words / Suzanne van Heerde
A world where men can be men but still feel secure and safe, embodying the essence of a new type of masculinity. That is what ArtEZ graduate Berivan Cemal proposes with her graduation collection “I am the up setter”.
Lee Scratch Perry was a musician that isolated himself from the rest of the world. He built his own little studio and created a utopia within that he called his home. Whenever someone would pass by he would utter gibberish, steering people away from his safe haven. Some believed that he was a mad man but others were convinced that it was a mere defense mechanism that came forth from a fear of trespassers. Unfortunately a vandalist entered his premises one day and stole his collection of bouncing balls. This enraged Lee Scratch Perry intensely and he burned the whole place down. Berivan was intrigued by his sense of wanting to create a safe haven for himself. Having grown up in a family with three men, she saw them hiding their emotions or showing everything through anger. Certain characteristic traits seemed odd to her but it led her to research elements of society in which she defined lines between a human being normal vs. abnormal. She feels like the man has been put in an unfair place by having to suck it all up. Within fashion she sees the contradiction of men being able to show their soft side only through feminine garments. However, she wanted to give men the opportunity to be soft without looking the part.
Having never really created a menswear collection, Beri decided to devote her graduation solely to it. Her first three years at the academy were consumed by folkloristic, colorful and mostly feminine designs. However, when a menswear collection assignment passed by, she fell in love right then and there. Instead of creating through drawing, she started sewing silhouettes from straight lined and square shaped fabrics, which eventually led to historical garments. Having stumbled upon one particular historical pant pattern, she began her research into a menswear collection.
I am the up setter is the title of a Lee Scratch Perry song and as an homage, the title of her graduation collection. The silhouettes stem from very basic garment patterns with slightly drapery tendencies. This as opposed o the macho male who tends to wear garments of a tight fit emphasizing their chest and various muscle groups. Her collection embodies the research of revealing and hiding masculinity. The loose fit pants are in fact a triangular shape that factually conceal the erogenous male zone, however, due to the heaped fabric around it, the attention does focus on that point. Macho men that passed her by on the streets inspired the big jackets. One man in particular caught her attention and was a big inspiration for her collection. He was wearing an oversized tracksuit but his prayer dress made of silk was floating gracefully over his pants. That was the exact contrast that she was looking for.
Her sober color palette refers to the ignorance that these males have on the streets. Most fabrics that she used in her collection are very rich and classic but always have a bit of “crazy” in them. Within her redefining aspect she wanted to give the classical garments a twist as she did with her version of the pinstripe suit where she added strips of fur for a Lee Scratch Perry touch. The golden bracelets were inspired by the Kurdish marital tradition where the women wear a fortune on their arms in case they ever lose everything else. That type of security is something that men are never offered, thus she added them to her collection in order for her man to feel more safe.
The type of man that Berivan conceptualized wears garments that seem like everything makes sense, but something seems off when you take a second glance. A new type of masculinity.