Wednesday 1st April

| BY Dino Bonacic

Bringing Sexy Back (into Menswear): GMBH Duo Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Serhat Isik are Next in our 10 Designers to Meet

Instead of asking one person to curate their world for us, for Issue 51 of 10 Men, we presented our own list of designers who we think are making menswear sexy again. While some like the instant reveal and others prefer the more subversive kind of erotica, they’re all giving us hope for a hotter tomorrow. For the second instalment, it’s the GMBH boys: Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Serhat Isik.

While most friendships made on the dancefloor of your local gay establishment last for about three rounds of Madonna’s greatest hits, Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Serhat Isik have been going for five years and have no plans to stop anytime soon. The duo behind GmbH originally met through mutual friends while clubbing in Berlin back in 2015 and, soon afterwards, conceived an idea for a brand that captures the German capital’s laissez-faire approach to style and translates it into catwalk fashions. Walking the line between club- and streetwear, GmbH has since elevated itself into a label that allows their audience to go straight from a three-night rave at Berghain to their 9-to-5 office job.

Their brand’s name is the acronym for Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (catchy, right?), which is the German equivalent of a Ltd company. It signifies a partly corporate but also semi-ambiguous nature of their brand, which can modify its meaning as it evolves. And while Huseby and Isik do indeed lead the business, they consistently remind us that GmbH is actually an ever-changing creative family made up of a rotating list of collaborators, in fashion but also through music, film and art.

Representing a truly diverse ancestry (Huseby is Norwegian-Pakistani and Isik is Turkish-German), the pair have never shied away from relying on their cultural heritage for inspiration. In their SS20 show, which Isik describes as “Aaliyah emerging from the Aegean Sea”, they used plenty of monochromatic, monastic silhouettes, creating their own idea of party monks. Nazar, the South Asian symbol for the evil eye, appeared throughout the collection as prints and embroideries on suits and dresses. Some of their bestsellers are actually jeans, their dad shape modified with the addition of vertical zips that allow for easy access in the darkness of night. They are also unafraid of going fully body-con, as their long-sleeved technical jersey tops tuck into sleek PVC trousers made out of deadstock materials sourced from Milanese luxury factories.

Despite providing their stockists with plenty of separates for customers to choose from, a big part of the GmbH story is the whole picture – a full look, a spirit. This comes as a result of Huseby having a background in photography, with Isik providing the more traditional fashion skills built up while working for the Berlin-based collective and conceptual label Bless. There would truly be a massive gap in the menswear landscape if it weren’t for GmbH and its culturally enriched world of steamy nightclubs.

Photography by Jason Lloyd-Evans. 

What was the first garment you ever created?

Benjamin Alexander Huseby: “It was when I was 14 – a light grey and white Lycra T-shirt with diagonal slits inspired by a traditional Chinese dress. I wore it with a silver Lurex sarong – very Björk in [the video for] Violently Happy.

Serhat Isik: “A crochet work of an owl that extended into a scarf. I was five.”

Who are the menswear designers that inspire you?

BAH: “Helmut Lang.”

SI: “Not specifically menswear designers, but Azzedine Alaïa and Cristóbal Balenciaga, for their craft.”

When in life did you feel your sexiest?

BAH: “Probably at some point where I forgot my body.”

SI: “I’m sure it was on the dancefloor.”

What do you wear when you want to feel sexy?

BAH: “Sweat.”

SI: “Grey sweatpants.”

What’s your perfect date-night scenario?

BAH: “I hate dates.”

SI: “A beer in the park will do…”

Top photographs courtesy of GMBH. Taken from Issue 51 of 10 Men – GENTLE, SENSUAL, FANTASY – is on newsstands now.

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