Berlin continues to forge a fashionable future, with a wave of innovative talent entering Germany’s capital to find inspiration. Many of the industry’s most exciting designers are now calling Berlin home, choosing it over typical fashion hotspots like Paris, Milan, or London. Below are some of Berlin’s brightest.
Serbian-born, Berlin-based Sasa Kovacevic kicked up a fashion frenzy during the last Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin. The designer runs SADAK, an independent fashion brand whose message, ‘pride in individuality,’ becomes clear through the ethic elements in its pieces. His collection on the Mercedes-Benz runway was an ensemble of silky burkas with pastel Hawaiian prints, topped with androgynous Spice Girl edge. His designs have made it to Hollywood, making an appearance in the hit series The Hunger Games.
Pep Trapiello is a Berlin-based designer creating beautiful non-gendered and eco-friendly pieces inspired by 70s glam. The designer is taking a stand against gender norms and the mechanisms of fast fashion, which he sees as a threat to both the environment and authentic self-expression. His fair but fabulous designs and fabrics are all either sourced from secondhand markets or are 100% biodegradable, and the entire production chain for his clothing begins and ends in Berlin. Not resonating with the all-black style typical of Berlin fashion and culture, Pep is inspired by the opposite. He loves richer and more decadent textures with less roughness and more glam. The results are luxuriously minimalistic clothes and a design approach that makes Pep stick out from the masses.
Jade Helene Shimmin
South African-born designer Jade Helene Shimmin is the owner of a boutique shop in Mitte, called Level Eight. The young designer takes inspiration from her surroundings and the people around her. She loves Berlin for its moody, creative, edgy quality. She makes two major collections a year, though depending on her fashion show schedule she may put out small collections throughout the year containing six pieces maximum. Jade moved to Berlin in 2014 and was swept off her feet by the freedom and liberal attitude of the city she now calls home. Her shop mostly contains all-black minimalist cuts. Her aesthetic is slowly changing, with additions of color and grey tones becoming more frequent in her collections.
Bobby Kolade, inspired by his roots in West Africa, creates irresistible colorful pieces. Certain elements of his clothing are drawn from a specific place, whether from his native country or the office. Happy Shop in Berlin, the headquarters of the Berlin-based label, displays an extraordinary interaction of textures and excellently-tailored trouser suits and coats. Bobby Kolade is another designer committed to reducing environmental impact and he makes careful choices about fabrics, sources, and production.
Leyla Piedayesh is the designer behind the beloved brand lala Berlin, which is an enormous success worldwide. Originally from Iran, her designs are known and sought for the effortless, cool, and stylishly laid-back quality they bring to her collections. Her collections can be found in over 250 boutiques worldwide.
Franziska Michael is a new name to keep close watch on in Berlin. Diving into the world of 90s fashion, she resurfaces with beautifully-mixed materials and bulky cuts to create fresh, unisex looks. The lines between what traditionally belong to men’s and women’s clothing are blurred; straight, solid, geometric cuts collide and contrast with soft, flowing, feminine silhouettes. Franziska Michael launched her brand in 2009, and she has since won the 2013 “Premium Young Designers Award for Women’s Wear” for her distinct work.