Berlin’s shopping landscape is a jumble of wildly diverse elements unified by a nod to innovation, individualism and experimentation. Mainstream and avant-garde shops live happily side-by-side, bringing character and variety to the city’s streets.
A bargain vintage store selling DDR kitsch can nestle comfortably among some of the city’s most expensive boutiques. Even with the influx of big-name international brands and the coming-of-age of the local 1990s avant-garde, Berlin’s progressives continue to hatch new schemes to keep things interesting, and the independent shopping scene remains lively and strong.
The Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) is, at over 100 years old, a Berlin institution. The largest department store in continental Europe, it stocks quite an impressive range of high end designers, and has recently tried to get rid of its stuffy image by bringing in upbeat, fun younger labels such as Alice+Olivia and London shoe brand Buffalo. The food floor at the top is still the main attraction, and the rooftop café with its glass roof is the best place in town for a post-shopping cappuccino.
KaDeWe, Tauentzien Straße 21-24, 10789 Berlin (030 21210, www.kadewe.com). U2, U1 Wittenberg Platz. Open 10am-8pm Mon-Sat; 1-6pm Sun.
Voo may be discretely hidden in a courtyard off Kreuzberg’s busy Oranienstraße, but this concept store is fast becoming a fashion landmark for those in the know. The expansive space, with its scratched walls and bold lighting may be typical of Berlin derelict chic, but the eclectic designers whose clothes they stock are wide-ranging in nationality, from Scandinavian brands Uniforms for the Dedicated and Cheap Monday, to the Parisian label Surface to Air, Australian label Something Else and Berlin locals Don’t Shoot the Messengers.
Voo, Oranienstraße 24, 10999 Berlin (030 61651119, www.blog.vooberlin.com). U1, U8 Kottbusser Tor. Open 11am-8pm Mon-Thur; 11am-9pm Fri, Sat.
Mimicry of the London area name ‘Soho’ can be read as an indication of how hip this area (South of Torstraße) has become. Menswear boutiques in Berlin are few and far between, so the guys behind creative collective Made and online magazine High Snobiety decided to fill the gap in the market. Soto brings together an impressive range of brands, hard to find elsewhere in Berlin, such as Band of Outsiders, Norse Projects and Our Legacy. The shop opened in April 2010 and continues to expand its range of brands, so it’s worth regular visits.
Soto, Torstraße 72, 10119 Berin (030 25762070, www.sotostore.com). U2 Rosa-Luxemburg Platz. Open 12noon-8pm Mon-Fri; 11am-8pm Sat.
Few people in Berlin are as well-versed in retail as Karl-Heinz Müller, the man behind Berlin’s bi-annual tradeshow Bread & Butter, which has grown to become the biggest of its kind in the world. He brought his multi-brand store 14 oz., which originally opened in Cologne, to Berlin in 2008. Shoes are important fixtures in any fashion directory, but denim reigns supreme here, with jeans brands 45 R.P.M., Nudie, Edwin and even the classics Levis and Lee lined up against each other.
14 oz., Neue Schönhauser Straße 13,
10178 Berlin (030 280 40514, www.14oz-berlin.com). U8 Weinmeister Straße. Open 11am-8pm Mon-Sat.
Happy Shop opened with a blaze of green neon lights in early summer 2011, as Berliners shed their sombre black attire. Inside, florid chiffon print dresses and striped t-shirts hang on rails suspended from the ceiling while frayed leather handbags and canvas totes are pinned to the walls with large colourful buttons. If you can handle the overwhelmingly bright colours, you’ll be rewarded with the discovery of great hand-picked pieces by eclectic brands such as Meadham Kirchhoff, Bernhard Willhelm and Hannes Roether.
Happy Shop, Torstraße 67, 10119 Berlin (030 2900 9502, www.happyshop-berlin.com). U2 Rosa-Luxemburg Platz. Open 10am-7pm Mon-Sat.
Leyla Piedayesh, the darling of the Berlin Fashion scene, started producing knitwear and scarves many moons ago and has developed her brand over the years to include covetable women’s wear – from mix-match separates, tailored blazers and silky mannish trousers to printed kaftans. The Lala Berlin store is like the brand: feminine and bright without being twee.
