DB Berdan, An Interview
University of the Arts London is one of the largest creative hubs in the country, reigning in students from all over the world to practice and develop their skills as artists. Within the University, you will find Central Saint Martins, and London College of Fashion. These two colleges are homeland to anyone who wants to make it in the fashion industry, and Begum Berdan has studied at both. Beg is one half of mother-daughter fashion brand, DB Berdan, who are based in Istanbul, Turkey. They are currently in their seventh season with Autumn/Winder 2014, and are selling at Wolf and Badger in London, having previously sold at Harvey Nichols in Istanbul. Their collections are full of vibrant colours, prints, and with a kick of ‘girl power’. On a quick break from her studies, I sat down with Beg, who told me about the brand, her mother, and the current shape of the fashion industry.
“I have grown up with my mother. I have a step-dad, but she was my influence. My Grandmother as well; also a working person, and it’s quite hard to find that in Turkey. I can say that living in Turkey is hard for a woman, but it’s not that bad. I have my family who support me, and we support each other. We have a really good bond.”
Beg’s mother, Deniz, continues work with the brand in Istanbul while Beg carries out her studies in London. London is one of the undisputed fashion capitals of the world, and it is somewhere where DB Berdan are very excited to celebrate their culture; a culture that is not yet widely consumed, and brings a certain edge that attracts a lot of young Londoners to the brand. However, young Londoner’s notoriously do not have an awful lot of expendable income, which can cause quite a problem when it comes to pitching to a market.
“Who are you going to sell it to? That is the most important thing for a company to think of. That’s how you start doing your designs as well. So Spring/Summer 2014 for us was super young. And now we have made it a bit more womanly, because it is a niche market we are selling to, and teenagers don’t have money.”
So where is the money? According to Beg, money in the industry is now shifting from Europe over to the middle east, where a designer’s freedom is restricted by various Religious and cultural restraints.
“Especially with print design. You can’t have animal prints because it’s not allowed in the Religion. Dubai would be a really good place to go, but we can’t have anything there because of our prints.”
I learned that culture isn’t the only factor restricting the designers. They must also include various styles and details bought in by stylists and trend forecasters. And to add to this, the pair are always out there collaborating with the likes of Disney, L’Oreal Professional, and even IKEA. With all this outside control, it’s a wonder any personality comes through at all, and finding that balance is ultimately what establishes you as a brand.
“It’s not really as artistic as everyone thinks. I mean not like, visually. It sounds like a superstar thing. It sounds like a fun thing to do. And of course it’s fun, but you need to be really dedicated. Because it’s a job; it’s not a glamourous lifestyle. There’s a lot of commercialism. Even if you are being artistic, it’s still commercial.”