Editorial, interview and a short documentary. Sema Gedik is a Berlin based fashion student. In her work she deals with the development of fashion for people of small stature. The fashion industry ignores this group of people, so it leads a niche existence. Since fashion has been always an expression of individuality and social inclusivity.
We are happy to see that a young designer from Berlin wanna change this. We had a little chat with Sema about her work. Special thanks to Joseph Wolfgang Ohlert for the editorial. And short documentary by Maxim Kuphal-Potapenko!
KALTBLUT: Hello Sema. Thank you for sending your work and the editorial to us. Can you tell us something about your collection “Auf Augenhöhe – Mode für kleinwüchsige Menschen”? When did you come up with the idea to design for people of small stature? And was it easy to transform fashion design from “normal” size humans to smaller designs?
SEMA: During my studies I’ve always wanted to create something with a benefit for society. My cousin is of small stature. She has always had trouble finding fitting clothes. Those factores helped me to find the topic for my thesis to design a collection only for small people. The collection I created is based on the inspiration of the ”Nazar Boncugu- the blue glass eye“ That blue pearl is mainly used in the Turkish Aegean as a defense against the superstitious evil eye.
In my opinion, the discrimination people of small stature face can be compared to the Nazar (evil eye). In order to symbolize the defense I have included the blue glass eye into my designs. Of course it was a challenge to create a pattern for that body shape since we did not specifically learn that in university. Still I knew it was possible and should not be an obstacle for my project.
KALTBLUT: I only can imagine that it is not easy for people of a small stature to find fashion in stores. How is your experience in this field? Have you visited stores to find this out?
SEMA: Indeed it is hard to find well fitting clothes for the body size and special proportion. I went to current stores with one of my models to find him a suit. That was an important moment for me in order to experience the situation of shopping from another perspective. Of course that experience was a confirmation that there is in fact no possibility for that group of people to find suitable clothes.
KALTBLUT: Since 2013 you’ve been working with people of small stature. How was their reaction, when you came along with your idea to design for them?
SEMA: First I faced some sceptic reactions- they explained to me that they were often approached by dubious offers. So some of the first steps were to work on a trustful relationship . We’ve established that relationship by now so that it is even more fun to keep on working on this project in order to cause an effect as a team.
KALTBLUT: During Berlin Fashion Week you presented your collection at the tent during the Graduate Show of the HTW Berlin. How was the feedback?
SEMA: Actually I was very surprised by the positive feedback I received from people, organisations, fashion companies and magazines from all over the world.
(See the runway here: impuls3.htw-berlin.de/?cat=8 )
KALTBLUT: Tell us a little bit about you. Where are you from? And why is fashion your passion?
SEMA: I am Sema Gedik and I’m 25 years old. I was born in Helmstedt and later moved to Berlin to study fashion design at the HTW Berlin. I think that fshion is very present and confronts us everyday so everybody has an opinion about it. Because personal communication is very important to me, I find fashion to be a medium of communication that does not only reflect social, spiritual and cultural streams in form of a piece of clothing.
Furthermore it tells us a lot about the person, that is expressing themself and creates his own personality through fashion.
KALTBLUT: You study at the HTW Berlin. It is your first year right? Your work for the “Auf Augenhöhe – Mode für kleinwüchsige Menschen” collection, is this your future? I mean is this the direction you want to go as a designer?
SEMA: Yes, it is my first year of my Master studies. To create clothes for small people is my starting point and based on this I planned to initiate several projects with the goal to emphasize the social dimensions of fashion industry. I think that fashion can play a crucial part in creating an equal society.
KALTBLUT: For the editorial-lookbook you worked with photographer Joseph Wolfgang Ohlert. How did that happen? I think he and his eye for something special is perfect for your vision.
SEMA: I’ve met Joseph Wolfgang Ohlert over a friend, Daniel Eglau. Joseph has already shot an outfit for me before. Ever since that I highly appreciate his special sense for aesthetic photography. Working together with Joseph Ohlert was amazing. I think it is important to be at eye level in any kind of cooperation. The feedback my model’s gave me about Joseph was very pleasing. They especially liked his open manner and interpersonal empathy. As the designer I can definitely confirm their opinion about Joseph Ohlert.
Maxim Kuphal-Potapenko vimeo.com/mkp81