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INTERVIEW: Amine Bendriouich

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Amine Bendriouich, a rising Moroccan fashion designer, doesn’t conform. For a start, if he could dress any celebrity, he’d choose David Bowie. Then there’s his motto, which comes courtesy of Yoda from Star Wars… More on that later. Even his label “Couture and bull***”, which is described as androgynous and timeless, doesn’t follow the seasonal collection scheme of the fashion industry.

A former attendee of ESMOD in Tunis, Bendriouich also lived in Berlin and collaborated with international artists to produce creative, symbolic, and urban clothing; making him one of the top ten finalists in the 2015 Fashion Prize Awards. We got the chance to ask the young designer about his journey in the fashion industry and his inspirations behind is successful line.  We caught up with the quirky designer to find out how straying from the norm has led him to produce such interesting collections.

Your collection “Couture and bull***” has a significant or unconventional name in the fashion industry. How did you arrive at this name?
Couture comes from the fact that I feel more like an artisan than a fashion designer. I like the fact that I work with my hands. Couture has been there a long time before the invention of the term “fashion”. “Bull***” is more of a personal opinion about some aspects of the fashion industry. I think there is a lot of bull*** and marketing techniques just to make people consume more. I like to see people wearing my stuff, but I don’t want it to be something that goes over the top.

Your clothes are described as “androgynous”. Did you set out intending to break gender barriers?
I don’t think I was intending anything, but then again, I don’t think about gender when I make my clothes. It all depends on how you wear, style and mix the pieces – the attitude you give the piece to make it yours.

You are of Moroccan origin, but have lived in Berlin and worked with artists from both England and the US. Do you feel your brand represents your background and environment?
I grew in a very rich culture. I am not only Moroccan but I also identify as Berber, Tuareg, Arab and African. As a kid I was very influenced by Japanese mangas, American hip-hop culture, and the electronic music scene in Europe. I think in my brand you find influences from all these elements, and of course, it speaks about who I am and where I come from.

Do you feel that your clothes make a specific statement or message?
My clothes have always made a specific statement or message. I always try to use the clothes as a medium to express personal opinions. For example, my summer collection called “Winter in Africa” was a satiric view on the collection system in the fashion industry. So what is winter in Africa? It’s colourful, sunny and hot.

What has been one of the hardest hurdles you had to overcome in the fashion industry?
I think of one the hardest things is to stay creative, productive and to fit into the whole system of this industry at the same time. I think the hurdle is to find the right balance and business model for you. It’s something that I don’t think I have overcome yet, I am still trying to figure out my way.

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