Liberal self-expression is at the heart of Berlin’s culture. Hedonism, uniqueness and nerve are at the core of what makes Berlin’s fashion so appealing. When it comes to edgy style, the city’s creatives and designers are ahead of the curve, using the city as their backdrop and their own talent and experience to cultivate unparalleled designs that inspire and empower the individual. We spoke with four Berlin-based designers and creators about the edgy style tips everybody can take from Berliners.
Pornceptual is an art project and collective that presents pornography and fetishwear as diverse and inclusive. The concept started as an online gallery for erotic images, conceived by Brazil-born artist Chris Phillips. Now, Pornceptual has grown to include Kasper Burghout, Raquel Fedato and resident DJ Diego Garcia, and encompasses an online store and sex-positive artistic projects, including live sex shows and dance parties that aim to empower and embrace the individual.
Receptivity is at the heart of their work, says Phillips. ‘We work as a collective of upcoming erotic artists from all over the world to creatively express sexuality. We believe that art (and sex) should be an open experience.’ As the idea has grown, they have expanded upon and challenged preconceived norms, and their influence in fashion can be seen through the brand’s collaboration with a range of designers, says Burghout. ‘There is a big variety of brands we are working with, in terms of material use, price range and brand message.’
Pornceptual works with designers from all over the world, including an Argentinian brand, tHERAPY recycle + excorcise, who rework and recycle vintage items into new kinky pieces, and WOO YEAH, a South Korean sportswear designer who is one of the few designers putting out fetishwear in that country. Supporting and promoting individuality and expression is the common theme of their online store. ‘We mainly work with young independent designers from Berlin who approach fetishwear from their own creative perspective. Some of the designers are still studying, and others have been working on their brands for years,’ says Phillips.
Pornceptual style tips
1. Forget about gender labels and shopping becomes twice as fun.
2. No wardrobe can survive without mesh.
3. Most importantly: feel comfortable in what you wear, as that is what shines through.
Fusc is a Berlin-based fashion and jewellery label working with upcycled materials. It was founded by Damaris Moos and Rosa Hirn, who met while studying at the Pforzheim University for Design, where Damaris was studying fashion and Rosa was studying jewellery design. The pair always admired each other’s work during their university years, and this prompted them to start the joint project a year ago when they met again in Berlin.
Working with secondhand clothing, textiles and materials, they upcycled these to create their own unique designs. ‘The idea may not be new, but it still needs to be included more in every kind of industry, because organic and upcycling fashion still has this boring grey and green nature image,’ they say. They believe that working with used materials is a win-win for their brand and for the environment. ‘With Fusc we want to find a new way of conquering the streets and clubs and bedrooms with upcycling fashion,’ says Hirn.
Fusc style tips
1. Berlin is so relaxed because you can find every kind of style here and a lot of people doesn’t really give a shit how they look, so you can feel comfortable on the streets no matter what you wear, and that’s really great! That‘s why our first exclusive Berlin style tip is, be brave and stop being too serious. Try out something completely new, like layering very different kinds of clothes (perfect in winter) or mantling yourself completely in black or in any loud colour, which is more shocking nowadays than showing your skin.
2. Stylistic inconsistency! Take three or more pieces out of your wardrobe that you would never wear in one outfit. Now you combine these pieces. Done.
3. Just be yourself and don’t give a shit about any fashion style tips, like a real Berliner would do. It is more important to cultivate your own style and be confident with it. We think every wardrobe should have worn-down, real denim jeans and a solid black leather jacket, which will last for the next 50 years; in combination with a fancy Fusc piece, you are always going to look perfectly styled.
IAMKILOGRAM is a Berlin-based independent fashion label that was founded in 2017 by Margot B, the artistic director. The first avant-garde streetwear collection was launched in October 2017 via the label’s online shop iamkilogram.com.
Creativity and uniqueness are at the core of IAMKILOGRAM’s ethos. ‘We design outfits from vintage sports jerseys and fabric scarfs; thus, we offer outfits that can not be reproduced: unique outfits for unique people,’ says Margot. The company is run entirely out of Berlin, with concept, creation and production all taking place at the Berlin studio and the raw materials being sourced from Berlin merchants.
The city is also a source of inspiration for the brand. ‘Nightlife is really important in Berlin. It makes the city unique and unrivalled. It inspires us. We create clothes that do not go unnoticed, even in the best Berliner afterparties,’ says Margot. However, they move past the all-black Berlin uniform, fearlessly injecting colour into their designs. ‘We are fighting the city’s greyness with colourful and wayward outfits.’
IAMKILOGRAM style tips
1. Be yourself and don’t be afraid of other people’s eyes.
2. Break the city’s greyness by wearing colourful outfits.
3. Refuse to wear the same clothes as everyone else.
Nari Haase is a Berlin-based fashion designer with a passion for textile design. She takes inspiration for her collections from the abstract. ‘Fashion is my language. My main source of inspiration is philosophical and abstract topics, which I feel are relevant or personally interesting,’ she says.
Most of her collections begin with an idea and construction of thoughts, as Nari translates words into visual form in simple, graphic language. ‘To translate words into a visual form I work with associations and use my own textile designs, pattern cutting and feeling for materials depending on the concept.’ Haase’s bold, clean designs and materials remain an important part of her process. ‘Generally, the materials became a crucial part in my design process which brought me to textile design, my other passion; what my conceptual collections have in common are the simple and graphic aesthetics.’
Nari Haase style tips
1. Play with trends; combine them with your all-time favourites and wear them in a new way.
2. Everyone should have high-quality, timeless pieces to start with; they don’t have to be basic or timeless per definition, but timeless for yourself, garments you love and would always wear. By combining them with something fresh, you are always up to date and can develop your signature style.
3. Fashion is about communication, but also about feeling good. The clue is to find the balance between who you want to be and who you are. But in the end, it’s just fashion.
Check out these Instagram accounts showing the very best of Berlin.