“In Paris, you have an opulent mix of old chic and posh couture. Milan always calls for color, brightness and an overload of accessories. London still keeps its very distinct punk vibe and then there is Berlin,” says Julian Daynov, a fashion consultant and buyer who lives in the hip East End neighborhood of the German capital. “It is an eclectic hot mess, its style deeply rooted in the underground culture, a city that favors a very monochrome palette especially black and grey.”
Daynov, who previously lived in London and worked as a fashion buyer, is now a creative consultant for some of the biggest luxury retailers (Saks Fifth Avenue, the Dubai Mall, Harrods London, and Russia’s TZUM). As part of his job, which includes identifying innovative ways for customer interaction and store design, he travels the world (he’s taken over 250 flights just in the last year) visiting the latest retail hot spots and industry events such as Pitti Uomo in Florence and every major fashion week (including the one in Berlin, of course).
“I am a true fan of German design and am a bit clueless how still just a few people know about local design talent. I bet this will soon change, though, with Berlin turning into the New York of Europe.” And by that, he means that the German capital is a creative hub full of people with a penchant for unconventional fashion choices.
As far as local brands go, his list is pretty long.
“I really like the latest creations of GmbH, the effortless look of Lala Berlin, the refined class of ODEEH, the simplicity of Hien Le, the layers and rough finishes of Vladimir Karaleev, the incredible jewelry of Ina Beissner, the leather accessories of PB0110, the cutting-edge footwear of Aeyde, the rich and posh silhouettes of Dawid Tomaszewski.”
Naturally, we also had to ask him about the go-to retail spots in Berlin where every industry pro and fashionista has in her address book.
Stepping into this expansive industrial-like space with its high ceilings, whitewashed walls, and hardwood floors feels a bit like visiting a museum, and for very good reason. The store’s founder, Andreas Murkudis, worked as a director of Berlin’s Museum of Things for 15 years before he opened his first store in 2003 in the Mitte neighborhood.
His West Berlin boutique (“When it opened, the whole area was pretty much dead, but now it is the home of the city's most forward art galleries, design agencies and brand headquarters,” says Daynov), located in a former printing house, holds a curated selection of design, fine art, jewelry, fashion and beauty products of over 300 brands that all share a common thread—namely Murkudis’s belief in “clean aesthetics, quality, longevity and above all a personal attachment to each item.”
Potsdamer Strasse 81, 10785 Berlin
The Store X at SoHo House
Occupying the first two floors of Berlin’s SoHo House, this concept store “invites visitors to explore an innovative take on the retail experience, one that brings local and international creatives together in an ever-evolving conversation,” according to its website. While the store with its concrete walls, hardwood floors, and exposed AC units, has a rather industrial feel to it, it is also incredibly bright and airy thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows.
Daynov calls the store his “one-stop-shop” because it carries everything—from furniture pieces and art books to apparel from brands such as Off-White, J.W. Anderson, and Balenciaga. There is also a coffee shop and a restaurant on-site for when you need a break from shopping.
Torstrasse 1, 10119 Berlin
“The VOO store in Kreuzberg is probably the place most of Berlin's fashion-hungry visitors already consider a legitimate sightseeing-attraction,” says Daynov.
Located in the courtyard space of a former locksmith building, this concept store has a self-described “progressive approach to contemporary fashion.” Eschewing trends, the store carries timeless apparel pieces and accessories by the likes ACNE, Marni, Wood Wood, Jil Sander, and Raf Simons. And when you get a little tired from browsing through art magazines and décor items, grab a cup of coffee or even better, try Voo’s selection of teas sourced from the store’s own micro-farms.
Oranienstrasse 24, 10999 Berlin
If you are in the mood for some good old Prada or Fendi, head to Kaufhaus des Westens or KaDeWe as it is known, Berlin’s biggest (and Europe’s second-largest) and oldest luxury department store located in West Berlin.
Spanning more than 645,000 square feet over eight floors, KaDeWe is the German capital’s top retail destination that bore witness to some of the country’s most important historical events (during WWII an American plane crashed into its roof and the store lost the majority of its employees and customers after the Berlin Wall was erected in the 1960s).
Today you can find the latest ready-to-wear collections by world-renowned brands such as Balenciaga, Brunello Cucinelli, Burberry, and Dolce & Gabbana as well as beauty, accessories, and gourmet food.
Tauentzienstrasse 21–24, 10789 Berlin
Daynov calls jewelry designer Sabrina Dehoff “Berlin’s grande dame of accessories.” Her modern store, located on Mitte’s Auguststrasse, home to many art galleries, houses her latest designs crafted from gold and silver.
The Moschino and DKNY alumna founded in her brand in 2006 and it quickly became not just a favorite of Berlin’s most fashionable kids but it also attracted some international celebrity attention—Beyonce and Charlize Theron are known to have worn her pieces.
Auguststrasse 26A, 10115 Berlin