Interview: Ebru Berkiden
Ms. Berkiden, you live in Berlin with two adorable rescue dogs. How is your life there?
We live just outside the border of Berlin where there’s a lot of harmony. It’s calm, it’s green, it’s beautiful. I really can’t complain. There is no better place than home, right? If you have a lot of stress with your work, there is a place where you can calm down. My dogs really help me with that. Even if things are going wrong and nothing seems to work, that’s life but you couldn’t see the good in this world if there were no evil. And you need to think about the fact that there are people out there who are much worse off than you. Be happy with what you have.
You won the Excellent Award in the 24th Hempel Award China International Young Fashion Designers Contest. How was your visit to China?
It was really an adventure – once in a lifetime experience I would say. I stayed at the Hilton Hotel Beijing which was gorgeous. The trip itself was very stressful – very early mornings and working all day long; from jury presentations to show rehearsals. Luckily, I had one day off to see what Beijing had to offer. The architecture is so beautiful there and China has very talented and unique fashion designers. Of course, there were also things I disliked – the way animals are treated, for example. There is the Beijing dog festival where thousands of dogs are slaughtered. This is just horrible and should be banned.
Animals are very close to your heart and you talk a lot about animal rights. What do you think about the fur and leather industry?
People who know me know that I am obsessed with animals, especially dogs. It’s sad that most people do not care about them. Their lives are not worth less than ours and people need to change their perception on this topic. You have to give something back to the world and my way of helping is being an advocate for animal rights. You have to treat every living thing like you would want yourself to be treated.
I think people need to be aware of how these kind of materials are made. Is it really worth the price that these animals have to pay for us? I don’t think so. Nowadays, faux fur and leather have really good quality and those look even better than the original, so I do not understand why people still cling to animal products. It’s animal abuse.
Your first collection was inspired by the nightlife of Berlin although you have said you’re not into partying. How was the research?
I moved to Berlin 4 years ago and the first year I partied a lot and saw a lot. I see that people are very open, especially when it comes to their sexuality. I have to admit that I have always had a darker side in me. I’ve been interested in bondage and these kind of things, so the research was very easy for me. I knew exactly how it should look like.
It sounds like you have experienced a lot during your time in the city.
And I am still experiencing. Trust me, I could write a book about the things I’ve seen here.
How did you become interested in fashion?
The interest in clothes and fashion started very early. Already when I was a kid I knew I was going to be a fashion designer.
When you create something that exists only in your head and you turn it into something real – that’s the best feeling you can have. And then you hope that people also like it (laughs). I have always known my aim and worked consequently towards it.
What part of the creative process you find most challenging?
For me the most difficult part is the researching and creating sketches – these are the foundation of every collection I make. Trying to conceive something new in this world where everyone already has everything is very hard. It takes plenty of effort and hard work until I am satisfied with my work.
I believe there is always room for improvement. We must accept that perfection is often unattainable.
You seem like a very calm person. What do you do when you get angry?
It’s very important to find balance in life. Well, angry is such a harsh word. I wouldn’t say that I get angry very fast and even if I sometimes do, I am not the kind of person that screams and throws things. Even when I argue I try to stay calm – there is no need to be disrespectful. Like my husband always says: “Communication is the key to everything.”