Thursday 9 August 2012

Encounter with Alec Ali Abdulrahim

Mai-Gidah by Alec Ali Abdulrahim 
The graduation season 2012 is already behind us and it is not possible to see all shows. To be honest I was not really familiar with Academy of Fine Arts of Sint-Niklaas but not so long ago I discovered designer Tom Van der Borght who just graduated there. Through Tom I bumped into Alec Ali Abdulrahim's work and I wanted to know more about this pretty collection.
He graduated with a strong menswear collection 'Revelatus'. It is a smart collection with very refined combination of wearable classical menswear and avant-garde silhouettes. I really like the head pieces in this collection. I am looking forward to his soon to be launched label CODE HOMME by Ali Abdulrahim.

Please take your time to read more about this talented designer.

Photography by Patrick Dumont

Encounter with Alec Ali Abdulrahim

BPB. Please, introduce yourself? 
AA. My name is Ali Abdulrahim but my friends know me as Alec. i was born and raised in Accra, Ghana. I relocated to Belgium about 7 years ago and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of Sint-Niklaas, where I graduated in june 2012. Name of project My graduation project, a collection of 8 silhouettes is called REVELATUS.

BPB. What is the story behind your collection? 
AA. My collection was inspired by the Christian orthodox attire, The return of the flame by Rene Magritte, with influences from the work of Pieter Breughel and the African Tribe Maasai. The goal was to achieve a modern and timeless look, so I worked on shapes and lines, strategically balanced with attention to details and the craftsmanship.
The tailored fits and attuned details exude an intellectual personality and pervade every aspect of the inspirations. The tailored collar, buttons and zipper have an even and uneven feel, and a unique “surreal world” in my opinion. The result is a timeless and uniting approach towards the ideas that have been considered “masculine” in various different regions and religions in the world.
 Although it is said that “there is not much you can do with a man’s look”, and having to work round the fundamental physical limitations of torso and limbs, I did my best to change the equation a little bit. For instance, I was drawn to the elongated neck of a Maasai man and the high neck of a pope attire. Linking them together resulted in this pope neck jacket; the embroidery on it represents a very personal thing to me. Every respected family leader in my tribe (hausa) has at least 5 heavily embroidered pieces of BUBU and my Father had many of those. Somehow I tried to intricate the embroidery as the Maasai jewelry in the clothing. I used beading and sequence fabric in a more innovative and less conservative way, opposite to the traditional use in women’s wear.
After miles of stitching, stuffing and painting it came out really nice and in my opinion appropriate to a men’s silhouette. The leathery embellishment adds an edgy and tough feeling. Everything - skinny pants included - was designed to emphasize verticality and to create elongated legs. The conformal white shirt underneath isn't what it looks like at first sight. I call it the sermon shirt because it draws you in the almost a half circled looking sleeves. Definitely an eye catcher on a fine looking gentleman!

BPB. What inspires / fascinates you in general? 
AA. I have always had a great fascinations for Religion / or world religions and their mutual differences or similarities, or the way people believe in general.

BPB. Your favorite designer or artist?
AA. Rene Maggritte, Pieter Breughel, Rick Owens, John Galliano, Alber Elbas and Riccardo Tisci.

BPB. What can we expect from you in the future?
AA. I am working on a collection for my brand which will be debuting very soon!

BPB. Music for the moment that is on repeat? 
AA. Wood Kidd -Iron

BPP. Please pick few words (tags) that best describe your work? 
AA.  Structural, Modern, Timeless and Detailing

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