There are some people that express their frustrations with the fashion industry and do sweet nothing about them and there are others, who channel their frustrations into positive change. Amnah H Knight is one of the latter. Based in London by way of the Middle East, Amnah’s fascination with magazines was born when she first started visiting the capital during summers as a child. Whilst she was initially captivated by the British newspaper rack, having never encountered such content before, she soon became sick of flicking through the same staid pages month after month. The magazines were filled with homogenized ideals – whether that be age, gender, body type or race – and the pages gave Amnah anything but a sense of belonging, leading her to believe that there wasn't a place for her, or people like her, in the industry.
Fast forward to 2016 and Amnah had decided enough was enough. Having spent hours discussing the DNA of the fashion industry with close friend and writer Tom Rasmussen, before identifying that it is often built upon foundations that favour exclusion over inclusion, Amhah took things into her own hands and the pair co-founded annual publication Cause & Effect. Something of a snapshot of the creative and diverse fashion and art found on the streets of London, the magazine prides itself on celebrating craftsmanship and platforming unheard voices and unseen bodies with something to say, in turn giving people the opportunity to be part of fashion’s fantasy. A true marriage of fashion and politics, the conversations covered include everything from mental health, race and body type, to gender, sex and sexuality, featuring the artists, makers, activists, models, photographers, designers and writers working on the fringes today. Meanwhile stories about fat-shaming, fetishism and living as a drag queen in London via the Middle East grace the pages, each sitting within one of the magazine’s three chapters: community, space and self.
The current issue is testament to this, featuring vogue house mother and HIV+ activist Kia Labeija, New York trans female dancer and FKA Twigs collaborator Imma, and Belgian political designer Walter Van Beirendonck, amongst others. The magazine doesn’t stop there though.
Each issue of Cause & Effect – now stocked in the likes of MoMa, Magculture, Tate Modern, Wardour News (where it sold out twice over) – has an ‘Out of Print’ section, that sees the magazine collaborate with an artist of a different medium on a body of work, accessible for readers by way of a secret code on the back pages.
This summer also saw Amnah host “Woke… But Then Make It Fashion” – a series of talks surrounding the challenges of creating a genuinely diverse mag, in collaboration with new London bookstore Libreria. But when it comes to her personal long-term mission, Amnah would like to turn Cause & Effect into a publishing house, in order to continue to empower people, through storytelling that’s honest, dignified and truthful in its approach. It’s safe to say Amnah is one of the figures spearheading an indie publishing movement that prides itself on inclusion and true diversity, not one that’s tokenistic in its approach. When it comes to the publishing house, we’ll be backing that Kickstarter.
Words by Brooke McCord