A few days ago, after my daily walk and hourly cleaning of the house, I got sent a link to a link to an article from VICE Magazine with the words ‘BEC, CHECK THIS OUT!’. It was a read that immediately made me want to de-pyjama and put on actual clothes to make me feel some lockdown sass!
When I think of biking culture I think of the European cities of Paris, Amsterdam and Copenhagen where biking looks so chic it seems a crime to use any other transport. When I think of biker gangs I think of Charlie Hunman with his weird American accent in Sons of Anarchy, aggy bearded Hells Angels and on a tamer level the brit cult classic Quadrophenia.
This feature on London based artist Hassan Hajjaj made me want to row my way over to Morocco to meet his subjects. After working on a shoot in Marrakech in 1990 in which models were flown in and clothes we shipped in from ateliers, he felt that the beautiful culture of the city was merely just a backdrop for a western fashion story. Feeling like it wasn’t a true representation of what the place and its women were about, he returned to embrace everything that was lost all those years ago on the day of that glossy shoot.
This new collection of images is a homage to its city and nods to the traditions it holds but more stunningly the strong females within them. Fashion is an expression, we all know that, especially right now living in joggers and hoodies sat in front of Netflix. The media regularly portrays women of some religions to be oppressed and almost silenced, this is a reminder that a voice, self-identity and expression isn’t one size fits all.
What struck me so much about this article wasn’t just the incredible bespoke djellabahs, the genius way that the frames of the images have used everyday objects to mirror the mosaics of the architecture seen in North Africa… but the unique stories of the women photographed.
Its badass, it’s a celebration of fashion & culture and it’s a feminism. Enjoy.