ThIS London Fashion Week brand
IS using fashion to empower
It’s a new era in fashion. Brands are progressively challenging traditional boundaries between menswear and womenswear, and upping the sustainability game. With its colourful and gender-defying garments, Istanbul-founded and London-based label DB Berdan is ready to change industry standards for the better. We caught up with Beg and Deniz Berdan, the designer duo behind the brand, to find out how rave culture inspired their latest show at LFW, and why using fashion to engage with social issues is so important to them.
You’re a community-oriented brand, which is known for its inclusive DNA. Do you consider yourselves to be activists? Yes, we do, in the sense that we gather different communities together in order to understand each other. We take risks when it becomes necessary to do so. We are activists for the acceptance of basic human rights.
You’re going far beyond the old “androgynous” cliché of fashion. What does gender-fluidity mean to you and why do you believe it’s so important? We think people are bored with the monotony of making each model look the same, with a one-beautiful-face fantasy. We want to break that illusion and bring people into our reality, which is one that sees groups from all backgrounds live together. For people who come from societies like ours (Turkey), with its closed communities and neighbourhood pressure, visibility is of vital importance.
Your latest presentation at LFW seems like a nod towards cyber-goth couture. What was the inspiration behind it? This season’s collection is called Self Love Club. It takes the male-dominated sports club industry and turns it into an all-gendered inclusive space, which celebrates self-love and embraces differences. There’s a nod towards cyber-goth style, as we’ve collaborated with the symbol of all positivity, Smiley Company, and we’ve referenced rave and acid house culture.
How do you bridge the gap between designing crafty pieces and preserving everyday wearability? They say beauty is pain, but we believe that multi-functionality is way better. You work all day, then go out to party. In a city, nobody has the time to go home and change into evening wear, so it’s important to have clothes that look good and feel good, be it for business or for pleasure. Our design ethos is to create urban luxe.
How would you like to see fashion evolve? When you think about fashion, you initially think of its superficial side: capitalism and consumerism. However, we mustn’t forget that fashion is probably the fastest-changing industry after technology. As a creator, you have the option to alter the course of things. The industry is morphing into a more conscious entity, thanks to the people who have been working to improve it for a long time.
We’ve spotted dreads, braids, baby curls and neons on your runway. How did you find working with Toni&Guy? This is our third season with Toni & Guy. They have an amazing, super-professional and creative session team. It was incredible to work with Toni&Guy’s brilliant International Artistic Director Efi Davies. Her way of taking an idea to the next level is outstanding. Our fabulous stylist Kay Altamirano has the same way of working, too.
What were the key hair references for this show? Our key references were pan-sexual colours, sculptural Olympic rings hairpieces, lots and lots of yarn, beautiful cornrows representing marathon tracks, and fabrics that were torn apart and wrapped around hair for that ultimate 80s vibe. Oh, it was truly divine!
Your brand is a reminder of the fearless creativity that London fashion is synonymous with. How has the city shaped you? London is the city of strangers that come together to form a new culture. Where we felt like outsiders in our society, London brought us together with other misfits and allowed us to find acceptance. We love the way in which the city has enabled us to develop self-love and to be free.
Your pieces are fun and comfy. They are also really empowering. How would you define your general ethos? We’re a matriarchal company that questions norms. The result is that we have created our own community and a sort of family. And we have encouraged people from various backgrounds to say out loud what they believe is right.