Ralph, owner and creative director of ic! Berlin

IC! Berlin is one of Berlin’s enfants terrible and making a bigger noise every Berlin Fashion Week. Originally an optician with it’s own glasses line, a denim apparel line was added and gave the models something to cover besides their eyes.
This year, IC! Berlin brand is extended to WeC! Berlin: A Charity project selling limited editions t-shirts to raise money for correction lenses. This allows the less wealthy and handicapped in Brazilian favelas to receive not only correction glasses, but also allowing them to attend schooling and benefit from education.
24 designers joined the cause and designed a t-shirt each. The shirts are produced under supervision of these designers all over the world.

Where does the love/hate thing originate?

It has always been this way. People love us or they hate us. I believe, strong things you can only love or hate. We continue to walk this controversial path. Therefore we hand out the bags with either HATE or LOVE IC! BERIN. At first sight one does not directly see that it actually says ‘Ever love’ and ‘never hate’ if you look at both sides. People approach us asking ‘What the fuck’ and ‘Are you from the competitors? What is it about?’ And we have this kind of confusion that we create.

I think there is only love for your performance in the beginning of the show.

I have no clue. I mean, it would be great if that was the case. But even if people hated it, I don’t know. I was just lying there taped and and I hope that it was positive. I have a few people that I trust and I need to ask them afterwards for their honest opinion.

Showing everything and exposing yourself to the bone. Is this a part of your identity and input to the charity project? Will WeC! Berlin be a long-term involvement?

Our Christmas card always says „Naked we come, naked we go.“
We are born naked, and we die naked. Nakedness is something that is a part of us; under the clothes we are always naked. IC! Berlin had glasses in the beginning. We showed glasses and nothing else.

Right now, we have these glasses, the shorts and the pants. The situation is much different. Nakedness is a relative part of us and the tense of the bokha, which is also about being naked. I like this picture of nakedness and no nakedness. Contrasts.

Most of the looks consisted of white shirts with colourful prints and dark denim & pants. These contrasts make the collection scream. What was the inspiration?

24 artists from all over the world designed the shirts. As diverse as their origins are also the colours used for the designs. We are very happy that the designers really invested a lot of energy in their creations. The strong motivation for the project shows in their work and reflects everybody’s love and excitement. They loved the idea and added the colourful things we have several options: the possibility to work with art and fashion, and to provide glasses to people who are not as fortunate as we are. They are not so wealthy and happy. We always could donate many glasses, of course. It is an easy thing to just give glasses away. But we also need lenses to make people see. The brand: IC! Berlin to bring out in the world. The t-shirts are sold as limited editions in order to collect money for the lenses, making a whole deal out of the project.

Does this project and it’s realization prove Berlin to be a meeting point of the world?

Oh yes, definitely. We all meet here, too. Many come to Berlin and that is what it is about

What are the new shapes of the glasses then?

Several shapes were used from the existing and previous collection and just worked on new and other colours. We were just playing around a little. If you usually work in the opticians’ field, you need to be strict and you must meet the customers’ tastes.
But we are really working freestyle. That means that we tried new colours and used them on our known and existing frames. Adding these meant adding some fun and doing something crazy as well.

Does that mean that the collection is about fun on the outside but based on the meaningful seriousness?

Yes, it is all about that mix: We show that we can put together a serious fashion show with a very arty and joyful collection.

We’re looking forward to next time

Thank you, my regards to Athens. I love the city and have been there many times.

Interview: Janosch Boesche