Lala Berlin, Mulackstraße 7, 10119 Berlin (030 6579 5466, www.lalaberlin.com). U8 Weinmeister Straße. Open 12noon-8pm Mon-Fri; 12noon-6pm Sat.
Galeries Lafayette, aptly located on the corner of Französische Straße (French street) brings a sense of Parisian chic to central Berlin. With its bright glass structure, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, it is a lot more modern than its Parisian counterpart. Fashion-wise it caters across the board, with more sophisticated labels such as Ferragamo and Agnes B. for West Berlin mothers, wacky London brand Zadig and Voltaire and Juicy Couture for teenagers and some lovely silk Edsor Kronen ties for Dad.
Galeries Lafayette, Friedrichstraße 76-78, 10117 Berlin (030 209480, www.galerieslafayette.de). U6 Französische Straße. Open 10am-8pm Mon-Sat.
Departmentstore Quartier 206 CABINET
The highlight of Galeries Lafayette is to be found in its basement. Department Store CABINET set up shop in 2009 in the marbled underground floor and is luxuriously decorated, with ornate mirrors, paintings, elaborate wallpaper and even the odd stuffed bird. Alongside now established brands such as Isabel Marant and ACNE, you’ll find more offbeat items by lesser-known names, such as photo-print swimwear from We Are Handsome and florid jeans by Current/Elliott.
Departmentstore Quartier 206 CABINET, Friedrichstraße 71, 10117 Berlin (030 2094 6800, www.cabinet206.com). U6 Französische Straße. Open 11am-8pm Mon-Fri; 10am-6pm Sat.
Darklands is the perfect antidote to Happy Shop as you will not find one glimmer of colour here. This menswear boutique uprooted from Hackescher Markt and now inhabits an old gallery on the borders of Wedding. It stocks clothing by leaders in German avant-garde design, Damir Doma and Boris Bidjan Saberi, whose garments are often disappointingly hard to find in the capital, as well as more widely-known designers Ann Demeulemeester and Rick Owens.
Darklands, Heidestraße 50, 10557 Berlin (www.darklandsberlin.com). S-bahn Hauptbahnhof. Open 12noon-7pm Mon-Sat.
The Copenhagen label Wood Wood has successfully lifted their relaxed urban wear into the realms of high fashion and their petite concept store provides the accessories for a lifestyle to match – musky Commes des Garcons scents, conceptual headphones and eye-catching make-up. Pulled into the mix of brands available are fellow eclectics Danes-Stine Goya and Henrik Vibskov.
Wood Wood, Rochstraße 4, 10178 Berlin (030 2804 7877, www.woodwood.de). U8 Weinmeister Straße. Open 12noon-8pm Mon-Sat.
Apartment takes minimalism to the extreme; the entire ground floor of the store is a white, empty space. The fact that the underground lair – accessible only by a discrete spiral staircase – is always busy is testament to the power of word of mouth. It is full of items that are wardrobe staples for the style-conscious Mitte set in Berlin – Cheap Monday skinny jeans, graphic print T-shirts and Rick Owens leather jackets.
Apartment, Memhard Straße 8, 10178 Berlin (030 2804 2251, www.apartmentberlin.de). S-bahn, U2, U5, U8 Alexanderplatz. Open 11am-7pm Mon-Fri; 12noon-7pm Sat.
Stickabush, or Stab for short, is the stuff of sneaker fans’ dreams; latest editions from Nike, Adidas and Clae are lined up against vintage treasures. The interior is unfussy and lets the shoes, which are laid out on asymmetric blocks, do the talking. On the periphery you can find Edwin Jeans, Stüssy T-shirts and hoodies, and in the winter, snug Penfield jackets and beanies.
Stickabush, Gipsstraße 23, 10119 Berlin (030 2021 5445, www.stickabush.com). U8 Weinmeister Straße. Open 12noon-8pm Mon-Fri; 11am-7pm Sat.
The Berlin-based glasses label has long been a mainstay for all fashion conscious locals, but the brand has hit the big time in recent years and some of their more experimental frames have been picked up by the likes of Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas. The slick Hackescher Markt store recently underwent a revamp, and now perfectly showcases their extensive range of eyewear. A new collaboration with Uslu Airlines gives you the opportunity to match your nail varnish to your Mykita aviator sunglasses.
