Germany is known for its innovation and sophisticated design, and these attributes are evident in many of the country’s pursuits, from the motor industry to fashion. The country boasts an enormous number of creative legends, up-and-coming designers and home-grown talent. Here, we meet 10 of Germany’s best designers.
Fusc is a Berlin-based fashion and jewellery label working with upcycled materials. Started by Damaris Moos and Rosa Hirn, the duo decided to pair up and create the label after admiring each other’s work while studying at the Pforzheim University for Design. The pair bonded over their affinity for unusual materials and this aesthetic plays into their work. They upcycle secondhand clothing and materials to create edgy jewellery and fashion.
Bobby Kolade is part of an emerging trend of young German fashion designers who are dedicated to creating and promoting sustainable eco-fashion. Born in Sudan to Nigerian parents, Kolade studied fashion design at Weißensee School of Art and worked at Balenciaga before launching his own label in 2013. Kolade’s designs are consciously ethical and he refuses to use fur and leather, opting instead for natural and sustainable materials, including a fabric made from the bark of a Ugandan fig tree. Kolade also uses fashion to make political statements, and he famously designed a sweater with a bold image of a collapsed textile factory in Bangladesh.
After graduating from Esmod Berlin, designers Alexandra Fischer-Roehler and Johanna Kühl swiftly established their place in the international fashion world, catching everyone’s attention with a guerilla fashion show in front of the high-end concept store Colette. Since then, Fischer-Roehler and Kühl have gone from strength to strength and their label Kaviar Gauche has been shown at London Fashion Week and the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin. Known for their ethereal yet contemporary designs, Fischer-Roehler and Kühl have also introduced this aesthetic into their bridal collections for Kaviar Gauche.
IAMKILOGRAM is an independent, Berlin-based fashion label founded in 2017 by Margot Buchheit, the label’s artistic director. Creativity, colour and uniqueness are at the core of IAMKILOGRAM’s ethos. The brand launched its first avant garde streetwear collection in October 2017 via the label’s web shop. Designing outfits from vintage sports jerseys, scarves and other secondhand materials, the label produces outfits that can’t be replicated. The label is run entirely out of Berlin, with its concept, creation and production all taking place at a studio in the city; they also source their raw materials locally.
Since 2005, Munich-based Antonia Zander has been the designer behind the cashmere label originally founded by her mother in the early 1980s. Throughout the years, the philosophy behind the family-owned label has remained the same: the highest standards of quality, luxurious materials, a fresh approach to knitwear and laid-back, subtle patterns. This label is one for sophisticated bohemians, hippies and modern nomads.
Labelled the ‘Queen of Less,’ Jil Sander is known as one of the leader’s of minimalist style. Sander launched her signature line in Milan in 1973, and after five years of designing pieces for her Hamburg-based boutique, Sander’s designs quickly became lauded for their elegance, clean lines and neutral tones. From simple shift dresses in luxuriously draped silk to structured jackets and coats in monochrome colours, Sander’s collections exude sophistication and understated style.
German–Nigerian designer Buki Akomolafe, founded her signature label, also called Buki Akomolafe, in 2015. The label’s aesthetic vision is shaped by Buki’s heritage, which provided her with a diverse background in handcrafting techniques. The label stands for contemporary high-end women’s clothing, but moves away from obvious femininity with a hint of androgyny and precise tailoring. All of the label’s materials are eco-organic and use certified cotton, organic hemp silk and individual African wax prints to create a refined balance between classic European craftsmanship and West African techniques, resulting in pieces that tell a story.
Born and raised in Cologne, Anna Jannick moved to Düsseldorf to study fashion design at the AMD Akademie Mode & Design. After her successful graduation, Anna decided to relocate to London to continue her studies at Kingston University London and gaining an MA in Fashion. Her collections show an excellent understanding of colour, prints and materials and bring in a playful sense of style. Not shying away from bold colours and prints, Anna blends these with padded elements to create a unique feminine silhouette for the independent woman of today.
Since 2014, Marco Scaiano has lived and worked in Berlin, and his designs blend the worlds of art and fashion. Scaiano has had his work exhibited at the Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf as part of a special exhibition. His design aesthetic is clean yet bold, often playing with cuts and shapes to create truly unique pieces.
The designer for the enormously successful Lala Berlin brand, Leyla Piedayesh is known for her effortless, cool aesthetic. Leyla’s fashion label and store epitomise the Berlin metropolis, successfully conveying the spirit of the German capital to the world in an authentic and individual way. She incorporates slouchy, chunky knits, bright ethnic-inspired patterns and boxy silhouettes to create a fresh, dynamic look perfect for reflecting the aesthetic of the urban space. Piedayesh reflects the fleeting flamboyant chic of Berlin in new ways with her distinctive and feminine collections.