British designer Christian Cowan has never been one to settle for just okay — especially when it comes to fashion week. So, of course, for spring ‘21, a fashion season unlike any other, Cowan had a surprise up his sleeve — one covered in sequins and wearing metallic cowboy boots. On Thursday, Cowan released a fashion film and campaign starring none other than Grammy winner Lil Nas X. (Cowan dressed the “Old Town Road (Remix)” singer for the 2019 MTV VMAs in a Prince-inspired silver, sequin suit.) What’s even more applause-worthy is the fact that proceeds from the duo’s collaborative unisex collection will benefit Black queer youth in Nas X’s hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, via The Loveland Foundation, a nonprofit founded by activist Rachel Cargle.
The film, which debuted on the CFDA’s digital runway platform Runway 360, stars a mix of models, designers, and activists, including Marc Jacobs, Parker Kit Hill, Chella Man, Jari Jones, and Aweng Chuol, among others. “Nas and I wanted the cast to not only be a representation of the [queer] community, but also the allies and trailblazers that have been key supporters of pushing queer representation in mainstream media,” said Cowan in a press release. “Supporting the queer community is so important to me, but as a small brand, we don’t normally have the ability to donate a lump sum of money like this.”
“What I love about this collection is that not only are the clothes super sick and show-stopping, but I’m also really proud of what it represents and all the people that it will help,” Nas X said. “Atlanta is my hometown and the LGBTQ+ community [there] is one of the most at risk, so I’m glad that we’ll be able to offer them some support.”
The collection itself is a perfect amalgamation of the two creatives’ styles and spirits, with bold prints like checkerboard and glitter seen throughout, as well as aesthetics reminiscent of the British punk movement of the ‘70s. For several pieces, Cowan partnered with Swarovski, using over 400k crystals to ensure that the collection shined. All in all, it was the rebellious nature of those featured in the film that truly inspired Cowan, as well as the entire queer community, which is “yet again fighting against outdated world views,” the press release said.
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