Fascinated by the theatrical and absurd, Air Ouane reimagines the standards of gender and identity. Inspired by his personal life, he creates a patchwork of clashing values. Flowers, drawings and corsets. The ‘not so innocent’ designs confront the labels and standards we have been taught since childhood in order to reimagine what identity means in today’s world.
What has been the biggest influence on your work?
The biggest influence on my work has been my own personal life. Art has allowed me to get to know myself. More specifically, it helped me to accept my identity and find my place in society.
Your creative work carries a sense of absurdity. How does this reflect your view on the current system of fashion?
To me, every piece of clothing has its own story. Through re-imagination and re-interpretation, designs can completely transform the relationship between clothing and the individual.
Your brand is based in Paris. How has the city influenced your work?
Despite my love for the city, I find Paris quite close-minded and not open enough when it comes down to differentiation and originality. My preference goes out to London, which has influenced me through its cosmopolitanism, open-mindedness an stylistic richness.
How important is it for you to leave your comfort zone in order to create your creative work?
To create, is a complex process and can be disturbing to the creator at times. You must have your eyes wide open and be fascinated by the unknown in order to defend the cause that is your creative work.
What personal, cultural, historical or artistic references you find yourself going back to for inspiration or research?
I find myself going back to historical fashion. The Rococo period has been inspiring me enormously for quite some time. The way how dress becomes a coquettish game of theatrically showing off, fascinates me.
Your collection speaks a clear vision on sexuality, identity and freedom. How much of yourself is translated into your designs?
My designs are very personal and have been therapeutic for me. I create my own world, free of taboo and a paroxysm of freedom and expression.
Beside this collection, on what vision do you want to build your brand? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The vision of my brand is to artistically reimagine the standars of gender. Although the collections are designed for men, they can be easily worn by women. I want to design ‘human’ clothing and not create something for the fashion industry to label. In five years, I see myself being based in a workshop atelier in London, working with my team and living for my art.
interview ANIEK STROEKEN
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