As an unapologetically huge fan of their genderless urban lux creations and the core message behind that creative process to eradicate heteronormativity I was beyond delighted to be invited to DB Berdans AW20 runway show and to speak with the guys after it.
Entitled “Scan to Escape”, the collection is a response to climate change and a call to all of us who feel a responsibility to both our communities and to our planet. Imagining an environmental apocalypse where escapees scan a QR code to break free and find an alternative reality, the collection encapsulated how the fashion industry can play its part to avoid that environmental Armageddon.
Using materials which were reclaimed, re-used and recycled the collection was imbued with a level of ethical consciousness I have rarely seen elsewhere. Garments were made using reclaimed and recycled cotton from unused and excess fabrics left over from manufacturing, from natural lenzing fiber satins and biodegradable eco-wise hemp fabric. Accessories were created with plastic bottle caps and recycled polyester and there was an emphasis on reduced water usage across the collection.
Working in collaboration with environmentally aware Turkish denim mill ORTA one of my favourite pieces was a big sleeved bomber jacket denim dress made using the mills eco-friendly hemp fabric. Other stand out pieces, in a collection where to be honest everything stood out, included super cinched asymmetric cut dresses, oversized hoodies transformed into flowy dresses and a bat sleeved roped cyber jacket and roped pants made from recycled denim from post-consumer recycled cotton. A quite beautiful two-toned cyber trench coat was made from ORTA’s Halys fabric and eco-coated with earth friendly natural clay.
Speaking with Beg Berdan after the show she explained that the brand wanted to give back to their community in a way where the garments were made ethically and in a technologically advanced way but where there would still be an element of fun. That came with the concept of the QR codes that everyone can scan and travel to a website where they can read, relax and escape from the apocalyptic world they inhabit.
Models enacting the role of post-apocalyptic escapees commanded the runway, some in prosthetic makeup, others in hairstyles reminiscent of native American Indians, a race who faced their own Armageddon. A coruscating industrial soundscape added to the atmosphere.
I complimented Beg on their model casting and the sheer diversity of it. She told me how important it is to them that given we see all sorts of different people on the streets why should the runway be any different? She added that the prosthetic makeup used was to portray a transhumanistic vibe and take the models, and us with them, on that nightmare journey.
As to the future, Beg told me that for them it’s all about slow fashion, trying to build a community which produces less and halts the continual cycle of consumers buying more and throwing it away. It’s about minimizing fashion consumption and to continue to bring that slow fashion ethos to their own manufacturing.
DB Berdans AW20 catwalk was one where art met ethics. Where the unambivalent message was that community needs to act now to stop climate change. Where the visual manifestation of sustainability and diversity on the runway showed the possibilities of a better tomorrow. DB Berdan transcended fashion and pointed their moral compass to the route we all need to take.
Huge thanks to DB Berdan for such a fascinating and inspiring explanation into the motivation behind their collection and show. Many thanks also to Millie and the team at Black PR for hooking me up with the guys and my sidekick Chalisa Guerrero for her help.