“A Reminder,” a film by the afro-futurist fashion brand Khiry, sets the record for body politics relating to the Black community and cultural diaspora. Visual queues of Civil Rights footage, familiar pop icons of today, and various images of Black people, famous or not, throughout history, are juxtaposed in a tension between the popular and the oppressed. A deep-rooted role in this film is in dispelling any doubts of fashion and its association to oppressive practices of policing and pillaging Black people, culture, and trends.
Jameel Mohammed is the founder and creative director behind Khiry and is pushing forth a narrative of the afro-fashion diaspora. A leader in the movement to reclaim Black bodies in the public eye, especially in fashion, Mohammed put forth a New York Fashion Week Spring Summer 2022 show that reflected grace and enlightenment through Khiry’s third collection.
The collection entitled “Fights, Flights, and Fantasies (go but so far),” is an exploration of escapism, a liberation of Black people throughout popular culture as well as politics. The fight is something Mohammed deals with as a multidisciplinary artist, jewelry maker and a newly-minted fashion designer, with the debut of one-of-one garments and other fine wearable objects by Khiry.
Beyond the fine and demi-fine jewelry pieces we’ve seen from the Khiry brand, wearables fill in a void that Mohammed was in search of filling. Undertaking a year-long process in his escapist state birthed unique garments that spoke to the historical existence of the Black legacy. Mohammed adorned his models in garments like the Macrame Flogger top, Highflier dress, Highflier tank top, and America in Tatters skirt, all created in Khiry’s Brooklyn studio using techniques from Mohammed’s jewelry craftsmanship.
Hand-sewn fringe, cannabis bags and tassels accentuated the models who would move gracefully – dancing – in sync on the runway dressing in fine jewelry pieces from Khiry placed on installations throughout. An installation titled “Don’t Mean It, Don’t Cost” was an inspired piece from old drawings that highlighted the tender moments of the connectedness of people and dealing with trauma. The Iklwa shaped top was also reflective of a jewelry piece inspired by the legend of Shaka Zulu, founder of the Zulu Empire in Southern Africa who defended against European colonialism.
The show entitled “Point of Departure” was not only a runway show, gallery, installation, celebration of Black joy and trauma, but it was also a concert performance which Jameel Mohammed would lead with the film “A Reminder” followed by a song. At the One Fulton Street location in New York City, Mohammed delivered a surprise performance with a song titled “Goodbye,” which was written and performed with the R&B and soul band, founded by Devin Hobdy and Corey Smith-West, called BatheBoys. “Goodbye” is a story of a protagonist escaping their mental state and reflecting on avoidance, emotional acknowledgment, and growth.
More meaning than one could decipher, Khiry’s sculptural fine jewelry and afro-futurist aesthetic reflect generational trauma. A trauma that brings strength, especially when pieces are worn by some of the most graceful and empowering women, like Michelle Obama, Megan Thee Stallion, and Amanda Gorman, to name a few. Illustrating a historical continuum of experienced trauma, Khiry delves into ideas of reclamation that allow for ownership and the liberation of Black people through the triumph over oppressive politics.
Only three days after showing at NYFW, and two days after his debut attendance at the prestigious MET GALA, on September 15th, Jameel Mohammed would be announced as a nominee for the 2021 CFDA American Emerging Designer of The Year Award. The 26-year old is already a 2021 Finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, solidifying his voice, mission, and Blackness, in the fashion industry and pop culture.
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