GmbH Is the New Order of Fashion

GmbH Is the New Order of Fashion

The designers behind GmbH are using their platform to turn their blank canvas into a progressive and inclusive movement.

The designers behind GmbH are using their platform to turn their blank canvas into a progressive and inclusive movement.

Photography: Schohaja

Text: Priya Rao

This article appears in the pages of VMAN39, available on newsstands now. Order your copy now at vmagazineshop.com

Though the name of fashion label GmbH is ostensibly a plain one—an acronym for a German legal phrase that literally means “a company with limited liability”—it has proven the necessary blank canvas for creatives Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Serhat Isik to conjure their democratic and global vision. Their brand’s inclusivity has certainly struck a chord: since showing a humble presentation last June in Paris, the Berlin-based collective that the duo formed has been nominated for the LVMH prize and been carried by notable retailers like Opening Ceremony and Dover Street Market. In January, it was officially added to the Paris Men’s Fashion Week schedule.

“We push diversity as hard as we can. That’s something we felt like has been missing in fashion,” says Huseby, who is of Norwegian-Pakistani descent, while Isik is Turkish-German. “It’s increasing, but there’s a lot of tokenism and sometimes it doesn’t necessarily seem true. I really thought it was important to do something that represents our background—brown working-class kids and immigrants.”

That idea manifests itself not only in the clothes—think colorblocked outerwear washed in minimalist tones and tailored trousers with cargo pockets inspired by their fathers—but through their storytelling and show casting, points Huseby is particularly proud of. “We just saw that our campaign was featured in a Danish newspaper because we were talking about diversity, and I think that’s amazing,” he says. “When a young fashion label like us that has only been around for a year can reach out to non-fashion media it shows that you actually could affect things beyond just fashion.”

This narrative also carries through to their first official show for Fall 2018 called “My Beauty Offends You.” Inspired by a BBC article about an all-Viking burial ground with the word “Allah” written in it, Huesby emphasizes these conversations about culture have been around for centuries. “It was so beautiful to find this article about Nordic Viking exchanges with the Middle East,” he says. “The show is a very bold statement for us. It’s about asking the question, Why should the way that we look offend anyone?” And to him, it shows promise for the future: “I think, by this historical context, we try to sort out some of our current issues.”

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