Erik Raynal and Philippe Gerlach address over-consumption in fashion with a message from Berlin.
We have produced so much clothing over the decades that it’s genuinely hard (not to mention utterly terrifying) to try and wrap one’s head around the sheer volume of fashion production and the subsequent over-consumption. Look no further than your local high street to see dozens of fast fashion retailers bursting at the seams with this and that new collection, followed by a “Sale! Sale! Sale! Everything must go!”. And go it must—the world is overwhelmed with an ever-growing mass of consumer products, in and beyond fashion, and there’s no time to waste. At the time when climate change has irreversibly transformed into climate crisis—climate scientists and international organizations alike are officially changing their terminology to convey the gravity of the situation—when it comes to fashion we must all ask ourselves the question: How much more would you need?
Eager to make a difference, Berlin-based stylist Erik Raynal and photographer Philippe Gerlach joined forces with the Kemmler Foundation to ask this very question. Raising an essential discussion on over-consumption and the nature of fashion production today, the duo shot a series of individuals with the contents of their wardrobes literally piled onto them. In contrast, a few images also show their subjects stripped back, “to emphasize a strong, clear message—less is more!” says Raynal.
The models are all local friends and like-minded artists, “those who of course understand the message”; young people representing a generation of hope. Most of the clothes are from the personal wardrobes and archives of the models, along with support from the emerging Berlin-based label Ottolinger. “I didn’t necessarily want to involve any brand in the series, but I thought their aesthetics, the destroyed and burned clothing specifically, really fit well some of the steps I’ve been working from a styling point of view.” The idea was not to use any clothing other than what could already be sourced.
How are we going to do things the right way? For Raynal, it’s about “being a bit more strategic in what and how you buy things, thinking a bit more about your needs and if you need them so much… it is about re-using past garments, fabrics and innovate with more sustainable resources, rather than always creating more and more.” To emphasize its anti-commerical stance, the project is styled to look like a conventional fashion advertising campaign. The photos are to be distributed alongside the glossy pages of various publications to subvert the flow of relentless production/consumption cycle, with each image working individually as part of a joint message.
Words by Masha Ryabova
Creative direction, casting
and styling by Erik Raynal
Photography by Philippe Gerlach
Layout by Claudia Rafael at Selam Studio
Talents: YoungBoyDancingGroup, Sorrelle, Nina, Lena, Constantin, Nahim and Ringo, Teresa & Lupo at Tomorrow is Another Day
Special thanks to the Kemmler Foundation & Ottolinger