“We have to be really careful”, said DB Berdan’s Begum Berdan. “We try really hard not to offend people with our clothing. We research every situation, but we have some strong opinions to communicate. You know, sometimes, to some people, I would just say ‘fuck you’”.
There is no better way to describe DB Berdan’s collection than as a massive middle finger to both the exclusivity of the fashion industry and those people who do not have a space in their heart for the LGBTQ community. This collection, fittingly titled DBXB FORCE, is representative of a made-up force specifically for LGBTQ people. The collection explores the double standards of fashion industry regarding their treatment of the LGBTQ community.
It comes as no surprise, then, that half of the garments were digitally printed with the slogan “FUCK UR DOUBLE STANDARDS”, clearly communicating their disdain at the treatment of the LGBTQ community which often results in the community being met with animosity and extreme mistreatment.
DB Berdan understands this mistreatment felt by the community all too well, so they focused the collection heavily on the existence of safe spaces. Symbols used to denote safe spaces within the workplace are printed onto garments alongside some imagery and symbols from World War 2 that have been reimagined and adapted so that the meanings communicate what Berdan refers to as the “LGBTQ victory”.
The runway was awash with oversized raver pants, aluminium foil like puffa coats (made entirely of cotton and nylon), tartan trench coats and pin striped denim racer joggers. Key materials used include distressed two tone denim and raw edges, in both earthy tones such as brown and green and contrasting neon prints.
The clothing clearly champions inclusivity and love through the symbols printed onto the designs, but this was perhaps most obvious in the people that walked the runway. “Each person in our show is an individual”, said Berdan. “We chose them not as models but because of what they mean to us. They are like family! All of them have different hair and makeup which is as unique as them. Their hair and makeup matches their identities - if they didn’t feel comfortable in what we placed them in, we changed it. We wanted to celebrate the people wearing our clothes”.
I couldn’t help but notice that a couple of the models walked the runway wearing the harness of a gag that didn’t cover their mouth. I read this as a symbol of freedom of sexuality; like one is not being silenced, they can be who they want to be without any repercussions. There were other sexual aspects too - models walked with their hands tied together and with leather accessories reminiscent of bondage. “That interpretation is amazing!” Exclaimed Berdan when I stated my reading of these accessories. “I didn’t even think of that when we designed it. I love that people can take different things from our designs”. This refreshing ability to understand the opinions of another person and take it on board with welcome arms essentially summarises the entirety of the DB Berdan brand; they want every individual to feel comfortable, included, but most importantly, safe.