If you’re looking for conscious and ethical shopping, Munich has it all. The sustainability sector here is growing, with department stores hosting events to promote small labels, fairs introducing local brands, and organisations supporting homegrown businesses. Munich ceramicist Annika Schüler reveals her favourite local brands and where to buy them.
Annika Schüler is a ceramist in Munich with a passion for supporting local businesses. “I think it’s important to support small labels, shops and great ideas. It is more personal, passionate, authentic, fair, sustainable and simply much more satisfying,” she says.
“I’ve got to know some great labels over the years and I think it’s fantastic when people choose to shop less, but more carefully. In small shops, for example, with artisans, with designers, with lovingly run stores that offer deliberately selected products and not at huge chain stores.”
Here, Annika shares her favourites with Culture Trip – if you’re in Munich, these are the unique brands you have to keep an eye out for.
Schüler creates beautiful, modern ceramics, and from crockery and vases to soap dishes and jewellery, her work is delicate and eye-catching – the perfect gifts. “Ceramic handicraft is booming, as is artisanal work in general,” she says. “I started my business with a friend who’s a jewellery designer. Then she got a great offer in another shop, so I opened my workshop in Westend. Customers stayed, new ones came, and everything’s going really well. But being self-employed in the creative industry is no easy task. It takes perseverance, courage, passion and many, many hours of work.” She sells her products in half a dozen shops in the city, but it’s also possible to visit her workshop to see where the magic happens.
Love Kidswear was founded in 2015 by fashion designer and former Vivienne Westwood employee Franziska Bergmiller, for children between 0 and 14 years old. Clothing is made from sustainable materials, and all items are ethically made in Portugal. “When I need gifts for my nephews and nieces, I go to Franziska at Love Kidswear in Haidhausen,” says Annika. Items are playful, casual, colourful and impeccably stylish. Love Kidswear also has a gorgeous range of tableware, designed in collaboration with Schüler.
“At Truly Craft Chocolate, everything is thoughtfully, fairly and lovingly handmade,” Annika says. Davina Goldammer-Utz and her husband, Rony, run one of the city’s most popular ice cream shops, True & 12, where they started selling their handmade bean-to-bar chocolate late last year. There are only two ingredients in this exquisite chocolate – cacao beans and sugar. Pop into the shop to learn all about the small-batch chocolate production, where they get their beans from, and sample these treats for yourself.
ThokkThokk is an organic, minimalist fashion label that’s been around for more than a decade and now sells clothing throughout Europe. “Both my boyfriend and I wear their clothes, they’re fantastic!” Annika says. The head office is based in Munich, and there is a store in Baaderstrasse, in Munich’s hip Glockenbachviertel. Clothes are produced in India, where the organic cotton is also grown, and transparency plays a large role in the brand; the website shares details so you can find out all about their production locations.
This papeterie is a tiny treasure trove of beautiful stationery, selling handmade wrapping paper, cards and photo albums. All lovingly made, these pieces make wonderful gifts for loved ones or a charming souvenir of your trip to Munich. Head to the leafy Sendling side street, where the store is based, to see how the photo albums are made, how the paper is printed and to see just how much love founder Barbara Hagenlocher puts into her craft.
This Munich gin brand comes highly recommended. “Good gin, good people – a young team who are always busy. I’ve met them several times and love to drink their gin,” Annika says. The distillery is in the east of the city, around a 20-minute drive from the centre, and it’s a lovely day trip if you have the time – the tour is fun, and the distillers are friendly and welcoming (they also make Lion’s vodka, if you fancy sampling that, too). If you’re just after a bottle of locally made dry gin to take home, the Duke is now sold in most of the city’s supermarkets – a real coup for a small, young business.
Tragbar is a team of four local jewellers, who each design their own individual pieces, but work together to present their contemporary collections at their workshop and store in Munich’s meatpacking district. “One of the designers is Anne Gericke,” says Annika. “She makes high-quality jewellery and works for the city, in a team of experts for the cultural and creative industries. Because of this, I’ve often been in touch with her for various projects.”
Manufactum is a German retail store focused on goods made using traditional manufacturing methods and materials. Star product Beyer’s Oil fits this category – Bastian Beyer makes his traditional beard oil using all-natural and regional ingredients. The beeswax, for example, is from a hive close to Bavaria’s biggest lake, Chiemsee. “It’s a great product, and Bastian is a great guy,” says Annika. “He’s nice, relaxed and uncomplicated, but ambitious and hardworking. We’re currently in the process of creating a soap dish especially for his beard soap.”