A grey mist swallows up Berlin but in a Cuvrystrasse apartment-cum-design studio, a wood stove sends comfort waves from the far corner. It keeps the pace flowing for the eponymous duo of Issever Bahri : Derya and Cimen. Their welcome is as warm as the massive wool jumpers being respectively worn and in protest of winter, Derya is adamant about keeping on her wool beanie. Piping hot tea is mugged out of the kitchen - “conference room” - and conversation turns to our collective travels and rumours of Istanbul’s upcoming design-scene.
Against Derya's dancing eyes and Cimen's infectious smile, the banalities of the 40-some square metre space has no chance at holding this crew back from their dreams. With experiences at McQueen, Michalsky and Boss to propel them forward, Issever Bahri teamed up in 2010 and since, has had their label associated with PREMIUM’s “Young Designers Award”, “Start Your Fashion Business” Award and of course Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week runways. Excited to capture the details of their work, I get busy poking into the corners with a couple of cameras.
Hiding behind three movable floor-to-ceiling panels are everything from threads and buttons to research catalogues and back issues of fashion mags. But in the primary design space, what some might easily mistake for chaos, is simply an entire room that’s treated as sources of inspiration. There is no such thing as a blank wall; photos, woven samples, calendars, memories and brain-stimuli are tacked up. Even the door to the kitchen is not left bare. It’s as if ideas were not confined to the walls of their creative minds and have taken residence on the physical walls of Issever Bahri.
GABRIEL: What would you say is your favourite spot in Berlin?
ISSEVER BAHRI: One is the VW library at Fasanenstrasse. The top floor is home to the UDK library, with a really good fashion, art and architecture open-access library.
GABRIEL: Are there any day-to-day necessities for you to create?
ISSEVER BAHRI: Well, definitely a coffee in the morning. Then all the important administration tasks have to be solved within the first three hours of the day. We need free-minds to be able to create.
GABRIEL: What are your backgrounds and how has that influenced the inception of Issever Bahri?
ISSEVER BAHRI: We both are graduates of the Fashion Design course at the University of Applied Sciences, the HTW Berlin, that is where we met. During and after our studies, we worked for various labels (in various fields of the fashion industry) in London and Berlin, including Alexander McQueen, Six & Seven Eights for Fashion Fringe, Harriet’s Muse, Michael Michalsky, Boss, SAI SO and Macqua. Our experiences definitely influenced us and our work, but it didn’t influenced us in getting started with Issever Bahri.
GABRIEL: To what or who would you attribute your strongest influence?
ISSEVER BAHRI: For us, it is really important to take old traditions, like handcraft techniques, and put them into a modern context; combining old knowledge with the present. We want to create collections with a new take on handcraft but still wearable, modern, chic and cool. We could say our cultural background is our strongest influence.