Hey Mafters, new year celebrations are done, and we’re not about to go for a 2021 Re-run.
We're already one month in, and this year, we are giving you the full-on premiere !
We are upgrading from the undenying cliché to the one and only Fichier Caché, a Tunisian brand that has entered the metaverse of Tunisian fashion, and today we’re exploring it from all angles.
Realizing the lack of North African inclusivity in the Tunisian fashion community, the young and rising artist Nyzar Trabxlsi also known as NZX who is art director, graphic designer, DJ/Producer, and entrepreneur has risen to be a phenomenon of his generation.
By creating Fichier Caché, NZX aims to inspire the expansion of the scope and boundaries of Tunisian Fashion by combining tradition and innovation; graphic design and technology.
And we can see that through his fearlessness that is translated through culture, proving him to be a generational artist. therefore when asked :
When did you first realize that you were inclined towards creativity and fashion, was it something you wanted to do from the beginning.
He answered while taking us back to where he started:
“For me, fashion is a part of street culture because it is the first thing people see on you and it is the first thing you want to be seen in. What you wear is the first point of contact with people. So like, when you buy a new pair of sneakers, what is the first thing you want to do? Go out and be seen on the streets with your crew in those kicks! Fashion is one of the purest forms of self-expression.
I remember I started dabbling in fashion and streetwear by printing my designs on shirts and customizing sneakers with Posca markers. I would do it just for my own personal wardrobe or for my friends to have an original touch and to stand out as unique. I never thought it would turn into anything like it is today. But, i quickly found myself addicted to the creative process and wanted to share my creations with more people beyond my close-knit circle of friends.”
And with that answer he highlighted the idea that he had a big part in opening up the door for the conversation about the binding feeling of major disconnection which drove him towards starting FC.
Going back to when the brand started? Can you give us some insight into what inspired you to set up the brand? How did you start the label, your ethos behind it, and how did you collaborate with Indigenous Art Centers and Aboriginal artists to design the textiles utilized to create your garments?
“My inspiration for starting FC was to create what I would wear and what I wasn’t seeing being offered in the North African scene. I wanted something that reflected where I came from that at the same time was also in tune with the creative styles and art that I consume but feel a major disconnect with (geographically, economically, politically). I knew I wasn’t alone. I knew there were creatives and artists out there, including from the underground communities that I am a part of, who also felt this disconnect. I wanted to express myself as an artist and fill a void at the same time.
With the prevalence of Western culture(s) in everything imaginable, fashion included, I wanted to create something for Twensa, North Africans, Arabs, and their Diasporas to connect with and enjoy. I consider FC to be a “By Us, For Us” brand with an ethos of creating a visual language for people of the “Third World” while using a language understandable to those who live beyond it. The “those who live beyond it” means the West and “First World” developed countries. The West and the “First World” can see it, recognize it, appreciate it, but they won’t resonate with it and its subtleties. Because it isn’t necessarily made for them. It’s made for us.”
Fashion, music, and art are three very strong channels to empower our young generation and to reinforce our communal vision toward a new inclusive fashion scene and that’s exactly what inspired NZX to create movements within each collection of his brand to not just create clothes that people liked, in fact, he wanted to create clothes that represented the soil of the generation Y and Z’s struggles and thoughts which he got to explain to us when asked :
How did the ideas you were interested in manifest in each of your ensuing projects?
“I use FC as a creative outlet to talk about subjects like identity, mental illness, and a better tomorrow."
Shabab el 3alem el Thaleth / Third World Youth was, at first, something i used to say amongst friends in a sarcastic way. I believe we need to take that pejorative label and own it, embrace it, reclaim it, turn it into something positive. And it has proven to resonate with a lot of youth in Tunisia and other places of the “Third World”.
“Bipolarland” was my way of poking fun at my own mental health by juxtaposing the childhood joy of Disneyland with the adult woes of depression and bipolar disorder. Living with a mental illness is like a roller coaster, it has plummeting dips and steep highs.
Creative Rescue is a 1/1 collection in collaboration with Mohamed Amine the Founder of “Mustakil Project”. which uses upcycling and patchwork. And as a brand, we wanted to give FC’s old products new life by mixing old products together to make 1 of 1 original creation. The idea of upcycling I thought went very well with our history of limited edition collections being run 1 time only.”
