Berlin, A Club Of Undying Fashion Sub-Cultures
Whilst in the subway I overheard two californian girls speak (the absolute advantage of being bilingual) and one of the statements made by one of the girls struck a chord in me. One that made me come close to genuinely laughing aloud in the subway car right then and there (to the scared looks of the rest of the passengers of course.)
It was the statement “The great thing about Berlin is, everyone's fashionable, cause nobody really gives a damn”
The reason I had found this statement so funny was because how profoundly true it is. When somebody shows up resembling close to what's basically a BDSM gimp suit, barely anyone bats an eyelash sans the odd mother/grandmother or two. The fashion in Berlin is a highlight for anyone who is into what I dub the “safari game.” It quite literally is like a safari, just take a note of anyone around you, really look at what they're wearing, not to judge them, but to really just see what I'm talking about. The other day I genuinely saw a guy wear six different belts on his pants, I thought it looked freaking amazing! The great thing about it is you get amazing bursts of inspiration. The even greater thing however is these bursts are not only welcomed, but even catered to. In Berlin alone there is a plethora of style based fashion geared to those markets. It's something about Berlin's undying alternative culture that makes this happen, no one style truly dies out in a place, you've got it all, the punks, the hipsters, the gothic queens, the J-Alt fans (a type of Japanese culture fandom)
Which goes to show something magical about Berlin as a whole. It matters little what district you're in, you're bound to find something of everything. Which is an interesting phenomenon when you think about how many styles and fashions go out of favor and come back. It's safe to say styles don't really die out in Berlin, they only become less prevalent whilst simultaneously seeing a roller coaster like rise and fall in frequency. Take punk for example, it's safe to say Punk give or take started in the 70's correct? During the 90's Punk was practically dead, with the grunge wave figuratively mutilating anything that wasn't angst ridden and filled to the brim with flannel, but punks were just as prevalent during the 90's in Berlin and Germany as a whole. With two punk bands gaining meteoric traction during the 80's-90's period (Die Aerzte, and Die Toten Hosen) it goes to show that cultures come here to live in solace until they are once again called upon by the mainstream to be revitalized and be fashionable for whatever arbitrary amount of time, before being flung aside like some used dish rag.
It's safe to say that whatever your taste in fashion, style, or both, there will be people who will accommodate your tastes. It's what's ostensibly remarkable about Berlin, this sort of undying love for any sub-culture out there. Nobody is truly an outsider here remarkably. It all fits in a very weird, ragged, puzzle that somehow ends up bringing more positives to the table instead of negatives.
By Florian Schmidt
If you're into more observations of Berlin, why don't you follow me on twitter; @teabagtroopers