Slow Travel Diary: Berlin Fashion Week
Usually, January in Berlin is not my ultimate idea of joy but last week I braved the bitter cold and the harsh spell of winter and spent some days at Berlin Fashion Week. Following a strong interest in the intersection of fashion, tech, and sustainability, I decided to attend a diverse mix of events, ranging from the bi-annual Fashiontech Berlin conference - debating the newest technology trends, to Europe's largest fairs for conscious clothing, the Ethical Fashion Show and Greenshowroom, and a showcase of German fashion design talent at Der Berliner Modesalon, located at the beautiful Kronprinzenpalais (Crown Prince's Palace).
Being a native German myself, I have to admit that I never expect too much when it comes to fashion 'Made In Germany'. Compared to other countries and much to my regret, fashion in Germany is not regarded as a national treasure. But in recent years, there has been some positive shifts, such as the formation of a German Fashion Council and the Der Berliner Modesalon initiative which seeks to promote both national and international awareness of contemporary German fashion design. As my personal highlights at Der Berliner Modesalon, I would like to mention the emerging Berlin-based labels Goetze and William Fan, and the delicate crocheted jewellery of Rita in Palma that is lovingly hand-made by local female artisans. A special shout-out at the Greenshowroom fair goes to Danish brand By Signe for some truly great basics, and to Sleeping Gypsy from Ukraine for their artfully embroidered Vyshyvanka dresses.
What I found most striking though was that none of the sectors seem to be well connected. Fashion, fashion-tech, and sustainable fashion appeared to be very different scenes with very different players, and separate entities without much interaction. Such a loss! In each of the arenas, there is so much knowledge that could wonderfully cross-pollinate. Let us just imagine: If the fashion scene would insert their understanding of great design, the sustainable fashion scene their knowledge of mindful and ethical production, and fashion-tech would open the doors of future perceptions, I am certain that we could create some truly remarkable eco+style-innovations!
Our Berlin Fashion Week Highlights, 16-19 January 2017:
A Mindful Style Guide To Berlin:
Berlin is always worth a visit, and not just for fashion week. It is one of my most beloved cities that I equally adore for being so laid-back, open-minded and culturally rich. In recent years, a wonderfully diverse and healthy foodie scene has emerged, and there are more and more great spots for vintage and local fashion. I talked to some of my favourite bloggers - to vegan chef Sophia Hoffmann, to Julia Koch of This is Jane Wayne, and to Franziska Schmid of Veggie Love - to bring you some expert advice in the areas of conscious fashion, healthy eating and clean beauty. Here are our combined highlights:
All About Fashion
Lissome Loves: Our favourite places to shop for designer vintage and local fashion brands:
Berlin's treasure chamber for high-end designer vintage pieces. A small but beautifully curated gem of a store for true one-of-a-kind finds.
Mulackstrasse 38, 10119 Berlin (Mitte)
Konk was founded in 2003 by Edda Mann and is the place to go for independent Berlin fashion design. It is all about creative and artistic fashion and designers who design and produce both locally and fair. Konk showcases fashion and jewelry brands such as Anntian, Isabell de Hillerin, Thone Negron, and The Medley Institute.
Kleine Hamburger Strasse 15, 10117 Berlin (Mitte)
Townes is one of Berlin’s best kept secrets. Easy to overlook, the tiny shop stocks rare vintage pieces for men and women by international designers such as Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, and Helmut Lang, thoughtfully curated by owner Shoko Kawaida.
Linienstrasse 56, 10119 Berlin (Mitte)
All About Food
Berlin-based vegan chef Sophia Hoffmann shares her favourite food destinations:
The BEST Avocado Toast in Town. Amazing lunch offers, there is always a dish of the day, called The Plant Plate. Always delicious. Try the Active Chai and the vegan beetroot brownies! Chef Lisa is able to turn veggies and legumes into spectacular perfectly balanced comforting everyday food, that leaves you satisfied, but never stuffed.
Schleusenufer 4, 10997 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
Breakfast on the weekend, daily lunch options with a Bavarian twist, open bar in the evenings. The guys running Yodel are beer nerds, so they have a great and varied selection of regional and international craft beers. A great neighborhood bar that carries the spirit of the open-minded, young and cosmopolitan neighborhood of Neukölln.
Weserstrasse 91, 12059 BERLIN (NEUKÖLLN)
Best vegan/vegetarian breakfast in town. The girls running it pick the best ingredients from local producers such as delicious Italian sourdough bread from Sironi and Berlin-produced lemonades and beers. They have a great selection of homemade cakes, brownies, and other sweet treats, always with vegan and gluten free options, and offer fresh cold-pressed juices. Another highlight - the weekly changing „Stulle“, a traditional German version of the open faced sandwich. The best ingredients make the best food. As simple as that.
