Ella Boucht is a Finnish fashion designer based in London. Boucht established their label after graduating from Central Saint Martins fashion MA in 2020, having previously earned a BA from The Swedish School of Textiles. Their Central Saint Martins graduate collection, titled BUTCH, laid the foundation for their creative values and aesthetic: celebrating the heavily marginalised butch identity, and also manifesting new ways of thinking about beauty, sensuality, the body, sex, style, and gender expression today. Boucht’s work strives to expand the boundaries of queerness and gender, while also tapping into the rich history of lesbian life and creative expression.
One of Boucht’s primary design interests is tailoring, particularly in its potential as a radical technology through which to reimagine gender. Boucht’s work is a statement of visibility, which puts non-binary, trans and gender nonconforming bodies center-stage and creates a uniquely queer space within fashion’s largely heteronormative imaginary. It is clothes as armour, clothes as a sexual language, clothes as revived history, clothes as an act of fearless self-creation, clothes as a domain of dykes and lesbians, butches, femmes and studs, queer daddies and babies, enby beauties and transmasc stunners, T4T bois and girls, gender warriors and everyone who will be born into LGBTQI+ communities of the future. Boucht sees clothes as a gateway to a world where femininity is not determined by the male gaze, where queer masculinity is free from the toxic heritage of the patriarchy, and where gender is endlessly fluid and shapeshifting.
Boucht’s work is by no means limited to fashion – their key aim is to platform and support the contemporary lesbian and queer community, celebrate its history and fight for its future in an increasingly hostile political environment. From the very start, they have been interested in the history of taboo and censorship in relation to queer and female bodies and sexuality, and the way it has impacted our knowledge of ourselves and our history. From Donna Gottschalk’s photography, to Jack Halberstam’s writing, to Michelle Handelman’s documentation of the 1990s lesbian BDSM scene, to old issues of On Our Backs magazine — gems of lesbian culture are often hard to come by, and therefore cherished and shared around by those who discover them. An education we had to give ourselves because no one else would. Preserving and celebrating this radical spirit is crucial: in the Archive section of the website you can find visual and historical materials with links to the original sources. The archive explores the history, culture, fashion, imagery and writing from queer women, lesbian, trans and non-binary people throughout the decades.
The spirit of collaboration is crucial for Boucht’s creative universe, as well as supporting and platforming other queer artists. Some of their recent and ongoing collaborators include photographers Jesse Glazzard and Nora Nord, Lola Flash, Anya Gorkova; artist Edith Hammar; writer and curator Anastasiia Fedorova; musicians Sam Smith and NIMMO. The HÄN community Boucht started in 2020 (named after a gender-inclusive pronoun in the Finnish language) aims to provide a safe space for queer people to connect and share their creativity – photography, art, writing and personal correspondence and interviews – while also creating a contemporary archive for the community.
Words by Anastasiia Fedorova
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