Streetwear largely developed as a hybrid of 90s hip hop, sports and skate culture from New York, and its popularity is on the rise. As the name suggests, it’s a trend that consciously comes from the streets, primarily from urban youth culture and ignores conventional fashion trends, focusing on wearability and comfort. Today streetwear brands are heavily inspired by sportswear, and have been embraced by designers at all levels of affordability, including some of the world's biggest luxury fashion houses. Although the origins of the style may lie in previous decades in North America, Europe has a contemporary take on streetwear, that often plays on football nostalgia, skate culture and techwear. This has been prominently developed in Germany and Scandinavia, where brands such as Jil Sander, Acne Studios and Adidas have become frontrunners for dropping collections and collaborations that are seemingly streetwear inspired. Germany’s ever-trendy capital Berlin is a streetwear haven, with concept stores, sneakers shops and German and international brands all featuring aspects of the style. We seek out the best of the best when it comes to streetwear in Berlin.
If you’re looking for luxury German brands with an element of streetwear inspiration, minimalist Jil Sander and Jil Sander Navy are international favourites for women. Founded by Jil Sander, who was dubbed ‘the Queen of Less’ by Vanity Fair, the eponymous brand has been around for 50 years. For men, labels such as Acronym, A Kind of Guise and Kostas Murkudis offer a range of everyday pieces and less formal eveningwear; these feature hi-tech fabrics and dramatic silhouettes ‒ Acronym has also collaborated with Nikelab on footwear. For accessories, check out Berlin-based Mykita eyewear which has used next-level technologies to create sunglasses that are strong and lightweight without losing out on style, and Ucon Acrobatics for minimalist backpacks. As for footwear, Adidas and Puma are go-to labels. The German sporting brands were developed by rival brothers and have created some of the world’s most popular trainers. Their names have become synonymous with streetwear fashion, and the brands have collaborated with everyone from Raf Simons to Rihanna.
As well as local brands, Berlin offers some of the world’s biggest streetwear players. Swedish luxury streetwear pioneer Acne Studios has two stores in the city, as does French house APC, set at either end of Berlin. For streetwear with a humbler price tag, look to Scandi favourites Weekday, Ganni and & Other Stories, which offer a more feminine approach to women’s streetwear style. In addition, Burberry has two stores in the German capital. The British brand has entered a new era since longstanding chief creative officer Christopher Bailey released his final collection and Riccardo Tisci stepped in. Burberry has been known for its conservative designs and tartan plaid but has taken a new approach, one inspired by British youth culture and streetwear fashion, including a collaboration last year with Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy.
Berlin is home to many concept stores and boutiques that offer a wide array of designers and styles to suit all streetwear needs. With its dramatic white space, the Andreas Murkudis boutique almost resembles a gallery, yet instead of fine art you ponder the carefully curated selection of more than 300 up-and-coming and internationally recognised brands. The shop also has on-hand stylists who will offer advice on what to wear; in addition there’s a separate furniture store. VooStore is another must-visit. Its streetwear range is one of the best in the city, with the coolest of pieces from brands of all price ranges, from Prada to Converse. It also stocks the latest and most covetable collaborations. Look out for its transparent shopper bag designed by luxury streetwear king, Raf Simons.
Trainers are integral to streetwear style, and Berlin has many stores in which to find the latest releases. As well as the branded sports stores such as Adidas, Puma, Nike and skate hero Vans, the city also offers Shoe City and men’s concept stores Superconscious, Overkill and Civilist. Superconscious stocks the more affordable styles; Civilist features collaborations with Nike SB, Berlin’s cool skate park; Overkill, with its wall of sneakers, is renowned for offering limited-edition collaborations and for secret stock drops.
Given that streetwear is so integrated with sports styles it would be an oversight not to include stores with a sports background. As well as Adidas, Puma and Nike, you’ll also find Fred Perry in the heart of Mitte and outerwear giants Napapijri and The North Face. Practical sporting equipment as well as a range of hi-tech garments and accessories are offered by Foot Locker, Sportcheck and Sporthaus.