I have been witnessing a paradigm shift in the fashion scene with the spread of gender fluidity which seeks to transcend unyielding social constructs. It is my belief that fashion can be leveraged as a way to rise above conformities. True fashion is an art form that transcends aesthetic and reveals strengths and vulnerabilities. It also affords an opportunity to decolonize space and reclaim agency by being bold, daring and unapologetic.
Power comes hand in hand with awareness. Awareness of self, along with the confidence to rise above ascribed stereotypes. Fashion within this frame can be waged as a political act of defiance against the status quo. To me, fashion was never meant to be a top-down concept, it is an artform design to empower ordinary men and woman to reclaim their identity. It is increasingly jarring for me to witness fashion houses that sorely miss the mark, settling behind luxury instead of guiding the thread to engender constructive discourse. Creating a collection for mere shock values misses the mark for what is shock value without eliciting a sense of self-retrospect (at the very least)? Do we shock to merely be spoken about? or do we shock to disrupt the comfortable gaze and make a political statement? Fashion should be revolutionary, rather than complacent. It should be undergirded with an agenda (political or social) to move our society forward.
One artist who understands those tenets is Morrocan designer Amine Bendriouich who amassed massive global attention with his brand ABCB which stands for Amine Bendriouich Couture & Bullshit. The Marrakesh-based designer prides itself on creating bespoke pieces that are unisex, leaving it up to people to decide how they will dress. Gender fluidity lies at the heart of his work; his collections are theme-based and designed by local villagers who blend traditional north african berber traditions with global urban influences. His irreplicable talent has garnered the attention of entertaining icons such as Usher and Will Smith, just to name a few.
Image credits by Aurore de Bettignies via vogue magazine
Other images via Amine Bedriouich’s Instagram