Fashion As Social Forum, People Berlin
Every city has its fair share of scandals. Scandalous by its very nature, it only seems appropriate that Berlin would dominate sensationalist headlines and pump out the most horrific narratives within Germany, if not all of Europe. Poverty, crime and uncontrollable hoodlums represent a majority of the news – stabbings in Alexanderplatz, gang fights in refugee displacement centers and statistics laying claim that Germans feel more unsafe now than they ever have. The implicit bias and sweeping influence of such weary headlines is quite damning to those finding their way – especially amongst minorities and Berlin’s youth – two populations that are undoubtedly connected.
Polarization and political and social isolation are just many of the preposterous outcomes caused by mass media inflicted with systemic bigotry. A few months of damaging articles, stories and televised features can send entire neighborhoods into flight, leaving those with less privilege or worse, less rights, to fend for themselves. And while most will flee, there are some that will stay and fewer that will be drawn to the deplorable conditions left behind. Whether they see it as an opportune moment for a more affordable studio space or an attempt at making a small business work, the courage is there – and the cycle of gentrification continues. Yet, there are an exceptional few that aren’t looking to be commended for their courage – and they aren’t looking for news exposure and social media connections, unless of course it furthers their cause and provides more aide.
People Berlin is a social/fashion project that specializes in providing a sound stage for at-risk youth, a demographic so often denied agency. Creating an environment where youth are made to feel useless, as if they have no stock in their county’s future, is simultaneously creating an environment conducive to anger, resentment and behavior that lends to lashing out. People Berlin has constructed a new reality for at-risk youth in Berlin, allowing them an escape from a dangerous cycle some deemed inescapable.
The social fashion project also focuses on youth suffering from various addictions, mental illnesses and other afflictions by displaying the impact of creativity and working with their hands. Most importantly, People Berlin uses the launches, pop-up shops shops and social events as a sound board for conversations and commentary about social norms, prejudices and other local issues impacting Berlin at-large - transforming fashion into a well-rounded forum of trust, compassion and basic human decency.