The Last Man Standing: A Collection Inspired by Near-Death Experience
Moaaz El Behairy is the Egyptian designer who refused to let a life-changing accident crush his creativity.
It’s by no means an original take to say that a lot of the world’s art is born of pain. Yes, many of the world’s greatest love songs tell the tale of love’s joys, but even more tell the tale of the inexplicable pain of heartbreak. From loss and hardship springs a motivation to squeeze the pulp out of life, and from some of the most emotionally turbulent times, springs a need for self-expression.
At least, that’s what Egyptian menswear designer Moaaz El Behairy found to be true after he suffered a life-altering car accident in 2016. The accident not only left El Behairy physically paralyzed, but also shattered the reality he had known.
“The accident changed the rules of the game,” El Behairy began. “I felt paralyzed, and life stopped. I could no longer follow my passion. My fingers couldn’t even hold a pencil.”
Rather than succumbing to despair, El Behairy embarked on a journey of creative reinvention and conceived his latest collection, aptly named ‘The Last Man Standing’. Industrial, future-facing, crisp and clean tailoring is the calling card of Moaaz El Behairy. This sartorial identity shines throughout all 30 looks from the project.
Showcased sleekly and imposingly in its campaign film, the designs subtly disrupt menswear conventions whilst honouring the grace and elegance of the traditional suit. The collection utilises an almost entirely black colour scheme, reflective of the creative block he experienced in the wake of his accident. El Behairy gave SceneStyled a little insight into the film’s creative inspirations.
“The narrative is split into two sections. The first location is actually the hospital where I received treatment for a year, and the second segment was filmed in a factory to reflect this stage of my professional development and the fresh chapter of my life that has now begun.”
El Behairy believes that every artist possesses the power to transform their painful experiences into art. His own experience turning disaster into something beautiful has taught him that "from the womb of suffering, hope is born."
Transcending mere clothing, El Behairy told SceneStyled that he views his creations as works of art that defy conventions and empower those who wear them. “I see how my designs can strengthen my clients' confidence and sense of self-worth.”
Being an artist in the notoriously rigid creative space that is the world of menswear comes with its hurdles, but El Behairy embraces these, saying he feels most of these perceived limitations are exactly that: a matter of perception.
“Yes, it’s a bit challenging to design for men, but I don’t feel restricted because I have a passion for telling my stories through my designs.”
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