Cause & Effect magazine is the ultimate marriage of fashion and politics. By placing marginalised identities at its core, this latest and highly necessary addition of printed matter addresses topics of race, sexuality and gender with pure intention.
“We wanted to open up a space for actual people in the pages of a magazine”, explains Cause & Effect’s co-founder and editor, Tom Rasmussen. Teamed with editor-in-chief, Amnah H Knight, this strikingly harmonious duo have created a hub for fashion that “doesn’t require moral and intellectual compromise.” We caught up with the pair to find out more about their inspiration and the magazine’s profound effect on today’s current political climate.
Why do you think Cause & Effect is such a necessary addition today?
Tom: The magazine has grown into a space for unheard voices and unseen bodies. We want everyone to feel represented inside the pages, in some way or another…It’s necessary today because people are living in what fashion treats as trend or tick-box money making. So many types of phobia are rife across the world, and fashion has done a lot of harm to people’s perceptions of their worthiness. We want to make a space that shows how people are worthy and that they can be seen in the fantasy of fashion.
Tell me about the three chapters: community, space and self. How do you curate and identify with each?
Amnah: I want to tell stories. Telling stories is embedded in me from working in film. Our magazine merges social politics, fashion and the arts, so it seemed appropriate to tell our story in those chapters that identify with existence. It’s almost like birth, life and death; the beginning, middle and the end. With the first issue, we wanted to talk of change in multifarious ways and how we saw this within our communities, our spaces and ourselves. Change is the genre.
How do your personal experiences tie into the magazine?
Amnah: I was born in the middle east…because of my country’s strict regulations on what we read and what we watched, [in London] I would binge on every magazine I could pick up at the newsagents. They inspired me and blew my mind, of course, but they also said to me: “you don’t belong here” and “you are not represented here.” I had such a sense of feeling left out. I didn’t see where I could fit into that world. I wanted to create a magazine where everyone felt represented in one way or another. Whether it was through seeing themselves in the images directly, or relating to the content or the person we profiled, we wanted inherent diversity in the magazine. And by diversity we mean sex, age, body type, working background and ethnicity. We wanted a real melting pot that could represent the world we live in.
Tom: As a queer person, it can often feel like magazines tokenise and fetishise your identity. Entire teams that produce brilliant work are often homogeneously white, straight and middle class. We wanted to make work that was totally diverse and ingrained with varied experience from the off, because so often voices like mine and Amnah’s are kept out of the mainstream fashion forum. Every single contributor had felt this too, and that’s kind of how we went about creating the magazine — finding people who have something to say and haven’t been afforded the space to do so.
By championing these marginalised identities, you’ve created a universal space for openness, honesty and critique. Why is this so important at the moment?
Amnah: It is important today more than ever because we live in a society governed by people that want to separate us. They want us to fear one another and not understand or respect one another – they want to divide us. So, by creating this platform and by standing by one another we become stronger. I think it reflects what is happening around us. I feel that we are united more than ever because of what we are facing politically. By allowing different marginalised voices to unite, we are saying “this is the future liberals want.” But seriously, you combat it by learning about one another and uniting all that is beautiful and wonderful about each identity – by telling their truths and informing others.