You aren’t what you wear. Photographing fashion beyond clothing

 
 
 

Convention doesn’t belong on Aart Verrips’ set. The fashion photographer has no interest in norms. When he picks up a camera, he’s looking to break boundaries. Verrips’ images are detailed and distinct, elevating models beyond labels and stereotypes. “I want to step outside of the conforms of identity, race, and sex,” Verrips says. He is showcasing the authenticity of South Africans, and sharing our talent with the world.  

Verrips has already made his name known globally. He’s been featured in magazines such as GQ and Vogue Italia. For him, photography is about exploring different realities. “With fashion, you can create any world on set,” Verrips says. “You can create ideals.” Rather than following tradition, Verrips pulls the rug from under it. His images can be confrontational, toeing the line between what’s expected of identity and what’s possible. Even the concept of beauty, so fundamental in fashion, is challenged. Western archetypes are abandoned. Men are invited to display their own glamour. Through his art, Verrips is changing not just the fashion world, but how we see each other and ourselves.

In the course of making his work, Verrips can explore his own self. “Creating new standards for South African fashion helps me a lot with my identity as a gay male,” he says. But Verrips’ process is also about forging a sense of community. “The most key thing in my career is collaboration,” he says. “You learn a lot about yourself, a lot about how you need to treat people.” By teaming up with fellow creatives, Verrips is crafting a scene that is personal and relatable. His photographs aren’t just about clothes, but how you fashion them. Expression is in your hands.