Those midwives to history put on their bloody robes*
Oh my. When I came across Yousef Akbar’s work this morning, my mind went immediately to finding a Bowie lyric to play off his name (though, yes, it’s missing a ‘c’).** But then when I read the inspiration behind this collection, called ‘Resort 2017’ on Yousef’s website but ‘Blood Witness’ on his NJAL page, I knew I had to try a bit harder.
My eye was obviously immediately drawn to the de/reconstructed detailing that features bolt screws. But these aren’t just a clever way of creating a seam, as Yousef explains:
To juxtapose the feminine drape and fluidity I have used nuts and bolt screws through seams, and to hold draped deconstructed garments together throughout the collection. This was inspired by my research looking at metal devices that were used to torture women, as well as x-rays of broken bones of abused women showing them being held together by screws. This demonstrates how a simple tool (the screws) can be used in completely opposing ways, one for abuse, and the other to mend.
As for the collection in general, it is “a celebration of all women and their courage and strength through times of adversity,” with the draped and twisted looks symbolizing tension and struggle. And the other shiny/heavy-duty body armour bits, referencing Middle Eastern architecture and ornamentation, symbolize “hope and optimism that this world can change if we all unite against all kinds of injustice.” Simply beautiful. What more can I say?
*”Teenage Wildlife”, from Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
**E.g., You look trapped, turn the radio on – “Too Dizzy”, from Never Let Me Down