“Home of the Brave” is the name of the debut gender-fluid streetwear collection by award-winning London-born designer and photographer GRAHAM JOHN BELL. Featuring his bold fashion photography on quality streetwear that can be worn by day or night, the limited-edition line was unveiled this past September at New York Fashion Week Powered by Art Hearts Fashion. It will appear on more runways in New York and Miami, plus in dedicated pop-ups at major events, being set for 2023 (TBA).
“Home of the Brave” invokes questions around identity and society, while some might say it is the bastard lovechild of Vivienne Westwood and Helmut Newton. Manufactured in both the United Kingdom and USA, the collection, explains BELL, was developed with a made-to-order business model to respect the environment and offset the fashion industry’s much-scrutinized environmental impact from more traditional manufacturing practices.
On September 8, 2022, “Home of the Brave” officially debuted at the mega New York event where acclaimed international designers were showcased in true contemporary style over four days of runway shows at the city’s iconic Angel Orensanz Foundation Synagogue. Their showcase on the first day of “Gender-Fluid Fashions for 2023” was a notable standout.
Runway Images :
Photography: Arun Nevader
Styling: April Love Beauty
Editorial Images :
Models Payton George & Trin Kellan
Styling: April Love Beauty
Photography: Graham John Bell
Beyond just fashion, innovation, diversity, inclusion and gender-fluid creations were major themes in this year’s series of shows, pushing traditional boundaries like never before. On opening night, GRAHAM JOHN BELL was featured along with Los Angeles brand Mister Triple X + Dr. Martens, celebrity fashion designer Giannina Azar, and two other emerging fashion brands, Keziah and Alexandra Popescu-York.
BELL’s inspiration for this project stems from a belief that people can love whomever they choose and wear whatever they please to express and empower their authentic identities. The collection’s manifesto implies that individuals have a right to choose–healthcare, fashion and sexual expression–all reflecting a sense of bravery in the “land of the free” as experienced in the year 2023, not 1776. Although the line does harken back to 1776 by giving a nod to Marie Antoinette, who alongside her husband Louis XVI went broke helping to finance the American Revolution (that led to the Declaration of Independence in 1776), France’s financial help was a major and decisive contribution towards the United States’ eventual victory and independence over the British. The debt incurred by Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette eventually led to the French Revolution and the beheading of the queen at age 37. Hence, the land of the brave owes a great debt to her and is why BELL has made his images an artistic expression of her.
BELL explains, “The brand was born out of a creative reflection phase after Covid-19. It inspired me to look into new technologies for printing and recent made-to-order options that were available. Using my own images helped set me free on the creative path where I’m confident that what we are producing in this gender-fluid line is bold, brave and still good on the environment as we only produce what is ordered and wanted. I really hope this and future collections start conversations for the people that wear and see ‘Home of the Brave’ to help normalize inclusion and encourage confidence in expressing sexuality.”
ABOUT GRAHAM JOHN BELL:
Graham John Bell is a lifestyle photographer with extensive experience in the international music scene, where he managed artist’s careers (including overseeing their music placement in Oscar nominated films), and led photography teams into international festival expansion plans for global music brands including Live Nation. As a London-born, Los Angeles-now-Las Vegas based artist, his unique cultural perspective has allowed him behind-the-scenes access to capture micro seconds of history that will never be repeated. His early visual arts education began with a study in the Strobism movement (late ‘80s). He later studied photography at University of California, Los Angeles and received the UCLA award for Mastery and Excellence in Photography (2009) awarded by a professor who worked with “the greats:” Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton and more. Today, Bell respects artists driven by creative excellence who push cultural boundaries from fashion icons Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen to music newcomer Fred Again… Bell continues to be committed to capturing pivotal cultural moments in his art – be it in photographs, garments or whatever expression comes next.