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Hussein Chalayan: UK fashion designer to teach at Berlin university

Exciting days! British fashion designer Hussein Chalayan is coming to Berlin as a professor at the HTW. What can his students expect? Style editor Stefan Sauerbrey caught up with him to find out.

Fashion designer Hussein Chalayan, middle aged man in black cloths, sitting in front of white wall.
Hussein Chalayan has been pushing the boundaries of fashion for decades (HTW Berlin / Alexander Rentsch).

tip Berlin: Congratulations to your professorship and welcome to Berlin! Do you know Berlin? Did Berlin play a role when you decided to work at HTW Berlin?

Thank you! I don’t know Berlin incredibly well – I visited mostly for pleasure but I do love it and do see many parallels with London. But I know some friends who live here and I hope to get to know it better and also to get to know more people here also. Berlin itself played a role to some extent for my interest for the position, but I feel that HTW has a great educational structure to which I can contribute meaningfully, whilst also collaborating with other experts in our team.

The focus of your professorship will be on sustainability and innovation. How important is this in today’s fashion industry?

I would say that sustainability is a given necessity in all facets of life. I am not an expert in it right now but I will hopefully be able to investigate ways of thinking where innovation and sustainability will be inseparable…

“Sustainability is a given necessity in all facets of life”

What will be the most important thing you’ll teach the students?

How to think about creativity, whilst identifying or earning their skills (design, craftsmanship, communication skills), and how to confidently best apply those skills to the real world.

Many of them may start their own fashion business one day — what is your advice for them? 

I would say gain experience first elsewhere, then start your own business when you are more experienced and you have a unique selling point.

Culture und conceptual inspiration, music and performative elements are important in your work. Your designs are on display in museums. Will you encourage your students to present their ideas — maybe to a public audience? 

Yes I would very much like to participate with our team to help students present their work in an inspiring way to the public. These discussions have already started….exciting days…

About the designer: Hussein Chalayan is a British fashion designer with Turkish-Cypriot roots. He graduated from the renowned Central St Martins College in London. Apart from running his own label, he has worked as a creative director for sports brand Puma, amongst others.

Translated by Aida Baghernejad


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