Let’s talk about Namacheko for a minute. To be honest, this brand flew under my radar in the last year but seeing the show first hand this season and understanding how they were able to bridge their heritage into an appropriate representation through a collection reminded me of why I love fashion in the first place.
Namacheko opened the second day of Paris Men’s Fashion Week at the Palais Galliera. The sun’s rays beamed through the pillars to create shapes and shadows that highlighted the runaway. The collection or what I prefer to call another episode of Dilan and Lezan Surr’s discovery of their personal identity magnified the themes around culture, heritage, and customs. Slightly oversized boxy tops with diamond-geometric shapes as accents, sharp collared polos underneath, monochromatic thigh-high shorts, calf-length socks and brogue shoes reminded me of a prep-school uniform for young men. It was a classic and most definitely a wearable collection that could easily elevate a curated wardrobe. Dilan recalls watching the film “Solaris” by Andrei Tarkovsky and used this as an inspiration for playing with colors. It was unique enough to stand on its own without falling into the trend trap of streetwear luxe seen in other brands for the Spring/Summer 19 collections.
But let’s go past the aesthetic and into the story of the brother-sister duo behind the brand. The Surr siblings were born in Kirkuk, Iraq before moving to Sweden in the late 90s. Despite Sweden being home most of their lives, their deep-seated roots and connection to their homeland became a part of their quest in unraveling their personal identity. The duo wanted to embrace that part of themselves and in doing so initially created a short-film, a photo-book and a collection as part of a passion project where their family who still resides in the autonomous region of Iraq starred in.
The industry immediately took notice of their minimalistic and fashion-forward pieces. The unprecedented rise and acknowledgment put them on-schedule in Paris Fashion Week – unusual, especially for menswear. Though this is solely a brand for men, women graced the runaway dressed in the same outfit.
The designs of each are not just for aesthetic purposes. Everything from the shapes used, the textiles and the color combination are references to their personal story, the tale of two cities. In a previous interview posted on Kodd Magazine, the designers say that the colors used such as red, black and green are representations of the different ethnic communities present in Kirkuk, all of which live in the same city but are not necessarily allies.
Despite leaving a country that has been politically and socially torn, they are far from forgetting the past behind. In a way, they are proclaiming their truth and fighting the war against Islamic State through fashion and art. No guns, no bombs, but a powerful message on identity, community, and freedom of expression. Some would argue but how is this making a change? Through a culture of conversation.
No doubt the fashion industry can be stubborn at times. But it is continuing to be a platform where expression on the catwalk, on the streets, on print and etc is a revolution not just for people in the forefront but those who are struggling with displacement and belonging in their new “homelands”.
A few more photos of the collection below from Vogue: