Amen Break speaks to the myth of singular authenticity - and binary. Not least with men wearing masculine skirts that transcend binary, but also in the intellectual references of the design process. A lemon and lemon juice carton graphic illustrates the press release. The illustration is labeled lemon ‘natural’ and juice (with lemon illustration) ‘processed’ with a double-headed arrow between the simple images. It seems to joke at the quote from Donald Winnicott’s psychoanalysis “and yet a trace of the true self exists in the false self” (1960). This quote titles a popular meme of dinosaurs followed by a series of arrows as they become oil, plastic then plastic dinosaurs. Ideas of true and false self are becoming popularlised to new audiences, in part because of this contemporary humour. Amen Break might ask: What is a product if not a re-mix of its raw materials? What is ‘original’ and ‘remixed’? Is one more authentic than the other?
Further into the press release, a suit and tracksuit illustration get the same double-headed arrow positioned between them; titled ‘The Struggle of Polar Opposites’, ‘(Track)suits’ explaining eloquently, “the root of the study is the dichotomy between ‘for- mal’ and ‘street’”. The suit and the tracksuit's differences feel almost arbitrary, and imagined. Writing ‘for’ ‘mal’ Abloh echoes the style of a poet who contributed words to this film, Kai Isiah Jamal, who writes using enjambment and breaks in iterations that disorientate the binary. This hammers home a sense of freedom in the signifiers of identity - binary or non-binary we all melt into the same human existence.
Exploring and traversing binaries of contemporality and tradition, this collection reminds us that colouring outside of the lines bring mostly joy.