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  • Writer's pictureMolly Elizabeth

The British-Yemeni Designer Fighting For Gaza At London Fashion Week

Designer Kazna Asker asks us to consider fashion’s political power.

 

© Nona Rosen

“What are we fighting for?” was the question on the mind of BFC NEWGEN designer Kazna Asker as she presented her Fall/Winter 2024 collection during London Fashion Week — as well as on the backdrop of turbulent UK and global politics.  Anger, resentment, and frustration abound, yet Asker sought instead to draw together a sense of united community, with the show notes aptly reading, “With everything happening in the world right now, I think it’s important that we stand for something collectively.” 


Community is at the passionately-beating heart of all that Asker produces, seeking to uplift, honour, educate, and confront. She first made dynamic waves with her Central Saint Martins MA graduate collection — the first of its kind to feature hijabi models — and has raised over £20,000 in charity fundraisers for Yemen and Palestine. In the simplest of terms, Kazna Asker’s work has communal power. 


© Nona Rosen

Her latest collection does not stray from this course; if anything, it courageously dives deeper. In a lengthy, dimly-lit room in the Old Selfridges Hotel (a London Fashion Week hotspot), one was transported and immersed in a space inspired by Asker’s gida’s living room. Incense filled the nose; traditional Yemeni music thrilled the ears; and everyone’s eyes were enraptured in Asker’s clothing, modelled as tableaus in an intimate majili (sitting room) environment. 


Presenting a collection in this intimate abode — elevated further with live henna artists, biscuits, and Yemeni tea (this was London, after all) — allowed more time to examine Asker’s work. Time which she deserves. On the back wall of the venue, a mural storyboard laid out Asker’s manifesto — what she is fighting for and what we, as a fashion collective, are fighting for: Palestine, Yemen, and the notion of a global community. On tables scattered around the space, books illuminated the beauty of Arab culture and traditions, stories often untold in luxury fashion. On her models, all of whom are Muslim and/or hijabi, Asker’s garments blended sportswear with traditional woven fabrics and silhouettes, creating something uniquely modern. 


© Nona Rosen

In reality, though, the clothing is simply one aspect of the living art Asker manipulates. It is a vessel with which to protest and to unify, and in that sense, Asker’s clothing is the pinnacle of all that fashion can be. Fashion has forever been, and will forever remain, one of our most subtly effective socio-political instruments. 🌀


You can view the whole collection here.


 

Molly Elizabeth is a freelance fashion writer and commentator based in London.

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