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Boris Bidjan Saberi explores a world rich in asperities, textures, surprising and contrasting territories. Over the course of his collections, the German designer has developed the refined silhouette of an urban...

Boris Bidjan Saberi explores a world rich in asperities, textures, surprising and contrasted territories.

Over the course of his collections, the German designer has developed the refined silhouette of an urban adventurer, nourished, like himself, by esotericism and streetwear. Boris Bidjan Saberi colonizes the bodies of textiles working as a second skin, even as an armor.

Boris Bidjan Saberi article feature


Minimalism, asymmetrical cuts, color codes in relation to the environment, Saberi's aesthetic mirrors the places it crosses, architectures and spaces, with one foot out of time, and the other well planted in its time.


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More than the man of tomorrow, it is the contours of a new world that Boris Bidjan Saberi seems to imagine, where the being, in direct contact with his emotions, can finally breathe.


You grew up in a family sensitive to fashion.

My father, Iranian, and my mother, German, met in a textile manufacturing company, where she worked as a secretary and he as a production assistant. A typical love story! My mother created a company specialized in evening dresses, and my father decided to found his own production company and open his factory. So he was producing clothes for her and several other brands at the same time. When I was born, they sold everything. They thought it was more than enough to live on, and then they also wanted to see something else. I grew up in Bavaria, in the south of Germany, near the Austrian border, between Salzburg and Munich, where people wear the Lederhose, the traditional costume of the region. It was a very pleasant atmosphere, very bucolic, suitable for sports activities. On the one hand, I felt out of place, but at the same time, I felt at home. Bavarians are not known for their open-mindedness, they had difficulty understanding why an Iranian man chose to live there with a German woman. But I think my parents appreciated their difference.

Leaving his country and finding a place to call home was very hard for my father, who never forgot his Iranian roots. He helped his family as much as he could, and searched all his life for ways to free himself, and to give back what was given to him. I inherited that. He taught me to look for my own way, to dig for the unexplored, and that you don't change anything by following someone else's path. Even when we went hiking, he took pleasure in surprising us by leaving the marked paths: "No, let's go that way instead, it will be better!"

I look for other ways, even today. If someone says to me "this is the way things should be done", I immediately look for other alternatives, because who can really decide how things should be done? This doesn't mean that I always do the opposite, just on principle. Other questions arise, too: "What do you feel? What do you want? How should you feel? Who are you?"

Once I've answered all these questions, I go for it!

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At what age did your vocation come about?

In my family, we have always created. My mother created all day long, sometimes even at the table, starting at breakfast. She had the ideas, my father gave them form, so I always had these two figures as examples. At the time, I wasn't analyzing any of this, I was just a kid watching my dad, "Let's do this and this, let's make this!" And he was doing it. It was funny. My mom was always the one with the ideas, and my dad spent his time sweating out the ideas, whether it was cutting down a tree in the backyard, reupholstering the couch, or even setting the table. And when you grow up with those energies, they become a part of you, and even define who you become.

I'm always busy with something, I'm interested in what's real, what's authentic - what will create a spark in me. I like to feel useful. I think I got that from my father. My mother gave me the will to experiment, to always create, to try, to adapt, to improvise in order to always get new results. I started to rethink and recreate my clothes when I was 12 years old, observing how people dressed and asking myself what motivated their choices. Why are some people more sensitive to certain fabrics than others? You can't learn that, it's innate. My parents passed it on to me, it's part of my DNA.


What memories do you have of your very first collection?

It was a summary of everything I had produced and thought up to that point. What was weird was that I had no idea what fashion was. I knew about clothes of course, and a few brands. I was interested in skateboarding and hip hop, so I dressed accordingly, but at the time there were no brands that specialized in those worlds.

The only skate brands were Airwalk and Vision Street Wear - we were the first generation to experience skateboarding, so I was used to wearing Levi's jeans, Hanes and Fruit of the Loom t-shirts, and that was enough for me. I grew up without internet access, which came later. I always find it strange that people compare designers to each other, or even put them in the same basket. It's all about intentions and experience. I didn't have access to fashion with a capital M. I started wearing baggy pants that fell so low that my shirt couldn't hide my butt. People kept saying, "Pull up your pants"... I finally solved it another way when I said to myself, "Maybe I should wear longer t-shirts". Since no one was making them at the time, I had to do it. I looked for similar fabrics, bought 2 shirts to put together, or took XL shirts and tightened them.

That's how I created the first TS1, which is now one of the brand's basics.

I consider myself a primitive designer, because it all started very primitively. It was simple and naive, and I was just filling a need at the beginning.

Of course I studied fashion, because I wanted to have more background, and know other designers, which I never wanted to study because I had a visceral need to imagine and create. But that didn't stop me from doing things my way, approaching things the way my father did, and creating the way my mother did. I created a collection out of disparate elements that worked together, we don't know how, and I thought, "This is cool! The message is strong! It's really you... People need to see this, because creating a cohesive story that's never been created before with pieces spanning 10 or 12 years is impossible!"

This first collection represented a very personal aspect of who I am. It was my life materialized in clothes. It was skateboarding, hip hop, experimentation. My baggy pants were tightened at the ankles because skateboarding messed up my hems, and sneakers reinforced with rubber because I couldn't afford new ones. It was a fun story and it was new, well, it was to me.

