Yamuna Forzani is Knitting Her Way to a Queer Utopia

Yamuna Forzani is Knitting Her Way to a Queer Utopia

I got a chance to catch up with Yamuna Forzani, a queer activist who expresses her vision of a queer utopia through clothing design.

She plays with traditionally gendered elements to craft a "post gender" world where everyone can wear whatever we please without imposed ideas of how we are meant to express gender.

Based in the Netherlands, Yamuna believes in the power of coexistence, collaboration, compassion, and color: "I feel that when people come together it creates something bigger than ourselves, something greater than one's own ego."

In Yamuna's world, there is no such thing as too much. Her designs fuse unexpected elements together with wild knit patterns donning her name, the banana as symbolic of genitalia, and "Queer AF."

I chatted with her about how her drawings relate to her artwork and some background on the patterns she chooses.

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Can you speak to how you express yourself through varying medium?

The reason why I chose to make suits is because I wanted to propose a post gender outfit that would focus more on the fabrics and colors. I wanted to go beyond the cliché of a boy in a dress, a girl in trousers. With my clothes it doesn't matter what gender, race, religion, background, class, or sexuality you are. I want to make clothes that are cosy and fun for anybody to wear. 

I use drawing as a way to show my humor and my utopia. I draw a lot and I also use these drawings as a starting point for the patterns that I design.

Can you tell us about all the various patterns in the outfit below?

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The pattern in this outfit I designed and knitted using a circular knitting machine. It is a composition of my drawings and my name. I use my name a lot for two reasons — the first one is because I want to show my own genderfull utopia, I am still learning and unlearning a lot of things and for that reason I don't want to say that this is how things should be more that this is what I stand for, this is my opinion. The second reason is more of a joke because I started writing my name on things when I was still in school as it was a bit taboo to do so. It was an act of rebellion. In my collection I collaborated with three separate graphic designers to make the other patterns. They were Gilles de Brock, Ieva Valule, and Joeri Woudstra.

Many of your garments have strips down the sides, reminiscent of athletic wear. Can you speak more on this?

In a lot of my garments I wanted to combine the masculine and the feminine to play with the clichés. To me tracksuits and sportswear are typically masculine. With one of my outfits I hand wove 12 meters of fabric that was inspired by the classic Chanel tweed, something very madame and feminine in my opinion — like a posh old lady. Then I made this fabric into a classic tracksuit shape. I like to play with the different elements. 

A lot of your designs seem to have an old early 90's computer vibe. How did this come about?

This wasn't the intention but I think the combination of the bright colors and the gradients I used in the patterns that looks like glitches when knitted. I really love that people have that connotation! 

 
Yamuna Forzani

Yamuna Forzani

As Qwear's Founding Editor, Sonny’s work centers around envisioning a future in which the clothing people wear does not dictate their chances of survival. Sonny was awarded 2015 dapperQ of the Year and was the first trans blogger to be sponsored by Topman. In March 2016, Sonny spoke at South by South West's first official queer fashion panel.