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Berlin: The capital of cool

For those wanting to fit a bit of shopping into their itinerary while at streetwear show Bread & Butter Berlin next week, WGSN points you towards the city’s hip denim stores, designer boutiques and department stores

Mitte/Hackescher Markt

Although the essence of cool has shifted to east Berlin, the area around Hackescher Markt is still known for its mix of little boutiques and big-name flagship stores.

14 oz, the denim store on Neue Schönhauser Strasse owned by Karl-Heinz Müller, founder of trade show Bread & Butter, carries brands such as Earnest Sewn, Atelier LaDurance, Levi’s, Wrangler, 7 For All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, Nudie Jeans and Kuyichi. Nearby on Münztrasse is the first Acne store outside Sweden, designed by architects Gonzalez Haase and housing a showroom, sales and storage rooms. Just off the Hackescher Markt you’ll find luxury denim retailer M-67 Michalsky Jeans Berlin run by designer Michael Michalsky, the man behind Adidas Y-3.

Another good store is Mavi Jeans’ standalone boutique on Neue Schönhauser Strasse. The brand was founded in Istanbul in 1991, and this store houses its full denim collection for women and men. The store features light wooden floors, white walls and wooden tables on which jeans are neatly stacked.

Standalones from mainstream denim brands Lee, Diesel, Gas Jeans, Hilfiger Denim, Pepe Jeans and Replay are all within walking distance, with the Diesel store on Neue Schönhauser Strasse in Mitte doubling up as an art gallery. Apart from offering the label’s menswear, womenswear, footwear and accessories, the shop is completely redecorated every three to five months by a different artist.

On the same street is Italian label Miss Sixty, while G-Star is also nearby on Oranienburger Strasse and carries the G-Star and G-Star Raw collections, as well as footwear.

Also in the area, on Rosenthaler Strasse, is mid-market denim label Carhartt, offering easy-to-wear pieces for men and women, while in the up-and-coming Mulackstrasse, cult French brand APC carries its classic menswear and womenswear alongside an entire wall of jeans.

If you’re after Nudie Jeans, then Jacuzzi in Rosenthaler Strasse is worth a visit. Apart from denim you’ll find a selection of womenswear and footwear.

Another gem is Herr & Frau Nitschke. Hidden away on Wühlischstrasse, it has a great choice of labels: Blue Blood, Evisu, Nudie Jeans and Pace from Sweden. Light wooden floors, partially exposed brick walls and chandeliers make for an interesting interior.

Walk a bit further to Kastanienallee for Extrafein, which stocks cult men’s and women’s labels such as Ann Hagen, Won Hundred, Surface to Air and Acne The interior is monochrome with only the occasional splash of colour. Apart from furniture and various magazines you can also get a very good espresso and sometimes even some cake.

On the same street, Pale Blue Eyes is a small shop specialising in Swedish fashion. Founded by three friends, the store was one of the first in the city to sell Cheap Monday jeans. Other brands include Nudie Jeans, Julian Red, Bobbie Burns, Resteröds, 2K by Gingham, A Bug Collection, Dr Denim and more.

Over in Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse is Burg & Schild. Creating an atmosphere of vintage Americana, it offers a range of old classics such as vintage Levi’s and new takes on jeans and workwear. The interior fits the Americana theme: wooden counters, a red brick wall, stone floors and a motorbike casually parked in the middle of the shopfloor. The store stocks classic US labels alongside Atelier LaDurance, Pace, Kottpoulsen, Denim is Everything, Johnson Motors, Resteröds and Rogues Gallery.

For a complete shopping experience head over to Alexanderplatz and visit the Alexa, a shopping centre with a cinema. It houses a good choice of standalone stores from denim labels including Mister*Lady, Hilfiger Denim, G-Star and Levi’s.

Something more unusual is Hundertmark. Originally from Hamburg, it sells authentic cowboy-style clothing. Apart from denim you can find Western outfits, stetson hats and boots by Sancho.

Mitte/Friedrichstrasse

Cross the river Spree and walk towards Friedrichstrasse to continue your shopping trip. Close to the Hotel du Rome and the Opera House is The Corner. This hip store stocks ready-to-wear, footwear, accessories, furniture, books and magazines. There is a breadth of labels ranging from Balenciaga to Viktor & Rolf, and you can also relax in the Corner Cafe.

After that, make your way to luxury French department store Galeries Lafayette and, just a few metres away, Quartier 206 is the design and lifestyle department store par excellence. An elegant, cosmopolitan world of shopping covering 27,000 sq ft across

two floors, it stocks denim brands including 18th Amendment, 7 For All Mankind, Dr Denim, Rock & Republic, True Religion, Chloé and Marc by Marc Jacobs.

Prenzlauer Berg/Friedrichshain

For more quirky stores and great vintage pieces head over to Prenzlauer Berg, or Prenzlberg as the locals call it.

Supamat on Kastanienallee offers a vast choice of denim and young fashion labels neatly stacked on its all-white shelves including Modström, Aaiko, Gsus, Gio-Goi, Fly53, Mazine, Pa:nuu and Björkvin, denim from Nudie Jeans, Japanese cult label Edwin (including the Red and Organic Selvage lines), plus fair trade label Kuyichi. Levi’s Red and Levi’s Engineered also stand out.

Meldestelle on Danziger Strasse houses a good selection of streetwear and denim labels including Lee, Meltin’Pot, Herrlicher and LTB, while Zartbitter offers Meltin’Pot, Nudie Jeans, Lee and Dr Denim.

Apart from denim, Orange’n Red is worth a visit merely for its location on Frankfurter Allee, which is famous for its Stalinist architecture. The small shop is crammed with jeans in a variety of styles and sizes. Labels include Levi’s, Wrangler, Mogul, Solid and Herrlicher.

West Berlin/Kurfürstendamm

West Berlin is made up of grand buildings in leafy streets, small cafes and designer shopping. Most shops are lined up on the Kurfürstendamm, a big street leading from the department stores close to Nollendorfplatz to the designer stores further down.

With an overall retail space of about 646,000 sq ft, the KaDeWe is one of the most important department stores in Europe. Set over eight floors, it offers a vast selection of luxury and mid-market labels, as well as footwear, cosmetics and furniture. The top floor has a great food hall and a cafe right under the roof, with huge glass windows providing impressive views over Berlin.

Right next to KaDeWe is Peek & Cloppenburg. Behind an impressive glass facade, it stocks menswear, womenswear and accessories. Head downstairs and you’ll find Miss Sixty, Diesel, Vero Moda, G-Star and Hugo Boss to name a few.

The Levi’s store is located further down the Kurfürstendamm, while a little further west is Zebraclub on Rankestrasse, which has a large selection of jeans from Carhartt, Lee, Nudie Jeans and Drykorn. There is also an entire wall of footwear.

Elsewhere

The Marc Cain factory outlet in Wedding offers the contemporary brand’s complete women’s ranges, including denim, reduced by up to 70%.

If you have a car, visit the B5 Designer Outlet. It has 40 shops carrying more than 100 brands and prices are reduced by up to 70%.

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