Lebanese stylist and designer Amine Jreissati, founder of the fashion line BoyfriendTheBrand, released his Season 7 collection with a powerful social statement that calls for freedom.
Labeled Sajeen, meaning prisoner, the new collection aimed to voice out the conditions in which the people in Lebanon and also humanity overall have been living for a year: “Imprisonment”, “torment”, and “the pits of hell.”
Jreissati’s collection has significant embedded messages that express the struggles of the Lebanese people during this pandemic, and the rest of the world, but are also inspired by the Beirut explosion, which victims are brought to mind.
The word Sajeen seems to be taken from the last word of the song Wahyet Elli Rahou, an old Lebanese song by Hoda, Fairuz’s sister, and that was also sung by Hiba Tawaji.
The song plays in the background of the collection’s feature video. Wayhet Eli Rahou literally translates into “I swear on those who have departed,” implying the martyrs of the Beirut explosion.
The song goes on saying:
I swear on those who have departed
And who have become nostalgia
I swear on your life, O my land, and my sad history
O my friend who was martyred, my people who were displaced
We will go back, we will meet, we will come back, we will be united
The promise is on me, O my imprisoned people.
These lyrics, Jreissati embroidered them on the back of this outfit of his new collection Sajeen:
Jreissati says he held on to the “smoke, flames, and fire” in his eyes to create a color palette for his collection.
He further explains how the year has made us all feel, by saying that “everyone we know, or who walks this earth, has been a prisoner. From being confined to our own spaces, to having limited human or social interactions,” and “being stripped of our right to express our love… freely.”
The collection, through which he aimed to tell the people about the prison they are in, develops through the presentation with his message calling people to be instead “prisoners of our love”, “prisoners of endless knowledge,” and “prisoners of our fight for freedom, justice, truth…”
The young Lebanese designer does so by also creating a loud and calligraphic abaya and sherwal outfit with embroidered words that give the impression of being in tears.
Jreissati is dedicating all the proceeds of that particular exotic piece towards “supporting education for Lebanon through the LIFE scholarship programs.”
The clothes of this collection come in a relaxing style that could be worn at home during lockdowns, but also for outings as the hope for freedom from that “prison” prevails.
Ever since its founding, Boyfriend has been making loud social statements such as this one. In 2017, when it first came out, the statement of gender equality was evident.
Some would call it unisex but, for Jreissati, his brand is gender invisible, showing that gender labels are not needed, not even in fashion.
BoyfriendTheBrand has very recently launched its new online shop, affording those under lockdown in Lebanon and abroad to buy from home.