Berlin is coming up in the fashion industry. A pubescent youngster when compared to cities like New York and Paris, the Berlin Fashion Week is steadily advancing towards becoming the international fashion community’s unexpected prom-queen. While not there yet, there is a lot of potential in this dynamic city full of independent artists and unconventional labels. Berlin has a distinct vibe which generates some of fashion’s most promising talents. Its cheap rents, shabby chic and laid back demeanor attract young creatives from around the world. In recent years, the development of innovative projects and smart business ideas has increased and the city on the Spree has emerged as a melting pot of future-orientated designs and a generation of independent careerists. SOMA introduces a few of Berlin’s most outstanding designers, whose approach to fashion, like the city’s charisma, is one-of-a-kind.
Patrick Mohr | Patrick Mohr is Berlin’s enfant terrible. The gaunt man with his perennial hat and mustache consistently stirs up fashion week with provocative and unusual stage shows. His make-up artists possess the uncanny ability to transform models into a range of unconventional looks, like aliens with bold, oversized heads and scaled-down bodies or yellow, rabbit-like creatures. Patrick Mohr’s logo unites a triangle, square and parallelogram, shapes which form the basic elements of his collections. Mohr creates a unisex look which emphasizes architectural and geometric aesthetics rather than form-fitting designs, which often have a deconstructed and unfinished look. This rawness is also seen in his collaborations, like the recent shoe design for the basketball label k1x in which Mohr designed an avant-garde sneaker that combined sportiness with his signature grit.
Starstyling | This crazy and colorful label is the class clown of Berlin’s fashion scene. Each of Kai Seifried and Katja Schlegel’s collections is infused with their signature subtle irony. Combining urban influences with geometric forms and mosaic patterns inspired by contemporary art, Starstyling’s garments are made from unusual materials such as reflecting foil, bast fiber and a fabric treatment that resembles hot tar. Their spectacular fashion shows never fail to entertain, reflecting the playful attitude of Seifried and Schlegel’s designs as well as their magnificent quality of never taking themselves too seriously. One recent show was reminiscent of contemporary, experimental theater productions, while another was presented by modern dancers. For their most recent collection, named after the designers’ dog, Jessica Nussbaum, Starstyling employed unconventional models such as a green-haired girl, a guy with an artificial leg and an albino. Starstyling’s designs exude confidence and humor, making them an extraordinary fit for confident and quirky style aficionados.
Lala Berlin | For Lala Berlin everything began with knit wrist warmers. Designer Leyla Piedayesh’s knitwear was a favorite on the Berlin flea market circuit before she seriously founded her knit label in 2004. Since then Lala Berlin has become a high-end brand that creates not only exclusive knitwear, but a full-fledged collection for sophisticated women. Piedayesh’s designs strike a strong look that mixes soft, femininity with a subtly tough attitude. Luxurious materials like silk and cashmere exude the fluid character of Lala Berlin’s delicate and tender style while ensuring the high-quality standards its collections are known for. Lala Berlin is one of the city’s best loved designers, but its wearable designs have many fans beyond Berlin’s borders. Celebrities such as Mischa Barton, Cameron Diaz and Jessica Alba are committed supporters of the promising young label which is already available in more than 60 stores worldwide.
JULIAANDBEN | Always with edge—It’s a flowery phrase but also a skill that not many labels perform as well as JuliaandBen. Their designs always have a twist and consistently strike a balance between roughness and sophistication. Julia Heuse and Ben Klunker founded their label as young design school graduates in 2006 and have been experimenting with different coloring techniques ever since. Tie-dyed, bleached, moon-washed and aged fabrics appear regularly in both their menswear and womenswear collections. Many of Heuse and Klunker’s pieces are oversized and draped, often creating shapes that distort the silhouette. Heuse and Klunker adopt Berlin-like streetstyle elements in their garments and have created a look that clearly reflects the city, an aesthetic that they have been instrumental in furthering on the international scene. An understated coolness, a dark attitude and a wasted chic is what describes Berlin and its fashion the best: The hidden beauty of a pubescent youngster cum darkhorse prom-queen.
- Turid Reinicke