Co-Director and Editor of ‘The Remix: Hip-Hop X Fashion’ documentary, Farah X hopes audiences take in the need for women and people of color’s stories to shine across both the entertainment and fashion industries.
The Remix, in collaboration with MCM, focuses on the influence of hip-hop music in the late 80s and 90s in fashion and gives a voice for those deserving of the credit. As empowered female artists, including Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliot and Lil’ Kim, captivated the nation, the influence of female designers and stylists working diligently behind the scenes began to take off.
The documentary highlights fashion architect Misa Hylton and streetwear designer April Walker who impacted and took the hip-hop fashion world by storm.
We had a chance to chat with Farah X on the red carpet premiere of The Remix: Hip-Hop X Fashion at the Tribeca Film Festival to chat all things music, fashion, and social activism. Check out what she had to say below!
The Knockturnal: So exciting about the premiere of The Remix: Hip-Hop X Fashion! Can you tell me a little about how you first got involved with the MCM project?
Farah X: I was brought on board by our co-director and producer Lisa Cortés. She, and our amazing producer, Emil Wilbekin, had already come up with idea, and then they brought me on as an editor and co-director. It was something I didn’t really know much about, but I started doing a lot of research and I found it so fascinating.
The Knockturnal: That’s amazing. What are you hoping audiences take away most from the documentary?
Farah X: What I’m hoping audiences take away most from this project is that women’s stories are viable and valuable, and people of color’s stores are viable and valuable. We have the power to change the narrative and to really highlight our own stories, and that it’s time that we do that. We should not be dictated anymore about what stories are worth being told
The Knockturnal: How are you seeing the industry change now, especially in an era of #MeToo and social justice activism. How are you personally seeing the media change, and what are you hoping future generations will bring to the table?
Farah X: I feel like the conversation now is at a point where we won’t take it anymore. And I think a lot of that has to do with the administration we have in office; there’s a backlash to that administration and people are actively looking for other stories, rather than the white, male stories. Not to say that we don’t love our white, male allies, but that has been the story since the beginning of time.
Now there is actually a want and a need and a desire for other stories. People of color, women of color, LGBT, just women in general, and I feel like that is what this new generation is coming into. And more openness and acceptability of all different kinds of- not only stories, but body types. You have someone like Lizzo, who is this beautiful black woman. And she’s celebrating her body, and I don’t think that’s happened in mainstream media and been that accepted from what I can remember! I grew up in an era of stick figures, and Brooke Shields and beautiful women, but there was only one type
I think there’s a greater acceptance now and hope the generation that comes up is 1) raised with the knowledge that we are all equal and we all deserve to have our stories told, and 2) that they push that even further. Because with the backlash we’re having now with the administration- in the media we are moving forward in terms of entertainment, but in the media in terms of news, we’re still in a really bad place.
The Knockturnal: The Remix places a big emphasis on people of color and everything that the various communities have created to influence the fashion and entertainment world, sometimes without credit. How do you define the grey space between appropriation versus appreciation?
Farah X: The conversation of appreciation versus appropriation is very interesting because it is a grey area. A lot of it has to do with who is doing the appropriating and appreciating ,and how are they appreciating. You can’t just wear a Native American headdress walking down the street because you think it’s cool. You need to know the history behind it; you need to know what it represents. You need to know why you’re doing it, and if it would be considered disrespectful in that culture. It just requires a consciousness, and a forethought to what you will be doing and why. I think just using cultural staples as fashion without any indication or respect to the heritage is appropriation, but using cultural staples with an appreciation and a respect for the heritage, depending on who does it, is okay. It’s a very grey area, so it’s hard to say. I don’t think it’s black and white, and I don’t think it could ever be black and white.
The Knockturnal: Absolutely. It’s a part of a much bigger conversation, but that’s an important distinction. When it comes to the fashion industry, historically, men have been dressing and designing for women, but now we’re in a place where women are dressing and designing for other women. What has that change meant to you personally?
Farah X: Personally, I just want to see more women doing everything! There are amazing male designers; I love them. But I’m always happy to support a woman. Because if we’re not supporting women, I feel like we’re not doing our job. It’s for women to lift up other women. We can wait for the men and our male allies to do it, but we won’t get the change we want without we, women, doing it ourselves.