As the curtain fell on Men’s Fashion Week, Sunday, January 21, 2024, marked a deeply moving conclusion with the GmbH label’s autumn-winter 2024-2025 runway showcase. The event, devoid of elaborate sets and theatrical extravagance, instead featured the founders of the Berlin-based brand, Serhat Isik and Benjamin Huseby, standing resolutely at a modest podium. Draped in keffiyeh scarves, they used this platform to deliver a heartfelt message that resonated with profound sincerity.
Serhat Isik began by reflecting, “Six years ago, we presented our inaugural runway show in Paris,” recalling how, when questioned about the potential for political engagement at the time, their unequivocal response had been ‘no.’ This declaration set the tone for what unfolded next.
Over the course of approximately ten minutes, the two creators laid bare their emotions, candidly addressing recent tragic events that have rocked the world. They spoke of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the loss of countless lives in Israel and Gaza, and the disquieting surge of nationalism, which has spawned a distressing increase in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic incidents across Europe.
With voices quivering and tears welling up in their eyes, Serhat Isik and Benjamin Huseby seized this moment to implore for peace and a ceasefire in the Middle East. Their unique backgrounds, with Serhat Isik being of German-Turkish descent and Benjamin Huseby hailing from Pakistani-Norwegian heritage, gave them intimate insight into the discrimination faced by immigrants, especially those from Muslim-majority countries. Their poignant message resonated powerfully: “We should all be alarmed when Germany starts suppressing Jews and other dissenting voices.” The duo’s call to action was the introduction of their new collection, aptly named “UNITED NATIONS,” as an emphatic “statement against nationalism.” GmbH’s creators made it abundantly clear that their community transcends borders and remains resolute in its commitment to inclusivity.
Remarkably, their speech coincided with a weekend marked by mass rallies against the far-right AfD party in Germany, drawing an astounding 1.4 million participants.
The keffiyeh, emerging as the central motif of the 2024 collection, made its presence felt from the fourth ensemble onwards. This checkered cotton scarf, often seen in black or red against a white backdrop, carries historical significance dating back to the 1930s during the Arab revolution against British colonialism. It gained further prominence in 1948 during the Palestinian exodus from Israel, becoming an enduring symbol of Palestinian identity. Within GmbH’s collection, the keffiyeh assumed a commanding role, enshrouding blazers entirely, draping elegantly over their backs, or adorning models’ heads in the fashion of turbans, with only their eyes exposed.
Behind the scenes, the creators underscored their commitment to celebrating the craftsmanship of the Arabian Peninsula. Each piece, sourced from the label SEP, was meticulously hand-embroidered by Palestinian and Syrian refugees residing in a Jordanian camp. Beyond the keffiyeh, GmbH designers unapologetically celebrated their heritage by incorporating calligraphic Arabic script on tops and featuring the nazar boncuk motif, a Turkish amulet believed to ward off the evil eye, in an all-encompassing pattern on a shirt.
The GmbH signature style extended beyond these recurring motifs. The new GmbH runway presentation, featuring looks for both spring and winter 2024, introduced jackets with artful perforations at the center, revealing glimpses of the midriff, alongside capacious shirts adorned with vertical pockets reminiscent of military chest rigs. Oversized coats with broad shoulders made a bold statement, while crocodile leather found expression in shades of green and black on bombers, santiags, and even a daring asymmetric dress, injecting an unexpected touch of sensuality into the label’s aesthetic. The collection encompassed around thirty distinct looks, each highlighting the brand’s signature elements, from double zips embellishing pants to triangular cutouts adorning jackets. Form-fitting tops in technical fabrics and collaborative sneakers with Asics rounded out the remarkable lineup.
In a fashion world often dominated by superficiality, GmbH’s profound call for peace and their celebration of diverse cultural heritage through their collection left an indelible mark on Men’s Fashion Week.
Fashion Editor/Stylist: Jon Morales
Casting Director: Affa Osman
Publicist: Lucien Pagès