10 questions to Serhat Isik: “I personally think curricula need to be changed…”
The deans of studies of Fashion Design (B.A.) have created the series “10 questions to…” in order to test new formats and enrich the teaching this semester. Taking the current crisis as a chance was the motto to invite experts of the fashion industry for a video meeting with Fashion Design (B.A.) students of all locations of AMD Akademie Mode & Design. The series started with Serhat Isisk*, Designer and CEO of the Berlin based brand GMBH on the 27th of May moderated by Prof. Dipl. Des. Antje Drinkuth, dean of student affairs and professor for fashion design at AMD Berlin.
After a short keynote introduction Drinkuth asked 10 questions about the story and the DNA of GMBH, relevant topics for the future of fashion and skills young professionals need to have today. Isik described his points of view very transparently and for the last 20 minutes, students had the possibility to ask questions themselves.
After describing how the idea to start their own label came about, he explained to the audience which aspects were decisive for the international success of GMBH after a relatively short time: “(…) we are both obsessed with craft and garment making. When I was a teenager, I was never inspired by Vogue or Face or anything like that. For me the textile, the making aspect and sculpting aspect that brought me to fashion. (…) And our byers believed in the product and our customers valued the quality and the cut …”
Sustainability is a huge topic, continued Isik, but they don´t even use the word sustainable anymore. They were very careful in the beginning to mention anything around sustainability. It´s more about responsibility, he explained. GMBH works with dead stock fabrics e.g. but they never wanted to mark their label like that because that wasn´t their story. “I think it has to improve a lot in the whole industry. Something amazing is happening with the industry right now.”
Concerning relevant topics and changes of the future of fashion he answered that “the future has only room for brands with a soul”. In his opinion the young generation would deserve what they are demanding from the whole industry. A lot of groundwork has to be done and this is what they are working on right now. “What is happening right now in the fashion industry is really big.” The people from Business of Fashion have brought independent designers together and they are on video meetings every week trying to find solutions and publishing manifestos on how the industry has to change. They proposed a new fashion schedule. Sustainability and responsibility evolve around so many factors than just the fact that a brand decides to be sustainable. “It´s a network but the network has many holes. And it really requires commitment and a lot of brainwork to fill these holes and built a healthy network. (…).”
Prof. Drinkuth asked furthermore what Serhat Isik considers particularly important for design studies and skills young designer should have today. The designer explained that besides all these responsibility issues he mentioned, he thinks “bringing the whole network of fashion and how the system works to our students is really important.” He continued that an anticapitalistic mindset where the consumers are demanding more soul from people – from craft to skill – and people that care about these things generally and want to improve the industry are gone to be successful. “It´s very important that we bring these values into fashion education.”
Thank you very much for the interview!
The next interview will take place on June 3rd with Valerie Steele
* ABOUT Serhat Isik
Serhat Isik is designer and CEO of the Berlin-based Design collective GmbH. It not only represents Berlin in a very special way but is also extremely successful internationally. After completing his fashion design studies with a MA in menswear design at Weissensee, he had worked as designer for Bless before he met Benjamin Huseby on a Berlin dance floor in 2015. Huseby graduated from Chelsea College of Art in London and has worked as a freelance photographer for various international publications, like iD or Fantastic Man.
Their origins are referenced in their environmentally conscious clothes (Isik is Turkish and German and Huseby is Norwegian and Pakistani). Berlin nightlife and its reputation as a cultural melting point informs the visual identity of GmbH. By the second collection, the designers were nominated for the LVMH Prize and included in Dazed’s annual list of 100 people shaping the future of youth culture. Their creations offer an alternative to today’s overconsumption of clothes. Increasingly grappling with social issues via design, their Spring/Summer 2018 campaign solely featured second-generation immigrants, while their Autumn/Winter 2019 show had climate change as its focal point. The company is also part of a wider Berlin network, providing a platform for collaboration among artists, musicians, writers and DJs. They are showing their collections during the official Paris Fashion Week schedule and selling it worldwide.