WEISESTRASSE 58, 12049 BERLIN (NEUKÖLLN)
What would you say makes the food scene in Berlin unique?
You don’t need much money to get started here, so a lot of people try out new things. It’s the trial & error concept and if you succeed, you can expand and have great success. Also, there are so many people coming from everywhere and they all bring their ideas and influences. You cannot compare the Berlin food scene to the rest of Germany (which is mostly quite boring and conservative). Also, Berlin is called the „vegan capital of Europe“, so you get an amazing range of meat/dairy free plant-based food here. Try the app Happy Cow, it’s my best friend when I travel! It’s like Trip Advisor for Vegans ;)
Sophia Hoffmann is a vegan chef based in Berlin who loves to cook with high-quality seasonal, regional products. Apart from her healthy, tasty everyday food, she creates special menus with a twist for her legendary dinner nights that she started in 2012 - think colour concepts like monochrome or all white, ingredient-themed food like aphrodisiac or herbs and experiments like “Eating With Hands” or “Children’s Birthday Reloaded”. Playing with food and a creative approach is her goal – eating and cooking should be a satisfying healthy recreational everyday ritual! http://sophiahoffmann.com
All about Style
Artisan interior, vintage fashion, and brands to know, by fashion+lifestyle writer Julia Koch:
At Philomena Zanetti, you can find minimalistic and basic styles which I personally prefer to seasonally changing collections. If I had to name one of the brands that represent my own style almost perfectly, it would be Philomena.
Another store I like is Folkdays which offers handmade and fairly produced accessories and living items. All their items are chosen from suppliers who support artisanal communities. Their style is minimalistic and classic.
Manteuffelstrasse 19, 10997 BERLIN (Kreuzberg)
It’s not that easy to style outfits with exclusively fair trade and sustainable clothes so I often go to vintage stores to add some unique and second-hand pieces. I love Sing Blackbird in Berlin because the selection doesn’t overwhelm you but gives you enough choice.
Sanderstrasse 11, 12047 BERLIN (Neukölln)
What do you love about Berlin?
I’m not based in Berlin but I visit as often as I can. Berlin is a place where you can find all sorts of lifestyles and diversity. What I love about Berlin is that you can experience both painful loneliness and great inspiration, sometimes at the same time. For me personally, Berlin is the place where you feel like you are constantly being changed. It’s adventurous and scary at the same time, and for some reason, you almost always come out of this process as this wholly new empowered person.
Julia Koch worked as a fashion model for almost 6 years before she quit her career and left Milan to study agricultural science in Germany. She went vegan, started to wear sustainable fashion, became more conscious about buying organic food, and with the help of her background as a fashion model, she started a blog about fair fashion which shortly after turned into a high-quality print magazine about fashion, culture and design called Vegan Good Life. Today, she also covers all things ethical and sustainable for the Vogue partner blog This is Jane Wayne.
All about beauty
The places-to-go for clean and vegan beauty, by Berlin-based blogger Franziska Schmid:
This fairly new store for organic and vegan beauty, started out as an online shop and just recently opened a by-appointment-only showroom. The selection is highly curated and you can be sure to find great brands from all over the world.
Silvio-Meier-Strasse 2, 10247 Berlin (Friedrichshain)
Ever since I heard about the two perfumers from Le Labo wanting to revolutionize the perfume industry by using only vegan ingredients, I was intrigued. Luckily, I also fell in love with their perfumes and can’t get enough of their scent Santal 33. Hold on tight to your credit card, in 2016 the New York-based brand opened two stores in Berlin.
Alte-Schönhauser-Strasse 26, 10119 BERLIN (Mitte)
The love for organic beauty products runs in my family and I grew up using creams and lotions from Weleda. Make sure to visit the flagship store in Mitte where you can find and try every product of the brand. If you are extra lucky, you’ll meet aromatherapist René Tanneberger who will give you a most charming consultation.
Brunnenstrasse 5, 10119 BERLIN (MITTE)
Franziska Schmid is a Berlin-based writer and blogger. In 2010 she founded the sustainable and vegan lifestyle blog Veggie Love where she writes about a different kind of luxury: slow fashion, clean beauty, and conscious travel. Currently, she’s working on her new book, a travel guide for Berlin with hundreds of addresses for organic beauty, ethical fashion, and vegan food.