Fashion has come a long way. We feel extremely lucky to be living in one of the most diverse cities in the world where the majority accepts almost any and everything whether it being your religion, sexual orientation, hobbies, race, style- it can all be found in London.
However, the extent of our freedom of expression is arguable as Central Saint Martins Graduate and Stylist Ibrahim (IB) Kamara teams up with South African Photographer Kristen-Lee Moolman to push the boundaries even further. Their current photo exhibition at Somerset House- 2026 is part of a larger show entitled ‘Utopian Voices, here and Now’ featuring British- based creatives who explore ideas of gender, sexuaulity and race. “For me, ‘2026’ is escapism to a world I can do whatever I want” –Kamara.
2026 (on display until 29th August 2016) portrays what Kamara imagines masculinity and black male fashion will look like in 10 years.
Do you feel restricted in expressing yourself here in London despite the restrictions you may have experienced in Sierra Leone?
IB: I don’t think I was restricted in Sierra Leone but I never really grew up there but I don’t think I would have been restricted. London gave me my voice and a platform to express myself. How did the people of Johannesburg, South Africa react to your concepts? Was it reciprocated well there? It was well received. Africa is one of the most progressive place at the moment and its very beautiful. I think in the west we have this idea of Africa and its a very old school Africa.
How do you define masculinity in your own words? Masculinity is how you choose to express it. There is no one way of masculinity it could be anything you want to be. Do you feel there is a lot of pressure on the black male to act and look a certain way?
IB: Yes there have been a lot of pressure for decades especially due to the heavy influence of the African American man but now I think that is not the case black men are a lot more free to be whatever they want to be.
Where do you go to feel fully liberated in being your true self? Do you ever feel you have to wear a mask?
IB: I feel totally liberated were ever I go. I never want to fit in, I get bored so easily. I have always really been me and not really care that much about the rest of the world.
What Menswear brands do you feel are most successful at challenging masculinity through their collections?
IB: Charles Jeffery, Grace Wales Bonner
Who would be you ideal person to style and why?
IB: To be honest my friends are always the ideal people to style or the woman or man next door, I find that more interesting.
How would you describe your approach to Styling?
IB: I approach styling with a no right or wrong attitude.