Berlin-Based Fashion Brand Casts Second-Generation Immigrants in New Ad Campaign
Based in Berlin, Germany, fashion label GmbH has been quietly perfecting its aesthetic, often taking inspiration from queer club kids and techno music. In German, the name means a company of financial limited liability, which is the German equivalent to ‘ltd.’ or ‘Inc.’ – the most common standard legal form of any German company.
“We didn’t really want to use our own names (for the company); as we don’t want the main focus to be on us,” founders Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Serhat Isik revealed in a recent interview. “And it also reflects or design process. GmbH is so neutral it can mean anything and nothing at the same time.”
Huseby and Isik wanted to “create a utopian vision with borders or limits” for the brand’s most recent SS18 collection. Calling it “Europe Endless,” they pay homage to their immigrant fathers who came to Europe from Turkey and Pakistan in their newly released photo campaign.
Every featured model is a child of immigrants, hailing from places like Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan and India. The shoot also subtly gives homage to classic Versace campaigns shot by Richard Avedon in the ’80s and ’90s.
The duo wanted to showcase the children of those who moved from elsewhere to help rebuild Germany after World War II. The pair also said the collection itself was inspired by the German expression “Gastarbeiter,” which translates to “guest worker.”
They explained to Dazed:
We thought of the expression “Gastarbeiter” commonly used in Germany, meaning “guest worker.” As visitors, they were expected by their host countries to only stay temporarily, but they never left…. We, the children, are at once European, but also told we do not truly belong.
“In Denmark, the parliament recently declared that children of immigrants are not to be considered Danish,” the pair explained. “(This) sentiment (is) not unfamiliar to us. ‘Where are you from? No, but where are you really from?’”
Regarding the Versace inspiration for the campaign, they explained that unlike Versace, they didn’t have a big budget for supermodels. “We wanted to see brown men and women like ourselves in a campaign like this, something we never saw growing up. But we have no supermodels, or big budget – just our family.”
The brand is set to show at Paris Fashion Week on Jan. 16, 2018.
All images courtesy of GmbH