves, a handful of shoppers inspect the latest designs in what has become one of the most popular clothing stores in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

One of them, Ali, a student, holds up a T-shirt printed with a popular Libyan expression "Grab what is new before it becomes old", one of the many catchphrases that adorn the designs in Boza, a small shop in an upmarket neighborhood.

"I always bought clothes with English writing on them but now for the first time, I am buying a T-shirt with Arabic print," he said. "I am so happy."

Ali is one of the hundreds of Libyans who have flocked to Boza since it opened a few months ago, eager to get their hands on designs that have become a talking point among the youth in Benghazi's popular coffee shops.

Its name meaning "stylish", the store - the first of its kind in Libya according to its owners - sells T-shirts, bags, head and neck scarves printed with "Made in Libya", "Walk like a Libyan" or a jumble of letters spelling out Benghazi.

Some T-shirts are printed with "I love Cyrenaica", referring to Libya's eastern province where calls for more regional autonomy have heightened since Muammar Gaddafi's ouster in 2011.

Benghazi was the cradle of the Libyan revolt and discontent has mounted over continued neglect from Tripoli. Easterners say their oil-rich region was starved of cash under Gaddafi.

Other colorful T-shirts carry portraits of King Idris, whom Gaddafi ousted in his 1969 coup.   Continued...

An employee holds up a t-shirt at the popular clothing store Boza in Benghazi June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori