Fashion has a loud voice, but what is all the shouting about? Fashion designer Karim Adduchi mainly wants to tell stories and add a social aspect to the production process. Or as he puts it: “Creating community, never being political, just social.”
As early as 2015, the show he put on when he graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy stood out from the rest. Entitled She knows why the caged bird sings, his collection was inspired by heritage from his native country, Morocco. His second presentation, She lives behind the court yard door (the opening show at the Amsterdam Fashion Week), was a real eye-opener and a turning point for him: this is not the way. After the relative freedom afforded by the art academy, the professional fashionworld with its inflexible rhythm and sky-high expectations felt like a gilded cage. He wanted his next project to be a statement, entirely on his own conditions and in line with his own vision.
For the collection She has 99 names, Adduchi sought the help of non-professionals: housewives, students and refugees. By involving people from outside the fashion industry, he was trying to reinstate a certain innocence, freshness and pleasure into designing. In addition, Adduchi wanted to give them a platform, a CV and a network. By concentrating all the work in the same studio (from sewing to fittings on models), he tried to involve everyone in the entire process and generate a community. As the skills of those he involved were very diverse, cooperation and collaboration were of the essence. The experiences, crafts and stories these people contributed formed an important source of inspiration for Adduchi. A total of around 25 people worked on the project.
This collection also features references to Adduchi’s roots, such as embroidery inspired by North-African mosaics and traditional patterns. The fashion show was held out of season in a church. Both the timing and the venue were a statement. The huge media attention this presentation generated (both before and after the event) established Adduchi’s name and identity as a ‘social fashion designer’.
The social impact of design and the way designers work is steadily gaining attention. Not only the product, but also the process becomes important. It can be difficult to express this in the end result. More and more makers are taking to social media to give people a glimpse of how their ideas arise and evolve. Adduchi prefers to communicate his underlying ideas through words in interviews, lectures and press releases. The faces behind his collection also have their moment in the spotlight on the catwalk, but in the end, it’s the clothes that do the talking.
Text: Victoria Anastasyadis