Kojak Studio, helmed by Egyptian designer Mohanad Kojak has collaborated with Cairo-based label OrangeSquare on a new menswear collection. At the core of the collection titled Spectre, is the celebration of male vulnerability. With an unconventional take on traditionally masculine silhouettes and garments, the collaboration seeks to challenge the misconception of “men don’t cry,” which has given rise to toxic masculinity and its various forms. The classic men’s suit has been reinvented with a unique silhouette and is a standout piece in the collection. According to the designer, the suit’s “hand embroidery resembling armor contrasting with delicate fabrics emulates what it means to be a vulnerable man.”
Read our Q&A with Kojak below to learn more about the thought process behind the collection, and the collaboration with OrangeSquare.
Why was it important for you to challenge the misconception of “men don’t cry”?
Most of my collection’s designs are inspired by things that I go through or things that surround me. Being a man, you are always expected to carry yourself in a very specific way, and you are expected to not show your vulnerable side.
What does being vulnerable mean to you?
Vulnerability for me is being able to expose ourselves through emotions and rejecting the fear that we would be judged in a certain way.
How did the collaboration with OrangeSquare come to be?
Hatem Hafez, the founder of OrangeSquare came up with the idea of both entities collaborating — mixing the formality and sleekness of his brand with an edgy and bold twist from the Kojak aesthetic.
Do you have a favorite piece from the collection?
My favorite piece would be the embellished navy-blue suit and hand-embroidered striped pants with pearls. It’s a mix of everything featured in the collection. It has the couture look and feel with the hand-sewn embellishments while still maintaining the masculine structure of the suit.
How do you envision the pieces being worn?
We were keen on creating statement and timeless pieces that would be owned and not just worn. This is why a very limited number of pieces are produced from each style. Despite how bold the pieces are, they are versatile and can be styled in different ways.
What is next for Kojak Studio?
We are always determined on being one step ahead by collaborating with other artists and design houses which is a great opportunity for both parties to expand their horizons and be experimental. As for Kojak Studio, there are still so many opportunities and fields to grow in — from arts to design, while empowering minorities. For the last couple of years, the brand has been intent on taking a more sustainable approach which is no longer a choice with the worldwide situation.