Urberlin T-shirts, People, Images

URBERLIN 2013 | Photo: Suzana Holtgrave
URBERLIN 2013 | Photo (detail): Suzana Holtgrave

Urberlin – the prefix is a promise the founder of this fashion brand plans to keep: The Berlin label’s T-shirts are not only from Berlin: they are authentically Berlin, straight from the heart of the real Berlin, marked by its history and its graffiti.

URBERLIN Collection 2013 URBERLIN Collection 2013 | Photo: Suzana Holtgrave Fatih Alasalvaroglu, a Berliner and German with Turkish roots, an actor and student of communications science, founded the label in November 2010. The idea arose from the insight that one of the truly special features of this city is the pictures and graffiti recorded on its oftentimes dreary brick walls – Berlin street art, reflecting the feelings and worlds of its inhabitants. Fatih Alasalvaroglu feels with Berlin, with the city that has made him what he is today. He calls it his diamond, whose form is in the eye of the beholder: rough-edged and ugly when uncut, exciting and inspiring, authentic and free-thinking when polished.

Berlin on our skin

The city’s uniqueness – its worlds of images – are to be transported from the unmoving walls and illegality of the sprayer scene, set in motion and mix freely among the people of Berlin as wearable art. Wearable art – realised by artists of the Berlin scene who isolate or work up and print the motifs of Berlin street art and print them on T-shirts – always in limited editions and with a share in the profits for the artist. Behind expressive names such as Nema One, Stohead, Prinz Buntstift or Goldkinder are the names of artists or artists’ collectives who see to it that Berlin’s art can be seen in the streets of the city on Urberlin T-shirts.

URBERLIN Collection 2013 URBERLIN Collection 2013 | Photo: Suzana Holtgrave Berlin imagery for the people of the city, who here turn into mobile exhibition pieces, mediums of an authentically Berlin statement that is taking over public space, far from White Cube exhibition rooms and galleries.

The slogan of this new genre of the fashion world – Berlin Street couture, reads almost like a poem:

Berlin is urban (urbn)
Urberlin is the city on ur skin
Urberlin is what you are

Streetart Berlin, Streetart-Artist: Marcelo Ment Streetart Berlin, Streetart-Artist: Marcelo Ment | Photo: URBAN ARTefakte Berlin, Berlin – right smack in the middle of tribal hominess, in the cosy feeling of local affiliations. Didn’t we believe we had just put this kind of thing behind us? Hadn’t we just formulated a new goal: to be citizens of the world, global players who are everywhere and nowhere at home, always prepared to lift anchor. Isn’t one metropolis like another in the great hustle and bustle of globalised world interconnectedness? The social sciences teach us to take seriously the counter-images of globalisation and not to interpret them in isolation from these processes. Accordingly, this new trend is part of re-localisation, a turning towards what is totally and specifically unique about a place, the city itself as inseparable from the process of globalisation along with it: and with it, Urberlin has captured the zeitgeist exactly – a fact that explains the label’s success.

Local super identity

URBERLIN Collection 2013 URBERLIN Collection 2013 | Photo: Suzana Holtgrave The city, the images it produces – which are part of the myth of the metropolis Berlin – and the bodies as bearers of these city images, are committed to each other, bound up with each other in the closest possible way.

Here, the issue isn’t T-shirts, but the generation of an identity in which the city, people and images once again flow together into a figuration. You are Berlin! On the skin of its inhabitants, the images of the city permeate the city. The city multiplies itself in its residents.

But Urberlin is hip, young and urban, and Berlin’s trade mark is precisely its cosmopolitanism and multi-culturalism. Nonetheless, the Urberlin T-shirt wearers, no matter what corner of the world they hail from – acquire the local super identity of Berlin here, feel at home in it, conjoined with the place through images, skin and bodies, since time immemorial the sensitive zones where identity is constructed.

Streetart Berlin, artist: unknown Streetart Berlin, artist: unknown | Photo and © URBAN ARTefakte

“From the Street – for the street!”

URBERLIN Collection 2013 URBERLIN Collection 2013 | Photo: Suzana Holtgrave Among other things, Urberlin with its T-shirt collections is represented at the Berliner Fashion Week and has been a member of the Bright Trade Show in Berlin since 2012. The return flow has already been taken care of, too. Thus, a part of the Urberlin concept is to have a share of the profits benefit the “Street” in turn. The funds flow into urban social projects, thereby in particular supporting socially disadvantaged children and young people, in accordance with the slogan “From the Street – for the street!”