At some point we must find ourselves doing a reflection on the so-called contemporary ethnic fashion in Europe and the dilemmas of independent activities in a mainstream world.
London and Paris have been my professional spots in Europe since I got engaged in an activity which embraces partially an independently handcrafted fashion linked to cultural diversity. It is a fact that most of the fashion world tends to be a superficial and/or elitist one all over the world. Even if the engine of some initiatives are not, when they are framed in a geographical and socio-cultural context they get in contact with a system to work with where some become alike to succeed.
No matter what other vision, far from mere capitalist business, it becomes a challenge. Likewise, it is finding your own market and platforms which mirror the spirit of what you do. What I can say is that all the anecdotes I’ve experienced, of all kind since I first got started in 2012 in Spain, are only giving me the increasing inspiration of creating our own, which is by the way always the answer.
Among my current and large international network, they are not many the number of brands which are worried about giving their brands a soul out of a commercial vision. Which add ideological content to achieve it. Very few which want to dress a state of mind. To be an extension and reaffirmation of oneself promoting political values. Which conceive it with the mission of creating a lifestyle which pierces the minds not the pockets in the first place. A social impact with the creations as a mean not as an end. They are not many the events, particularly in Paris, which support other thing than high fashion either. Even if they contradict themselves in their philosophy when they reckon to be addressed to both consolidated and emergent talents and being hold by ethical values, while bringing such a classist offer concerning prices and not forgetting about their VIP tickets and spaces. But still where all networking happens.
So in the middle of this context, it’s always a pleasure to meet from time to time different kind of profiles (artists, event organisers, press…) who are not willing to compromise their vision for money, standing on their own feet. The biggest challenge for us now it’s to build our own counter ecosystem which for the time being has decided to stand together, collaborating, making public press manifestos and willing to create a wave of soulful wrapping in the middle of this often frivolous ethnic trend, helping audiences to differentiate conceptual artwork from business.
This time Totem Taboo has travelled to Paris to associate with Classic Proletarians. In the same way Lens did at New York Times this week, Nafoor Qâa – king of conceptual sapology in Paris – has been exploring for a while how to transcend his innate sens of aesthetics in a meaningful way which could walk out of preconceived ideas of what does to be Black mean. He has been exploring how to give birth to a project fighting capitalism too. This exploration has lead him to Classic Proletarians, a lifestyle movement based on conscious consumption of resources at our disposal through conceptual art, and his most recent son, Fripiz. A concept where more than selling vintage clothing he fights against expensive life and scams dressed up in what French people call ‘probobo’ and ‘prohypster’ conceptuality.
This is the result of our first visual storytelling.
Styling and photography by Nafoor Qâa.
Modelling by Christelle Duverly & Leandre Tamba.
Clothes by Fripiz. Hats by Totem Taboo.