For most brands, and Fichier Caché makes no exception, it’s no longer just about the clothes: the main focus is to create an entire world around the brand, an identity that the audience and consumers can relate to, allowing them to feel attached to the brand's vision, story and message to the world. And that's how FC successfully managed to build its community. FC’s designs are centered around questions like: How can we use creative expression to both show and challenge what “North African” means? How can we flip the idea that the “First World” is better? And people who wear the designs are helping shape that discourse, therefore it was very important for NZX to have hidden meanings behind every collection:
“Overall, I think of the collections as compilations of stories told through each individual piece. The names of the collections are not as important or relevant as the pieces in the collection themselves.”
Since its launch, Fichier Caché has steadily carved out a unique niche for itself, one that is made of people who want to succeed and who see the Third World’s successes. People who want to choose their own destiny and have their own rules: “FC also attracts people from all kinds of circles like dance, filmmaking, and extreme sports.”
With those norms being set, strategic moves needed to be in tune too, which drives us towards the collaboration streak Fichier Caché has been going onto from Art Culture Studio to INDINYA, and rising artists and rappers like KTYB, that often leads to more innovation that gives birth to a new language parented by two different creative minds: “Collaboration leads to more innovation. When two or more people, brands, or mindsets come together speaking different languages, a new language is born. This is what I have learned throughout my career.
Every collaboration has its own unique lessons, successes, and challenges. FC collaborates with creatives from or based in the Arab World and its Diaspora to put out an awesome product that has meaning. Besides that, FC does not have real borders or restrictions about what type of creative brand or individual we collaborate with, which I think is a strength.”
And as you can tell from many collaborations and different campaigns, it is no secret that Music has an important impact both on NZX and Fichier Caché:
“Music is very important for me since I am a DJ/Producer. It’s not by chance. I’ve had many nights listening to/or playing music on big powerful speakers with tons of people until sunrise. So, supporting music-cultural figures is an everyday task for me. "
He also added :“FC supports musicians that we admire and believe in, and they support us for the same reasons. It’s about community support. The music industry in Tunisia has become a numbers game. Don’t trust the YouTube views. There are extremely talented artists making hits and they still struggle to pay for a single studio session. There is an important difference between an artist who sticks to their vision and always strives to not repeat themself by constantly innovating and an artist who repeats themself for 10 years until he becomes dried up."
NZX’s work excites and conflates the senses while challenging traditional notions of Tunisian fashion, all due to his background in the underground community which helped keep him humble in his growing :“I always believed that you need to come from the bottom to appreciate success and not adopt or appropriate this “underground image” just to follow a trend.”
It also helped him transform all his knowledge into new shapes and materiality of the clothes he was making in Fichier Caché.
That manifests in mature and confident collections, pushing the brand into a future where the young generation is at the center.
And Now, a new collection has been recently dropped:
RAWDATA/S1, is a manifestation of the products’ different stories alongside a tweak in some of their packaging. A special RAWDATA Park was created to serve as the location for our photoshoot. (It’s an imaginary 3D landscape of larger than life sculptures with hidden messages around every corner.)
This is the first collection where the Fichier Caché did not drop a promotional video clip or mini-doc to coincide with the collection. Instead, the collection includes a Third World Youth The Movie “Bonus Features” DVD which was super fun to make.
“In the spirit of collaboration, shout out to Wassim Ghozlani who was kind enough to allow me to use a photograph of his for the “North African Sahara Crew” shirt.”
Now after talking about the different ways on how Fichier Caché is trying to reshape the industry from its position, strengthen its community and trusting its own instincts while opening wide the creative space for a whole generation to thrive, can we agree that it sounds like THE manifesto for the 2022?
Which leads us to wonder about the grand vision of the brand in general, which was answered as the following by the creative director of the brand :“I think we have already come so far, and we have “made it” in the local scene. My sights are set on crazier collaborations and being more present on an international stage to give North Africa the visibility it deserves.”
Finishing up the interview with a special advice from yours truly, the modern-day creative director in conversation for young creatives out there :“ Be authentic, don’t overthink it, and always go with your gut.”