Rad Hourani’s attracted a global audience with the use of costume as a medium to introduce a new sizing system specific to entirely genderless wardrobes, generated from his invention of gender neutral patterns. The unprecedented unisex concept of his ready-to-wear and couture collections, gives voice to issues of gender identity, inequality and highlights their ties to mainstream codes of dressing.
From 2007 to 2014, Rad Hourani used the discipline of runway as manifestations for breaking through the divisions that occur in mainstream consumerism. Using this practice as a method of expression served as a zone of activism for emerging dialogues for public shifts. In this manner, he collaborated with politicians and other creatives, involved live musicians during his biannually installations in New York and Paris, and was hosted internationally by various cities and institutions.
Rad Hourani applies principles of architecture from the visceral premise of how each garment will move with the wearer. Therefore, the works were crafted with movement in mind and attend to these dynamics. His runway performances incorporated movement of the body, parading with gestures to conjure symbolic meaning. The articulation of the body contextually projects confidence and self-celebration, as an aesthetic disruption of social barriers. Persisting in challenging stereotypical narratives of labels, he questions the strict separations of men and women’s wear collections that are the basis of the fashion industry.
As the conventional catwalk is historically conceived to showcase latest trends, it is designed to perpetuate a form of consumer anticipation through the release of seasonal collections, made available in stores six months later. Rad Hourani rethinks a sustainable anti-trend strategy and is geared towards producing timeless pieces, which are simultaneously available online to order as they are being shown. Repeatedly, he states “genderless, raceless, ageless, nationless, limitless” for changing the systematic conventions of the catwalk, when interviewed by the media about the theme of each season.
His walking art shows are presented at ground level, unlike the typical raised runways at the time, and the format of his catwalk was situated between the rows of seatings with no separations between the guests and the models. To add to the sense of an equitable environment his settings, he added elements of live music and specific lighting, tuning an inclusive ambience of belonging.
The ensembles were revealed through choreographed performance, where the forms evolve in motion. This allows for expression to manifest in the performer, with the given instructions; to walk slowly to the beat, sharply turn, march forward without stopping, and others. Their attitudes carry out metaphorical understanding of certain traits, like determination and perseverance. Further yet, they suggest a symbolism of pureness through their delivery as living sculptures. As the choreography progresses, we begin to notice the models coming all united together at the end, a metaphor of human union.
Rad Hourani’s years of diligence between world-wide institutions was dotted with frequent international press events, exhibitions, lectures, conferences and livestreams. His creations were carried by 250 locations in 30 countries and presented with several events around the globe, despite the economic crisis in 2008 and the absence of present day social media. His vision evokes radical change throughout the world and revolutionizes our reality.
Rad Hourani forges a space for niche discussion around societal and institutional biases by way of evolutionary activism concerning the impact of fundamental normative codes.Through his art practice, he demonstrated the impact of physical expression, from the runways to the streets, for wearers to upend societal conformity. The transformative nature of his geometrically neutral proportions demonstrate an unlimited language of silhouettes, rejecting the binaries of costume. The work is groundbreaking in the context of historical trends, like the garconne look of the 1920s and the peacock revolution of the 1960s. The depiction, which appears on the runway, proposes non gendered definitions of cuts and forms, causes deliberation to empower individual narratives.
© 2014 RAD HOURANI
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