Hamburg’s Young and Wild Fashion Scene

The band members of Depeche Mode do it, and even US star Lady Gaga has been seen doing it: they wear fashion made in Hamburg. While designers such as Wolfgang Joop, Karl Lagerfeld or Jil Sander have been the big names of Hamburg’s fashion scene over the past decades, it is now the “young wild ones” who are the talk of the town and are undermining Northern Germany’s traditional image – for this emerging generation of designers is anything but modest and reserved.

Raised in Flensburg in Northern Germany, Bent Angelo Jensen is a designer who has established himself in the fashion world. Bent opened his first studio in Hamburg’s Karolinenviertel in 1996. With his label, Herr von Eden, he put the three-piece suit back into fashion: renowned Hamburg artists such as Jan Delay and Bela B., but also international big names such as Depeche Mode can be seen wearing Bent’s classic three-piece suits. With their original cut, extravagant designs and bold colours, the suits created by Bent are anything but dull. His design language fully incorporates the concept of the dandy: elegant and casual, traditional and provocative – in short: the perfect attire for extrovert gentlemen.

Who needs a women’s quota?

Female designers play a major role in Hamburg’s fashion scene. Would you like a few examples? Bitten Stetter combines avant-garde with streetwear, silk with tracksuit bottoms, large prints with loud colours – daring mixtures. Kathrin Musswessels is yet another designer pursuing her very own style: in her St Pauli studio she creates classic, casual fashion for women and is particularly renowned for her jumpsuits. South of the River Elbe, Maja Daphne Holzborn has set up her own studio in the district of Wilhelmsburg: at the “Weltgewerbehof” warehouse she designs fashion inspired by the middle ages and alchemy. Autodidact Sarah Beutling is one of the creative leaders behind the Pop-up Shop, showroom and studio at Kleine Freiheit No. 1, where you can try on hip streetwear garments from her Label XXII.

Majoring in fashion design

There is a good reason behind the success of Hamburg’s young fashion designers: the city is home to one university and two academies that provide training for up-and-coming designers. Thus, for instance, Annalena Skörl Maul (label: Skörl) and Christine Krüger (label: Polynoir) both graduated from the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. Both Annalena and Christine have made needlework popular again, and both create their own knitwear – one for rap artists, and one for elegant ladies. Designer Maya Ullrich is an alumnus of the JAK Academy for Fashion Design, and upon her graduation she worked for Gucci and later founded her own label, Die schöne Lachsin. The “AMD Akademie Mode & Design”, another Hamburg-based fashion academy, hosts an annual show, where graduates present their final projects. And it was actually at one of these grand shows that Lady Gaga noticed two young aspiring Hamburg designers. The US singer had several pieces from their collections sent to New York, and it wasn’t long until she was spotted in fashion made in Hamburg – one piece being a sweeping black skirt with mystical floral elements.

Do it yourself!

But not all creators of fashion are trained designers, and Hamburg’s Do-It-Yourself scene is flourishing. Creative minds join forces and establish co-working spaces, providing creative freedom for all of Hamburg’s residents. The Stoffdeck in Wilhelmsburg, for instance, is a real hub of creativity. On 263 light-flooded square metres, amateur designers can rent workspaces on an hourly, daily or monthly basis. Participants are supplied with everything they need, from expert advice to professional sewing machines. The Stoffdeck’s workshop programme, which is mostly orchestrated by local designers, is also very popular. Julia Sperle is among those Hamburg designers offering courses here. Julia runs her own label and has designed and produced extravagant, loud stage costumes for the German band Deichkind.

Look @ my fashion blog

Wherever there are people creating fashion, there are of course also people writing about it, and many of Germany’s fashion bloggers are based in Hamburg.  One of these authors is Fabian Hart – a name that makes you think of testosterone, arm wrestling and cool glances. Fabian is one of the few men in Germany who practice fashion blogging as their primary profession. He shares his office in the Neustadt with fellow blogger Anna Wegelin, who runs the design blog Lachsbrötchen. Another website well worth visiting is Fashionjunk, which could best be described as a digital coffee table book for street photography from Hamburg. Inspired by fashion snapshots on Instagram, journalist Katharina Charpian shares her thoughts on fashion in her online magazine I love Ponys. Anna Frost’s blog Fashionpuppe demonstrates what new collections look like when worn by the “girl next door”. Finally, Vicky Wanka keeps an authentic online style diary with her Vickys Mode Blog.

Hamburg is a city of fashion, and Hamburg’s streets are the city’s catwalk – especially in the hip quarters of town, such as the Schanzenviertel. So why not sit back with a cup of Portuguese coffee in one of the corner cafés at Schulterblatt and keep an eye on people passing by: on a sunny day, the Schulterblatt promenade transforms into one big catwalk.

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