Text: Juule Kay
The world is changing, and with it, a new generation of trailblazers is taking over. In our monthly series E-MERGING, we introduce the people adding to the cultural moment with their creative minds, new ideas and unique approaches. It’s a glimpse behind the scenes, a way to dig deeper and look beyond the picture-perfect outcome we’re swamped with every day.
“I wanted to be a lot of different things as a kid,” Moritz Iden remembers. “One of them was being an inventor.” In one or another way, the Berlin-based fashion designer has fulfilled his childhood dream. Working at the intersection of art and fashion, the 24-year-old created their own visual dystopia using jacquard knitwear and 3D. Growing up peak Tumblr, he discovered a virtual door to fashion, which later paved the way to their own brand. “I was able to see the runway pictures, found all these documentaries about designers like McQueen or Margiela and built my knowledge on that,” he explains.
On the internet, I finally saw people who looked like me, who felt like me, and who were able to put into words what I was feeling.
The internet turned out to be a secret weapon to find their community online. “When I grew up, I felt very isolated due to my queer identity and had no one around me I could relate to,” he reaches back. “On the internet, I finally saw people who looked like me, who felt like me, and who were able to put into words what I was feeling.” Falling into a hole of isolation (the good kind), Iden sat alone in front of their computer during school breaks and taught himself new things like sewing, image-editing and 3D software programs. “The internet almost felt like an older sister who you turn to, and who had all the answers,” he says. “I gradually went from using it as a resource to using it to put myself out there.”
Back in 2021, Iden launched their eponymous label after his first jacquard knitwear pieces blew up on the internet, and even attracted the attention of fashion icon Julia Fox and pop star Rosalía. “The best thing about what I do is seeing people in my clothes, resonating with my art and breathing life into it,” they explain. “It’s a form of art to have a conversation through clothes without using words.” Inspired by the intangible, IDEN evolved into wearable artworks featuring human lookalikes. “It’s like a Sims character before customization,” he jokes, before getting serious again. “These characters are a way to be vulnerable without necessarily putting myself out there.”
In fact, emotions are what makes the brand. Every piece originates from another heartfelt sentiment. “Sometimes it just comes to me out of nowhere, and sometimes it’s just a feeling I indulge in and try to translate into my digital art,” they explain. What looks rather dark often stems from a dark place, yet IDEN finds comfort in the chaotic world of emotions. “All things aren’t necessarily positive or negative, they just are, and we’re confronted with them at all times,” he describes the process.
With its dystopian look and fictitious feel, a lot of people assume IDEN only exists in the digital world. It’s not far-fetched, given the fact that the sampling process is made digitally to see what the graphic will look like on the body. “I always try to discover new ways to digitize my craft,” the up-and-coming fashion designer explains. “It’s quicker, it’s less expensive, and you don’t waste any fabric.”
Giving off a you-are-not-alone kind of vibe, IDEN is a genuine way to connect with yourself and others through fashion beyond the queer internet niche. “I wish I would have known that when I push myself, there are people out there who can relate and find value in my work,” says Iden, referring to what he would have wished to know before starting their label. “I never felt understood when growing up, but now, when people like my work, I do it in a weird way.”
It’s a form of art to have a conversation through clothes without using words.
What’s something the internet taught you?
How to finesse the system.
How do you cure virtual heartache?
Blocking, deleting, and turning off.
Please describe your visual dystopia in three emotions.
Comforting, gut-wrenching and dissociative.
You found comfort in chaos. Where’s the most chaotic place in your life?
What’s going on in my head.
What would your guardian angel tell you right now?
To go outside!