Designers with A Cause
Designers With A Cause duo Ameena Imran and Nobue Chen cordially invited The COMM to their exhibition titled “Designers With a Cause, Gender Dynamics: Breaking Binarisms Through Clothings” located in the very heart of Harajuku at Space&Cafe Banksia. The exhibition, which ran from 3rd December to 5th December 2021, showcased the collections of two Bunka Graduate students. These collections, while distinct in their design, share a common cause. To raise awareness regarding women’s issues through art and fashion. On their opening night, they invited speakers from Voice Up Japan and Athena Japan via Zoom and in-person to raise further awareness on various issues that women from different walks of life.
As a third culture kid hailing from Pakistan, Ameena’s fashion collection analyses the notions of female masculinity in Punjabi theatre, a semi-improvised comedy stage theatre from Pakistan, through the lens of the Mahi Munda aka the tomboy archetype. In a highly sexualised and hyper-masculine space such as the Punjabi theatre, Ameena uses the tomboy archetype as a self-protective identity. She explores the binarisms between femininity and masculinity through contrasting silhouettes such as the juxtaposition of loose and fitted, like the voluminous trousers with a cinched waist. Ameena is not afraid of mixing her South Asian heritage with East Asian components, blending the creative elements of Takarazuka theatre and Kabuki with the beautiful colours of orange and blue prevalent in Punjabi theatre.
Nobue’s collection “Seifuku Gaze” drew from personal experience and connected it to her research on Seifuku (Japanese school uniforms). Seifuku have an interesting yet controversial history. From the sukeban to the seifuku, Nobue conveys the rebellious attitude of Japanese school girls through her designs. Through three characteristics; camaraderie, a social stance, and a transitional phase, she stretches the confines of what a uniform can look like. Inspired by the colours from her high school uniform, Nobue mixes navy blue, green, and red together while also incorporating a shibori technique in the process.
The exhibition was not just about showcasing their final collections, attendees to the exhibition were invited to interact with it. Available were free fake tattoos and tote bags, which both had the motifs used in the designers respective collections.
Check out their Instagram to view snippets of the exhibition!
Written by Vania.