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Between this collection, and the one you just presented... What changed?

The creative process, mostly. I now have a base that I can adapt and expand. I have discovered new areas, erased everything I had in my head and integrated it into the clothes. Today, the question I ask myself, with a big smile on my face, is "what do you need?"

It's more complicated than it sounds, because in the end I have everything I want. Materially I don't need anything, but I still love to create, make, reinterpret... It's my way of communicating with the world. There are definite visions, affirmations behind what I do, and I want to share them, to draw attention, to help people think, in a way. To think about what they want, what they feel, to think about themselves. I like to dress them in clothes that are full of energy, because I know that my team and I infuse a lot of positivity into it, that we love what we do.

This notion of necessity is essential to my creative process. The last collection revolved around science fiction and post-humanism. I asked myself "what would happen if you only had one leg and had to improvise? How would you make a second leg out of the things you could pick up, in a world without engineers, computers, 3D printers and titanium legs?" That was my starting premise. I just let my imagination travel, get lost, bounce around... I thought about how everything could rust over time, about rust and its pretty brown and yellow tones. I encourage my team to let their inner children express themselves, then we start over, together, to create a larger vision, little by little, inhabited by our own minds.


Letting your inner child speak and focusing on your needs are essential ingredients for your creative freedom. What do you think people need these days?

Honestly, I don't know what they need. I wish people would close their eyes and "feel" again. I have the feeling that many people have lost contact with their emotions, that they only focus on what is around them, on these negative times, without paying attention to what they really feel.

When I design a new piece, I try it on, to see how it feels on my skin. If it feels good, then I have succeeded in creating a new garment, something evolved. I need to feel something strong, so strong that it hurts. I would like the garment to be felt that way, for my pieces to have an impact on the lives of those who wear them. Maybe it does, otherwise people wouldn't buy my clothes. I don't want to create low-end pieces because I use quality materials, because I employ a talented team that does a lot of research for each collection. Together we create objects and pieces that just want to be loved.


We interviewed Bonotto, the man behind the "Fabbrica Lenta". He is a remarkable philosopher. According to him, everything they do at Fabbrica Lenta is to unite the energy of people with emotions, joy and love, to make yarn, used to create fabrics. He believes that if their work is so different, if so many designers in the world want to use their fabrics, it is because of this.

I've worked with Bonotto, it makes sense to me. I think we wouldn't work together if we didn't see fashion from the same angle, if we didn't put emotions in our work. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Bonotto because he creates in the best way.

I make sure to have a real connection with my collaborators. I don't consider myself a spiritual person, I just try to get to the point and feel things. They have a special place in my heart because I couldn't do what I do without them. I select everyone myself, from my closest collaborators to the fabric producers, to the people who work in the factories. I want to be aware of everything, to make sure that everything makes sense. If it doesn't, I make sure it does. I choose to make my own fabrics and leathers. Most of the time we use original textiles that we make from scratch, because that's the only way to stand out and stay authentic. Sometimes it works, sometimes I look for materials that already exist. Fortunately, I don't chase fame and fortune, I know it's not my destiny, and I have no problem with that. The time allotted for creation and production is limited, and I am happy that we manage to do such a lot of research and experimentation with each collection, despite the short time allotted. That's why I create.

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How did your relationship with Leclaireur start?

Martine & Armand Hadida love what they do, and they're great people. They are relevant. I didn't know them, I was just a blue-eyed Bavarian, uneducated in fashion. Over the years, as I presented my work and pursued my studies at the same time, the name Leclaireur came up several times. Of course, I had heard of the stores, but I couldn't imagine what it was all about. I was living in Barcelona at the time, I had neither the time nor the money to go to Paris. But I had the feeling that we were made to work together, that we had the same requirements. Once my first collection was finished, I called them from a phone booth, asking to show my collection. When I arrived in Paris, with part of the collection in my suitcase, Mr. Hadida was traveling. It was out of the question for me to leave my "baby" there, in Paris, in a city that was foreign to me. So he couldn't see my work that time.

I spent a year wondering if I had made a mistake by not leaving my collection in Paris. But it was written. When we finally met a year later at a showroom in Paris, I presented my pieces and they bought them, from the very first season, which still amazes me. I admire their vision and am very proud to be part of their selection.


You started very young, thanks to skateboarding, hip hop and all this pop culture that has deeply influenced you. Do you still skate?

Hip hop is a part of me now, I can't get enough of it. It's unheard of to be so absorbed in something that developed so far from my roots. I think it's always resonated with me because we were a bunch of friends who were out of the box, we had to fight to resist drugs, violence. We wanted to stand for something. That's what I was doing, I think, in Bavaria, in a small way, in my own way: I was a kid who was skateboarding, and trying to fight for something. I think that's still what I am. I don't mind sweating, bleeding for what I think is right, not for money, not for me, but for the world, in a way. Hip hop surrounds me daily, almost exclusively. I try to keep up with every new artist, every movement in the genre, even though some of it has become quite commercial and fake, like everywhere else. But there's always new talent, sounds that would have fit right in with the underground scene of the 90s.

I still like skateboarding, it reconnects me with the feeling of freedom I had back then. But, to get the tricks in, it's more painful... I feel like a skateboarding grandpa.


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