Mykita, Rosa-Luxemburg Straße 6, 10178 (030 6730 8715, www.mykita.com). U2, U5, U8, S-bahn Alexanderplatz. Open 11am-8pm Mon-Fri; Sat 12noon-6pm.
The Murkudis brothers are a design duo with the Midas touch. When Andreas Murkudis opened his cavernous new concept store in a quiet Schöneberg courtyard during Berlin Fashion Week in July 2011, there were whispers in the fashion crowd that his decision to set up shop here could help transform the sleepy neighbourhood into a shopping hotspot. The interior is white, stark and immense, with neon strip lighting. Clothes (by brother Kostas Murkudis, Dries van Noten and Maison Martin Margiela to name but a few) are immaculately displayed amongst items of contemporary furniture, porcelain and homeware by brands such as Nymphenburg.
Andreas Murkudis, Potsdamer Straße 77-87, Haus E, 10785 Berlin (030 3088 1945, www.andreasmurkudis.com). U2, S-bahn Potsdamer Platz. Open 12noon-8pm Mon-Sat.
Konk owner Ettina Berríos-Negrón has her finger firmly on the pulse of Berlin trends and the emerging talents that help shape them. Her Mitte store is the place to check out young German labels such as Franzius, C.neeon and Penkov.
Konk, Kleine Hamburger Straße 15, 10117 Berlin (030 2809 7839, www.konk-berlin.de). U8 Rosenthaler Platz. Open 12noon-8pm Mon-Fri; 12pm-6pm Sat.
Alexandra Fischer-Roehler and Johanna Kühl may be young, but their label is already a household name in the German capital. They have garnered international praise for their tough, rock chick leather accessories, flattering prêt-a-porter and beautiful bridal range. All three lines are under one roof in their flagship Berlin store, which was designed by architect Amir Abadi to include a silver tree structure on which hang the bridal gowns.
Kaviar Gauche, Linienstraße 44, 10119 Berlin (030 2887 3560, www.kaviargauche.com). U2 Rosa-Luxemburg Platz. Open 12noon-7pm Mon-Sat.
Look out for Sabrina Dehoff’s trademark woven cord and gold bracelets on the wrists of Berlin ladies with polish. As well as bangles, bracelets, necklaces and rings in a plethora of colours, Dehoff has now expanded her brand to include printed silk scarves and dresses, all of which are available in her diminutive but sophisticated boutique.
Sabrina Dehoff, Torstraße 175, 10115 Berlin (030 322970541, www.sabrinadehoff.com). U8 Rosenthaler Platz. Open 12noon-7pm Mon-Fri; 12pm-6pm Sat.
Typical of a new breed of menswear stores in Kreuzberg, akeef prides itself on heritage denim and clothing. Specialising in premium Japanese denim, it also carries cult brands such as Edwin, Norse Projects, Folk, YMC, Velour, Nudie and Pointer.
akeef, Wienerstrasse 18, 10999 Berlin (030 6290 1475, www.akeef.net). U1 Gorlitzer Bahnhof. Open 12noon-8pm Mon-Fri; 11am-6pm Sat.
Wunderkind is the brainchild of one of Berlin’s most colourful fashion characters, Wolfgang Joop. Joop sold his original fashion label, and with it his name in 1998, but you can’t keep a good designer down, and a year later he returned with a bang by founding Wunderkind, which is full of wondrous, vibrant designs and beautiful form-challenging cuts.
Wunderkind Vintage, Tucholsky Straße 36, 10117 Berlin (030 2804 1817, www.wunderkind.de). S-bahn, U6 Oranienburger Tor. Open 11am-7pm Mon-Sat.
Overkill started as a magazine celebrating the world of street art and culture before its owners decided to open a clothes store in Kreuzberg in 2003. The reflective prisms in Overkill’s window display footwear worn by the city’s sneaker connoisseurs, thanks to their regular imports of editions from brands such as Nike, New Balance and Adidas. Head inside to investigate the graphic print hoodies and T-shirts for girls and boys, as well as a selection of own-label wares.
Overkill, Köpenicker Straße 195a, 10997 Berlin (030 6950 6126, www.overkillshop.com). U1 Schlesisches Tor. Open 11am-8pm Mon-Sat.
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