Berlin: Fashion Destination. Plus, Where to Go When You’re There

Quick word association game:  Fashion.  What comes to mind?  A favorite trend? A specific designer?  A celebrity whose style you admire and try to emulate? Or maybe a city like New York or Paris where fashion is an essential component, driving life and energy through its cultural lungs?  All of these would be logical options and if the German government has anything to say about it, Berlin will be the next obvious answer.

Although Dusseldorf has long been the commercial hub of Germany, Berlin is the cultural capital of the country. Bursting with artists, journalists and musicians, fashion seems a logical platform for the city to demonstrate its unique, unexpected and forward-thinking young talent.  This was precisely the idea when the city government founded the official Mercedes Benz Berlin Fashion Week in 2007, which has since consistently grown to be the world’s fifth largest show with over 120,000 attendees for the 2012 Spring Summer show held this past July.

In addition to the more established brands showing on the official calendar,  Berlin’s talent is so deep and varied, additional events are held throughout the city during the same week, providing the necessary exposure and access to the brands international journalists and buyers are interested in.  For example Bread & Butter, the international trade fair for street and urban wear, and PREMIUM, a stage for exclusive collections of various labels, together accounted for incredible growth representing more than 1500 brands and seeing upwards of 100,000 visitors.

Premium market in Berlin

One of biggest draws for a government to create a sustainable and successful Fashion Week program is the revenue it can create for the community.  Mercedes Benz  Berlin Fashion Week alone brings in 119 million euros as calculated by the Investment Bank Berlin (IBB)  in addition to creating close to 700 jobs, 50% of which are permanent. For a country that bears the weight of being an economic pillar for the rest of the Eurozone (a role it shares with France) even while GDP posted close to zero in August, Chancellor Merkel has to be relying on each city pulling its weight by converting its talents into revenue.

Convinced?  Your next chance to check out the official Fashion Week wont be until July 2012, but you can start organizing your agenda with our top picks for the best places to dine, dance and debauch in this edgy German city:

Courtyard Kantine

Kantine, photo courtesy of T magazine

Featuring a menu of pan European dishes made from locally sourced ingredients such as sand pike and schweinebraten, chorizo and crispy, flavorful vegetables; restaurant owners Merin and Gary are cool, hip, twenty-somethings, popular with the art and fashion crowd alike.  Given Kantine’s insider status, we recommend you call ahead to get a reservation. Kantine, Joachimstrasse 11, Berlin

Afternoon Delight:  After a long day of shows, a glass of champagne and oysters can really hit the spot, especially before the many post parties that go on  into the early morning hours.  Head over to Fishtake Zu Copernick, Berlin’s premiere raw bar.

A Dining Experience:

Designed by Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel), its no wonder Schlosshotel is the choice destination for fashion editors, models and celebrities alike.  It also houses one of the best restaurants in the city, Vivaldi.   Having served as the meeting point of Berlin’s upper crust in days past, Vivaldi now draws a diverse crowd, all in search of a true dining experience featuring regional ingredients prepared in a modern, young and fresh approach. Brahmsstraße 10 D 14193 Berlin, Germany
T +49 (0)30 / 895 84 0

Dance the Night Away:

Cookies Berlin

What began as a weekly dance party held in a different location every week has now transformed into the best nightclub in Berlin. If you are lucky enough to get into Cookies on either Tuesday or Thursday night, you’ll be treated to a live performance from top national and international artists and DJ’s.  Cookies has a cult following with the cool crowed, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself writhing on the dance floor next to the blonde catwalkers you saw strut the runway earlier in the day.   For a complete schedule of upcoming artists, visit Cookie’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cookies-Berlin/35577668480

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