The Kurdish designer Ferhat Kartal shows a new collection

The Berlin designer’s fashion convinces above all with its aesthetics. But it shouldn’t just be a surface: Kartal makes subtle political statements.

Ferhat Kartals

Ferhat Kartal’s “Demhat” shirt: here made of cherry red polyamide-silk organza.Osman Ozel

Ferhat Kartal does not allow himself to be looked into too deeply. Classic interview situations with recording equipment? He doesn’t like it that much. Long conversations about inspiration and ideas? is none of his business. Designers prefer to let their fashion do the talking. And that’s just as well.

Because what is created in Kartal’s hands in his Kreuzberg back building studio doesn’t really need any flowery descriptions. No wonderful words. It is self-explanatory, this fashion, characterized by perfect, distinctive cuts, a good sense of shape and color, the wisely composed selection of materials. “The processing”, says Ferhat Kartal briefly – it is one of his strengths.

A clear focus on craftsmanship, which also follows from Kartal’s career. Because the designer, who was born in Celle, didn’t just dream of at a fashion school, he never lost himself in the artificial-artistic at an art university. Instead, he completed a classic tailoring training with Hermann Lange in Bielefeld and early on went through the entire fashion-making process, which many designers who have studied today no longer know in its entirety.

Better to let his fashion do the talking: Berlin designer Ferhat Kartal.

Better to let his fashion do the talking: Berlin designer Ferhat Kartal.Ferhat Kartal

“Classic tailoring still shapes the way I make fashion today,” says Kartal. This does not mean that he does not also master the creative fields of design. It all started during his tailoring apprenticeship, which Kartal completed in 1998 as the best of his year in North Rhine-Westphalia. Even then he was making color charts for fashion companies, suggesting tones and selecting shades, “like a holiday job”, as he says.

A functional fashion that also allows for sensual moments

The first jobs came a few years later with everything that then had status and reputation in Germany. First Joop, then Laurèl, later he shared responsibility for the repositioning and restructuring of Strenesse after Gabriele Strehle left the family business as creative director. A good year later, Kartal was responsible for the design of the luxury knitwear brand Iris von Arnim, already on a freelance basis.

For her, for him, for everyone: Ferhat Kartal designs his collections as unisex and inclusive.

For her, for him, for everyone: Ferhat Kartal designs his collections as unisex and inclusive.Osman Ozel

A few months ago, having arrived in Berlin in the meantime, Ferhat Kartal presented his first collection under his own name. With his functional fashion that makes room for sensual moments, especially within the material, the fine, delicate fabrics, the designer stands in the tradition of great designers from the German-speaking world.

Ferhat Kartal’s fashion should not be mere surface

Names like Jil Sander or Helmut Lang, who never knew how to impress with ornaments and decor, but with cuts and materials. Ultimately, Kartal’s fashion also allows associations with the Bauhaus ideals – form always follows function. Kartal prefers to refer to his work as “product development” rather than just “design”. His focus is always on the products, on their functioning in his customers’ everyday life. Nevertheless, Kartal’s fashion should not be a mere surface.

Great fit: The designer focuses on perfect cuts.

Great fit: The designer focuses on perfect cuts.Osman Ozel

The designer, whose family comes from the Kurdish province of Batman in Turkey, also wants to make subtle political statements with his collections, saying: “Freedom for Kurdistan”. His models bear Kurdish names, often borrowed from people who accompany Kartal on his journey through life. A generously cut pair of trousers with pleats is called “Serbest”, named after a Kurdish refugee from Syria; a name that translates as “freedom” or “independence”.

The designer’s models have Kurdish names

A wide, short-sleeved shirt with a deep inverted pleat in the back – an essential detail that the designer keeps returning to – shares the same name as Ferhat Kartal’s brother Demhat. “A new era has begun,” that’s what it means. The shirt design was already in Kartal’s first collection, and now it reappears in his second, this time made of a very unusual material: a cherry-red, reflective polyamide-silk organza from Italy, on whose surface light and shadow create glittering landscapes.

Fantastic tones: Ferhat Kartal always has a good sense of color in his collections.

Fantastic tones: Ferhat Kartal always has a good sense of color in his collections.Osman Ozel

On Friday, Ferhat Kartal will show his new collection, which is exclusively produced in Berlin and sold primarily to private customers, to a selected specialist audience during an intimate salon presentation. On Sunday, a non-specialist audience can also get up close.

Is there something that ties his first and second collections together, as well as future collections? “My first collection was entitled ‘Attitude and Elegance’,” says Kartal succinctly, but that says it all. His new collection does not yet have a name. And actually don’t need it.

Ferhat Kartal presents his new collection at Nella Beljan Gallery this weekend. Leipziger Strasse 60-61 in 10117 Berlin. On Sunday between 2 and 6 p.m., an interested non-specialist audience can also stop by. www.ferhatkartal.com

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