GmbH just made their Paris Fashion Week debut during Men’s having already been dubbed as Berlin’s “hottest new menswear brand”. Everything is produced in Germany’s capital with a focus on the gap between high fashion and streetwear. In the current polarising socio-political climate, they believe representation in both fashion and culture as a whole, of a multicultural society, as well as positive images of youth with immigrant backgrounds are essential to nurture progressive change. GmbH was founded by Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby, both children of Muslim immigrants. Their heritage, as of both European and foreign descent, means they are very concerned about the perception of people that are seen as ‘the other’ in the current hostile climate.
Benjamin Alexander Huseby is a Norwegian-Pakistani photographer and artist, who photographs regularly for magazines The Gentlewoman, Fantastic Man, Dazed, Purple, W and many more. Serhat Isik, own eponymous label, was closed after his debut collection was stolen from the showroom in 2015.
Sustainability both ecologically and financially is essential to GmbH. Working with fabrics from storage and dead stock along with reclaimed materials, as in very artisanal leather pieces hand made from old coats or upholstery leatherette. Since being founded in May 2016, GmbH has already been sold at Opening Ceremonies NYC/LA, Berlin Isetan, and Tokyo Free Gallery among others.
You are a Berlin based collective. The cityscapes of Berlin and Paris can be quite clashing. What made you decide to show in Paris?
Presenting in Paris was important to show that GmbH is also relevant on the main fashion stage of the world and not just a local Berlin project.
Your Collection No.01 is entitled “When A Thought Becomes You”. Can you please tell us the story behind it?
The title is from a track by Blake Baxter ‘The Prince of Techno’. We love the track, but we also took the title to be related to how all our ideas -thoughts, almost like a collage become us, GmbH and our collection.
Berlin is in your DNA. What inspired you to make clothes for clubbing? What was missing from your pre-existing wardrobes and are their specific needs to clubbing?
It was our starting point and inspiration. We originally were planning to make clothes specifically for clubbing, but it became less relevant on the way. We also realized that for clubbing you basically want to be mostly naked.
Any reason why the techno scene has become so popular in fashion recently? I mean, there’s definitely not a folk, reggae, or trance trend at the moment in fashion.
Techno is hard and primitive – almost primordial, but dancing to it is also a real escape. Maybe it connects with our aggressive dystopian times. We can’t answer why or even if it’s a thing in fashion, but for us it’s an important part of our lives.
Tell us a bit about how you started to work with deadstock materials. What are some of the benefits? No waste?
Fabric production is one of the worst polluters in the world, so for us it makes sense to use materials that are already there unused, just lying there. It is also cheaper.
What are some of the materials you used in Collection No.01?
Reclaimed old down puffer jackets, leatherette, velvet, high gloss vinyl, reflective polyester, brushed jersey with partially recycled fibres etc.
What’s the story behind your name GmbH? Sounds very corporate.
GmbH, is the legal term of any corporation in Germany, equivalent to Inc. or Ltd. GmbH is a corporation, but also a family.
Can you tell us a bit about your team?
Community and collaboration is integral to GmbH’s work method. GmbH is a lose group varying from 4-20 people. It’s those that involved in design, but then we have people working on music, styling, casting etc. Some are models and muses.
What role does commercial availability play for you?
We want to be accessible, but not everywhere.
What bores you about the fashion industry?
You have featured several of your friends. Can you tell us a bit about your casting and what role does it play to your identity?
The casting reflects us, our friends and our community. We always start with our friends. Growing up we never saw brown guys like ourselves in fashion, so I would say visibility of brown people is very important to us.