12 December 2023 – 23 February 2024
Curated by Mobius Studio
Explore Streetwear as a form of art expression
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Fashion has always been a mirror of culture: it tells the stories of the people and their heritage, it reflects their histories, traditions and values. The process of the creation and construction of clothing is thus not merely an industry designed to persuade consumerism but, in its highest form, is an expression of identity. In the past few decades, streetwear, in particular, has defied the exclusivity of luxury brands and has elevated the casual and the fun to mainstream fashion. Sprouting from minorities and close-knit communities, streetwear was originally used as an outlet for many to express personal frustrations, passions or opinions. Today, we continue to observe similar embodiments, where the T-shirt becomes a way of advocating, exposing, making amends, condemning, confronting, objecting. A simple piece of clothing acts as a facade for vocalising the internal, and actively and publicly displaying one’s values. T-shirts are eﬀectively tools for communication in campaigns, fundraisers and public endorsements, and are adopted as such by individuals and grass-roots communities, as well as institutions.
The power of the T-shirt is not a recent phenomenon, but was long recognised by Egyptian designer and illustrator Mohieddine Ellabbad. He not only observed the potential of this canvas to hold meaning, but also delved into a detailed and profound analysis of T-shirt collections and the possibilities this wearable medium oﬀers to ignite important conversations.
Mohieddine Ellabbad’s remarkable examination will serve as a compelling starting point, propelling our collaboration with 20 selected designers for this exhibition. His pioneering exploration of the T-shirt as a medium for graphic design and social commentary will set the stage for an engaging and thought-provoking dialogue. Drawing inspiration from Ellabbad’s analysis, the invited designers will embark on a journey of interpretation and expression, using their individual perspectives and design sensibilities to conceptualise monumental T-shirts that amplify the impact and potential of this wearable art form.
Ellabbad’s visionary publication, The Illustrator’s Notebook: The Power of the T-Shirt, examined the immense potential of T-shirts as a unique medium to convey political, social and environmental messages through graphic design. Ellabbad saw T-shirts as a form of wearable graphic design, providing an opportunity to express ideas and engage with a broader audience.
A group of 20 designers who have demonstrated exceptional talent and a unique perspective in the field of graphic design.
Each designer created T-shirt designs specifically for the exhibition, incorporating their own interpretation of Ellabbad’s analysis. This select group of designers will contribute thought-provoking designs that push the boundaries of creativity and underscore the transformative potential of wearable graphic design. The T-shirts will be monumental in scale to amplify their impact and highlight their significance in the exhibition.
Amna Al Saleh
Azim Al Ghussein
Nassim Riad Azarzar
Nora Aly and Ahmed Hammoud
Nora Zeid and Sally Mallat
Ryan Vincente Lee Grees
Sarah Shebl and Maha Akl