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Berlin Fashion Week | ©Yukiko Matsuoka/Flickr
Berlin Fashion Week | ©Yukiko Matsuoka/Flickr

The 10 German Fashion Designers You Should Know

Picture of Anahit Behrooz
Updated: 3 January 2017
Although Germany might be better known for its automobile design than its fashion design, don’t be fooled: the country boasts an enormous number of creative legends, up-and-coming designers, and home-grown talent. Here we profile ten of the best fashion designers Germany has produced in recent years.

Bobby Kolade

Bobby Kolade is part of an emerging trend of young German fashion designers, 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; he entirely abstains from using fur and leather in his creations, opting instead for natural and sustainable materials, including a fabric made from the bark of a Ugandan fig tree. Kolade also uses his fashion to make cutting-edge political statements about the nature of the fashion industry. He once designed a sweater that featured press photos from a collapsed textile factory in Bangladesh in order to challenge the blind consumerism often found within the industry.

 

Annelie Augustin

German-born Annelie Augustin studied fashion design at Esmod Paris, graduating with honors before going on to work with prestigious designer Yohji Yamamato at Adidas. In 2009, Augustin launched her own fashion label with French designer Odély Teboul, titled Augustin-Teboul. The label is characterized by an all-black aesthetic, combining a romantic, Gothic poetry with strong silhouettes and a contemporary, almost minimalist, sophistication, in order to create beautiful prêt-à-porter pieces with all the quality of haute couture. Augustin-Teboul’s collections are highly praised and have won several coveted awards, including the £24,000 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize in 2012.

Karl Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld is one of the most popular and established fashion designers that Germany has ever produced. Although today he is mostly associated with Chanel and the French fashion scene, Lagerfeld is a distinctly European designer; born in Hamburg, he went on to study in Paris, and has previously worked for the Italian fashion house Fendi and the Swedish brand H&M. Despite now entering his eighties, Lagerfeld continues to remain at the cutting edge of contemporary fashion, infusing his collections with cultural references, ironic self-parody, and a fresh juxtaposition between the femininity of traditional couture and the masculinity of modern androgynous style.

Karl Lagerfeld | ©OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS/FlickrKarl Lagerfeld | ©OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS/Flickr

Alexandra Fischer-Roehler and Johanna Kühl

After graduating from Esmod Berlin, the International University of Art for Fashion, designers Alexandra Fischer-Roehler and Johanna Kühl swiftly established their place in the international fashion world with a guerrilla fashion show in front of the high-end concept store Colette in 2004. Since then, Fischer-Roehler and Kühl have gone from strength to strength: their label Kaviar Gauche has been shown at London Fashion Week and the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, where their SS08 collection won the New Generation Fashion Award, and has drawn the attention of celebrities such as Florence Welch and Rosie Huntington-Whitely. Known for their ethereal, yet contemporary designs, Fischer-Roehler and Kühl have introduced this aesthetic into their bridalwear collections for Kaviar Gauche, creating unique pieces perfect for that special day.

Kaviar Gauche Berlin Fashion Week | ©herlitz_pbs/FlickrKaviar Gauche Berlin Fashion Week | ©herlitz_pbs/Flickr

Leyla Piedayesh

The designer for the enormously successful lala Berlin brand, Leyla Piedayesh is known for the effortless, cool vibe she lends to each of her collections. Inspired by the edgy culture of Germany’s vibrant capital city, Piedayesh 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. Thanks to their modern, international appeal, Piedayesh’s designs have achieved global success; her collections can be found in over 250 boutiques worldwide, and she regularly presents her work at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Berlin.

Kostas Murkudis

Born in 1959 in Dresden to Greek parents, Kostas Murkudis studied fashion design at the Lette-Verein in Berlin and spent a season working for Wolfgang Joop, before embarking on a seven-year working relationship with Helmut Lang as his first assistant. After winning the Phillip Morris Design Award in 1994, Kostas Murkudis launched his own label under his name, showcasing men and women’s collections on international runways. Reflecting his interest in fine arts and media, his runway shows are often interdisciplinary, theatrical productions, such as his S/S 2012 show at Berlin Fashion Week, which featured a collaboration with sound and video artist Carsten Nicolai.

Caroline Rohner and Inna Stein

Despite having only graduated in 2013 from the Weißensee School of Art with a Masters in Fashion Design, Caroline Rohner and Inna Stein are already making their own distinctive mark on the fashion world. The two young designers launched their eponymous brand Steinrohner in 2013, aiming to challenge the boundaries of contemporary fashion design through their unique, innovative collections. Rather than simply creating aesthetically pleasing pieces, Rohner and Stein create fantasy worlds, using avant-garde silhouettes, an eye-catching mixture of textures, and inspiration from the arts to interweave an atmospheric narrative into their design. Their 2014 collection Obscure was inspired by the circus, reinventing ideas of movement, theatricality, and dreaming through dramatic new pieces.

Karlotta Wilde

Born in 1984, Karlotta Wilde is part of the new generation of German fashion designer taking the German and international fashion world by storm. Having studied fashion design at the prestigious Akademie für Mode und Design in Munich, Wilde gained experiences at a number of fashion houses and boutiques before launching her own eponymous brand in 2010 in Berlin. Her first collection was enthusiastically received, and she was awarded the Premium Young Designers Award in 2011 from the International Fashion Trade Show. Wilde’s collections are acclaimed for their elegant, clean tailoring and beautiful mixture of textures, as well as the pairing of airy tulle and sleek silks with metal accessories and cashmere knits.

Jil Sander

Labeled the ‘Queen of Less’ by many, Jil Sander is acknowledged to be one of the leader’s of minimalist style. Having launched her signature line in Milan in 1973, 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 colors, Sander’s collections have exuded sophistication and understated style. Sander is also known for her partnership with the popular high street brand Uniqlo, designing high-quality, affordable pieces in her signature minimalist aesthetic at affordable prices for a larger market.

Jil Sander Lace-Ups | ©Greg/FlickrJil Sander Lace-Ups | ©Greg/Flickr

Wolfgang Joop

Born in Potsdam in 1944, Wolfgang Joop began his fashion career in his early twenties as an fashion illustrator, journalist and freelance designer for several European fashion houses, before gaining international success in 1981 with the launch of his own label JOOP!, specializing in both men and women’s prêt-à-porter collections, as well as a range of fragrances. Although the brand still bears his name, Joop sold his shares in the company in 2001 in order to focus on his new haute-couture fashion label WUNDERKIND. Rejecting the trends of the fashion world, WUNDERKIND sets out to reflect the complexity of contemporary women’s fashion through collections which embrace both classic structure and an intimate sensuality.