As the door opens to lead to the main foyer, some mannequins stand tall flaunting their ruffled shoulders, while others embrace their delicate angels of pearl and sequin. Red is said to be the colour of blood and passion; however, for the SS18 season, it is also set to be the colour of current reality.
Mohanad Kojak is one of Egypt’s most prominent names in its growing fashion industry. The young designer is often associated with controversy and avant-garde fashion. After walking into many households through the renowned TV program, Project Runway, Kojak chose to build a stronger rapport with the region through taking part in the tenth season of Fashion Forward Dubai.
After a successful show, the experimental designer brought back his “Rage of the Angels” for the first exclusive collection viewing in his hometown, Cairo. The statement designs, which declared the designer’s appreciation of nostalgia and drama also addressed many modern-day trends.
While the crowd snapped pictures with the consolation of mannequins, a few items were undoubtedly major winners. The hand-embroidered denim jacket, the “No War in Kojak” t-shirt and contemporary red riding hood trench were by far the night’s most popular items, as the capital’s fashion lovers snatched them.
Daily News Egypt sat with the designer to discuss inspiration, preparing to meet a regional audience, and the importance of fashion education.
What did you plan to communicate through Rage of the Angels?
This collection aims to address genocide as an idea in general. For me, this can expand to include any form of discrimination as well as not accepting others due to their personal beliefs. As for the design aesthetic, this collection represent my favourite silhouettes and shapes; nonetheless, they are all coated in a colour that is not quite familiar for me; red.
The colour pallet speaks of the aggression and violence, which reflect the weird circumstances the world currently lives with. On the other hand, most of the lining is done in my signature shades of pink, so it is not completely red.
Which piece would you name a personal favourite?
My favourite piece is actually the red lace shirt with theatrical tulle ruffles. It has the delicacy of lace, yet, it still embraces the exaggeration carried in the oversized ruffles. Personally, anything that features exaggerated volume is good to go.
Why did you choose this topic for your Fashion Forward Dubai debut?
I did not specifically choose this collection for Fashion Forward; on the contrary, I was planning to do something more dreamy and peaceful. However, I was affected by the surroundings and the traumatic news happening everywhere around the world. Despite the bubble that I try to keep around me in order to remain moving forward; this time, it got to me.
Accordingly, the collection’s concept changed upside down; I could not create a dreamy fantasy amid such global conflicts.
How would you describe your journey to Fashion Forward Dubai?
Preparations for fashion forward were truly difficult and, to say the least, crazy! I am still a student at university; meanwhile, I have a fully-functioning business. Normally my day starts at six in the morning and ends around two in the morning. Aside from my normal schedule, I had to design 30 comprehensive outfits for Fashion Forward.
On the other hand, the short notice meant that during a very limited period of time I had to finish the entire collection while dedicating time to make sure that my team and work are operating normally. To sum up the experience, it was an absolute no-sleep couple of weeks leading up to the big day.
How did this experience reflect on you?
It was a great experience. It was in fact as influential as participating in Project Runway. Every time you travel and meet creative people from different countries, with different aesthetics, the opportunity ends up teaching you a lot; about yourself and the world around you. Meanwhile, it also gave me an opportunity to experience first-hand how different people react to my work; it gave me a wider perspective, bigger than my normal circle.
I might reflect a stubborn personality, however, I enjoy learning from others. In parallel, I would never stop learning no matter how old I get or how far my experience would expand. I would not think twice about interning after 30 years from now, once I find an entity that can add to my knowledge and feed my passion. Therefore, Fashion Forward Dubai was certainly an insightful experience that taught me a lot.
To what extent is proper fashion education fundamental for the upcoming generation of Egyptian designers?
Despite my early start before traditionally learning fashion design, I believe that having proper education can tremendously help a lot of people get to their desired targets faster and easier. Not everyone should struggle to get the fundamental information; not everyone has the required passion and will to pursue it.
I believe that it worked for me because I do not have anything else to do in life but fashion. It is an everyday relationship, it is how I express myself and how I interact with my surroundings.