Unisex Fashion Designer

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How can fashion be used to create a political statement?

Meet the Indonesian menswear designer creating counterarguments to social norms through clothing.

“My designs aren’t typically commercial, most of them are very avant-garde,” says fashion designer Don Aretino as he begins to show us around his Kreuzberg studio. Guiding us through the rooms in which he develops his politically-fuelled creations, he says that the majority of the ornate wall hangings, rambling houseplants, and animal statues that adorn the walls and tabletops belong to his flatmate. That is until he points out a Rangda mask from his native Indonesia, prompting him to explain that his relationship with his homeland forms the basis of many of his collections. “My work revolves around a lot of political issues that are prevalent where I come from,” he says, referring to Indonesia’s status as the largest Muslim country in the world, and therefore its treatment of homosexuality as a taboo subject. “It’s pretty open to some stuff, but there’s still a line that you cannot cross. I think being gay is across that line.”