Book Tip & Essay: “Traces – Fashion & Migration”

Book cover | ©AMD Akademie Mode & Design

The AMD Akademie Mode & Design Berlin publishes with the Distanz Verlag a book: Traces – Fashion & Migration. An excerpt by Jina Khayyer

The traces that one leaves behind play an important role in the topic of migration.

Under the leadership of Olga Blumhardt (course leader: fashion journalism/media communication) and Professor Antje Drinkuth (course dean: fashion design, BA), the AMD (Akademie Mode & Design) Berlin and the Hochschule Fresenius conducted a research project called “Traces – Fashion & Migration.” Fortunately, and with the support of the State Department, Distanz Verlag has now published that study (and a fashion show is taking place during Berlin Fashion Week).

We’re pleased to be able to publish an excerpt from one of the essays contained in Traces – Fashion & Migration by Jina Khayyer:

The German Eye

I always had a problem with people who identified with a country, that is, with a nationality, instead of with humanity. And I am always fascinated by those who identify with their calling. So much so that they become one, without a boundary between their calling and themselves.

By Jina Khayyer

What distinguishes German fashion photography? Why are German photographers so successful internationally (in contrast to German fashion designers)? And did Helmut Newton, Peter Lindbergh, Juergen Teller, Katja Rahlwes, Ellen von Unwerth, Horst Diekgerdes and Wolfgang Tillmans – just to name a few – only get big because they migrated? In order to come closer to the answer, first I have to pose the question of whether one’s own background is reflected in one’s perspective? Which leads to new questions, because what exactly determines one’s background? Is it the place in which one was born? The place where one spends the majority of his or her life? Or is it the first language that one learns, the native language, that is one’s homeland?

Peter Lindbergh, for example, was born in German-occupied Poland (in Lissa, today Leszno). His birth name was Peter Brodbeck. After the Second World War, he migrated to Germany with his parents, where he lived until the end of the 1970s. Since then, his place of residence has been divided between Paris, New York and Arles.

Azit Bostan | ©Fabian Frinzel

Or Helmut Newton, born in Berlin as the son of Jewish parents, with the birth name, Helmut Neustädter. In 1938, he fled from the Nazis toward Singapore and landed in Australia in 1940, where he adopted his new name along with Australian citizenship. Newton never lived in Germany again. At his peak, he commuted between his residences in Monte Carlo and Los Angeles. So how German are Lindbergh and Newton? And what exactly makes them German? And their perspectives, how German are they?

I remember my first Newton-moment well. I found a big book in my older sister’s room. It was hardcover and HELMUT NEWTON was printed on it in block letters. I had never heard of him. I opened up the book and saw a naked woman in black high heels. She stood there, hands at her waist, legs spread wide, her genitalia covered by a full bush. To me this woman seemed like a pillar, a statue. An indescribable beauty with a firm and yet soft form. Not a Modigliani woman and not a Rubens woman either. She was a completely new woman. She was strong and sensual. A fighter and a seductress. I had never seen a woman like this before.

Impressions from the Show:

The presentation of the book was realized last night at the Federal Foreign Office in the context of a fashion show.
The complete text can be found in the book TRACES – Fashion & Migration, ISBN 978-3-95476-197-5, Distanz Verlag, 29,90 Euro  here.

For more inspiration follow Jina Khayyer’s Instagram account here or the Instagram account of AMD Akademie Mode & Design here.

Translation: Jeremiah Pietroniro

Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.