Germany faces a few stereotypes when it concerns fashion. Inside Berlin: all-black everything. Outside Berlin: socks and sandals.
Yet these stereotypes aren’t quite fair. Germany has spawned some huge designer brands and high street labels that are worn worldwide – people just don’t seem to realise the roots are aus Deutschland.
Sportswear as we know it today wouldn’t exist without Adidas. The Bavarian label was conceived in 1949 as the brainchild of Adolf Dassler. The purpose? To create world-leading performance shoes for Olympic athletes – the brand outfitted the all-conquering Jesse Owens in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and the all-conquering GB Team at Rio.
Today the label has taken to fashion just as effectively, with several diffusion lines (including the standout Originals collection) and collabs with industry big-hitters – Yohji Yamamoto, Rick Owens and Jeremy Scott to name but three.
Germany is by no means a hip-hop mecca (heard of Alligatoah’s album Triebwerke? Didn’t think so), but Beastin’s iteration of West Coast cool is gaining popularity.
Denim jackets, basketball jerseys and mesh shorts all nail sports luxe, though Beastin mixes it up with iconic branding and frequent collabs (Nike Sportswear, Cazal, Baracuta etc). Das ist dope, ja?
Think it’s just Scandinavian labels that do minimalism? Think again. Teutonic brands have long leaned towards everything clean and crisp; Closed is a case in point, with a collection that offers a multitude of quality blouson jackets and cashmere knits.
Granted, there’s a sizeable cost involved, but that’s the good thing about simple design – your investment never dates.
A Kind Of Guise
Imagine an American woodcutter ordering a flat white in the cafeteria of a Shoreditch design agency, and you’re pretty much at A Kind Of Guise.
This understated brand puts the emphasis on quality with well-made shirts, selvedge jeans and suede snapbacks. But the collection isn’t all standard fare. Subtle differences exist in the form of signet bracelets (as opposed to rings) and fleeces that use fabric from teddy bar compatriot brand Steiff.
Perfect for the hunter gatherer that doesn’t like to dirty his clothes.
Despite the namesake designer leaving her own label not once, but twice, Jil Sander still remains at the forefront of luxury apparel.
The brand is like a German Prada, producing seasonal collections with an emphasis on clean lines and Bauhaus-inspired colour. A solid choice if you want to up your wardrobe bragging rights.
Decent shades needn’t be all Dior and Linda Farrow. As a label solely dedicated to the pursuit of luxury optics, Mykita has produced a huge portfolio with every shape imaginable: aviators, round lenses, clubmasters, the lot.
The brand’s stores are also worth a visit, all glowing white walls that feel more like a gallery than a retail space. The perfect way to appreciate some of the brand’s more ‘artistic’ designs.
Boulezar proves once again that German basics are in a league of their own. Homegrown craftsmanship meets the finest international materials, with fabrics from Italy and Japan’s best mills worked into textured crosshatch polo shirts and 100 per cent cotton joggers.
It’s the kind of athleisure you could wear to dinner without annoying the maitre d’. Now if only German cuisine was as refined.