What is Insan? – our purpose and aims

Insān presents a new fashion perspective. We present fashion that is introspective and directed, that tackles important messages and challenges pre-conceived barriers. We are a conscious fashion label that questions and answers.

We are acutely aware of the problems the human race face in modern climates – from issues surrounding the integration of immigrants, the dissociation and separation ideologies that infiltrate modern politics and the concepts surrounding religious integration and acceptance within communities. Insān aims to present these issues through fashion. We not only shine light on the issues themselves, but explore mentalities and approaches to tackle these issues.

We have chosen clothing as our medium because we see clothes as an extension of our skin. They are the fabric that encase us and surround us in everything we do. This makes it the perfect canvas to present ideas and challenge issues due to the huge scope for which interactions with our art can take place. In wearing our art, and conveying powerful messages, we encourage people to explore and challenge their own beliefs and established cultural attitudes.

We see modern trends and behaviours towards conscious fashion. People are becoming deeply aware and selective of the clothes they choose and the brands they represent. This is because a brand has become much more than a logo – it is a community of human beings with shared ideals, behaviours and lifestyles. Insān presents a lifestyle of consciousness. It is for the individuals that question and enquire – who see suffering and difficulty in the lives of others and wants to do something about it. We are a community who take action, who show creativity and present something that is visually stunning. By challenging the senses and creating visually explorative art - that can be worn – we encourage you to question and challenge what is wrong in the world and as a result stimulate conversation.

Insān will become a leader in fashion wear and styling by creating fashion that matters. Fashion’s current narrative is a double-edged sword. We are surrounded by fashion that is spearheaded by cheap, fast trends and fluctuation or fashion that is intelligent in its conception and campaigns, but comes attached to unachievable prices. Insān will make high fashion accessible, it will make wearing something meaningful and beautiful achievable. We will be a brand that generates conversation, tackles wrongful norms and challenges what you already know.

The inspiration for the name – and what does it mean?

The name ‘Insān’ is a phonetic depiction of the Arabic word meaning human. The reason we picked the name is because we wanted to create something that was true to our message and true to our roots. The name, in its conception, highlights one of the profound difficulties that we aim to challenge. Whilst in the mother-tongue the word ‘insān’ means human, the phonetic is very close to the word ‘insane’ – which depicts madness. In this paradigm we present an interesting narrative - do we take the time to understand someone for the human being they are, including their roots and their beauty? Or do we take the surface-level understanding and see someone who is different, who is strange and who is ‘mad’ in their practices and beliefs? Do we treat each other like madmen, or embrace each other as mandem?

Our first line

Insān’s first line is one of deep exploration and gets to the substance of the brand from the start. Our first design is named ‘dancing spirits’ and is a re-imagination of Henri Matisse’s iconic painting The Dance. We have used the silhouettes of the dancing spirits in our tees to create a psychedelic masterpiece that promotes unity, oneness and understanding. The image of dancing is iconic in the sense that it comes to the core basics of human understanding. Through dance, music and laughter, we connect and we understand; it is precisely these feelings that are captured in this tee.

We used the technique of spraying due to its anti-establishment connotations. There is something very liberating about holding a can of spray and creating art. Watching those fine unstructured liquid droplets bring to life our stencils is something surreal. The effect achieved is one that gives each piece a story and a uniqueness. The defects and smudges that come with the imperfection of spray as a painting technique are perfect for conveying such powerful messages and creating a narrative within each and every piece of art produced.

Our second design explores the concept of madness and humanity. The ‘Madmen graphic jeans’ convey an eclectic counter-cultural message. On the front the jeans carry our ‘Insān’ branding whilst the back conveys the ‘madmen’ message. The jeans play on the double meaning of the word ‘insān’ (detailed previously) and explore this poignantly. We used fabric pens to create this design as they unequivocally allow us to explore what human beings can achieve with the simple marker pen. The design is reminiscent of youthful art and doodling – the shading of the margins and borders in the vibrant red is consistent with this. Meanwhile, the bold, almost cartoon style typeface for the branding is intelligent in conveying the message of understanding, like a child at school learns to understand the world around them, we encourage you to understand Insān. The shadow of madness is ever present, however, and shrouds the jeans quite literally from behind.

The final design we will explore is the ‘Immigrant tee’. This tee is very special to us as it was the spark that led to the conception of Insān. Our aim was to tackle the issues surrounding integration of immigrants into British society. We were struck by the negative narratives used to present immigrants in the media. Conversations surrounding “British values” and immigrants incensed us and cultivated a desire to challenge these accepted and omnipresent beliefs. We thought, “why not flip this on its head and challenge people for not taking the effort to understand the immigrants themselves, not taking the steps to connect with them as humans and understand their cultures and beliefs?”

The stamp like ‘Immigrant’ print on the back of the t-shirt give a blatant and unapologetic approach to the situation and works to bring attention to the concept. Whilst the simplistic Arabic on the front contrasts this. The Arabic depicts the word “bushri” – another word for ‘human’ but using a different dialect of Arabic. The reason for this is clear – black Arabic writing on a white background carries a vast array of negative connotations in the media and this specific combination has been used as a medium of scaremongering and fear-generation in both the West and the East. We wanted to reclaim this, reclaim Arabic for the beautiful and encompassing language it is and encourage people to understand immigrants and people in general for who they really are. See beyond the surface.

What does it mean to be part of the Insan family?

Insān – encouraging people to be a bit more human.

We foster creativity, we nurture inquisition and we develop links between humans. Be a part of the movement to reclaim fashion consciousness and support a brand that actually aims to explore humanity and cultivate human to human interactions.

Insān is more than a fashion brand – it is a creative house that tackles the world’s problems. Fashion is one of the ways we have chosen to do so. To be part of Insān means to be part of a collective that loves and supports the desire to understand people. We want to eradicate judgment, we want to encourage unity and we want to develop networks between individuals from anywhere and everywhere. This involves listening to you - as fellow inhabitants of this world, interacting with your thoughts and beliefs and listening to what you want a unifying fashion brand to look like. Insān is for the conscious and the active. These are the people we want to build this community with.

If what you have read or have seen has resonated with you, have a look at our Instagram - @insan.mandem - and support us by giving us a like or a share. Our DMs are always open for suggestions, criticisms, love and support so please tell us what you think and help us to create something beautiful.

Email – insan.madmen@gmail.com