Global – My Queer Blackness, My Black Queerness (MQBMBQ) is a new digital project exploring the multiple facets of black queer identity.
Envisaged by creative producer Jordan Anderson, the project is a response to his own experiences, personal difficulties around gay pride, and the portrayal of queerness in a whitewashed, American form. The project gives a platform to 12 image makers, each of whom explore the theme of black queer identity, with all image proceeds donated to black transsexual charities.
‘It’s a complex that hits you from both sides and can lead you into believing the lies being fed to you as a black queer person,’ explains Anderson. ‘It’s a case of constantly doing the work to unlearn all the misconceptions and biases you’re taught. All this has motivated me to launch My Queer Blackness, My Black Queerness.’
Exploring black masculinity is a complex topic. In our interview with Iggyldn, he discusses his own experiences of representing modern manhood, alonside black fatherhood and engaging young black men.
Africa – Industrie Africa's innovative digital retail platform highlights the talent behind African fashion design.
Taking a 360-degree approach, the site brings together a combination of commerce, content and connectivity, and provides direct access to a range of established and emerging African designers. Focusing on the diversity of design and inspirations from the continent, shoppers can browse by region, style and craftsmanship, as well as uncovering the stories of more than 80 brands from 24 African countries.
‘There’s been a seismic shift in the way African fashion is being seen around the world and we just happened to be on the cusp of that,’ explains Nisha Kanabar, founder of Industrie Africa. ‘We really want to continue to disrupt the traditional world view surrounding what it means to be an African designer, shop African, or have an African identity.’
The African Fashion Market continues to innovate in response to the rise of e-commerce, with digital platforms and garment innovations amplifying its varied fashion sector.
Global – Kanye West has collaborated with Nick Knight on an immersive retail environment for Yeezy Supply.
The site features waiting rooms for the latest product drops, alongside real-life models who try on outfits for browsing customers. While many existing 3D models on e-commerce platforms have limited functionality, the Yeezy site allows customers to experiment with styling and even explore the back stories of the models. The aesthetic approach toys with Netstalgia, featuring oversized, layered images and eschewing black and white tones.
‘There is something interesting in the idea of having clothes that have personality because of who’s been wearing them,’ explains Knight. ‘[Kanye] wanted the site to feel beautiful in its simplicity, so he asked me to create a site that had no words on it, because we are not all English-speaking, or we’re not all based in America or Europe.’
With consumers increasingly shifting their fashion discovery to online environments, retailers are innovating with visual-first Digital Store Fronts.
Ukraine – Sergey Makhno Architects have created a high-spec concrete home – Underground House Plan B – envisaged as crisis-proof dwellings.
The Covid-19 pandemic is the catalyst for the project, with the architecture group realising a potential future life for humans in subterranean settings. Hidden in a Ukrainian forest, with a helipad allowing access to the bunker, the house can easily accommodate two or three families. While security and resourcefulness are at the core of its design, the underground home also recognises the need for entertainment and hobbies. It includes a home library, cinema, gym and water filtering system.
Ihor Havrylenko, co-author of the project, said: ‘Modern people are too accustomed to freedom and lack of restrictions. Life in a bunker, even a very comfortable one, is life within frames. We tried to design the space so that people could feel them minimally.’
Future planners and architects will need to design properties with health and safety at the fore. As we explore in Pandemic-proof Properties, the lockdown period has highlighted the health impacts of life in isolation.
Amsterdam – Fashion label Daily Paper has created a 3D collection to celebrate and explore its African heritage.
Launched as part of High Snobiety’s Not in Paris digital exhibition, the brand created an immersive 360-degree virtual reality experience in place of a conventional collection. Presented on 3D models, the collection both protects and shares stories about Africa, as well as portraying them via hopeful future imaginations of its diaspora.
‘Everything Daily Paper does is with the vision to contribute to the future of Africa,’ the brand explains. ‘We need to go back to our roots, back to basics, back to the origin of life. The only reason we are standing here today is because of the ones before us.’
The fashion industry is using its products and platforms to reconnect with cultural traditions and design. In Young Nativists, we explore the ways that Generation Z are seeking connection with their roots and preserving ancestral knowledge.
Sign up to one of our subscribtion packages and get unlimited access to a hive of insights - from microtrends and macro trends to market reports, daily news, research across eight industry sectors and much more.