The streetwear scene in Berlin be..
Recently we went over to Berlin to document the culture and streetwear scene there. Following on from my last article that looked at Berlin’s romance with graffiti, this time round I’m giving you my two cents (sorry) on places to shop and hit up when in Berlin.
Civilist is an independent skate store situated just outside Mitte. The store itself split into two (one for clothing, one for hardware), creating two aesthetically pleasing spaces. Although the clothing store itself is very bare (think back to the stores in Copenhagen we explored), dotted around the space are strange/weird/funny memorabilia; my favourite being the Hilary Clinton sex toy or ‘adult’ skateboard. We had to queue for a bit to get in, as the new Palace x Adidas collection had dropped (Civilist is one of few stockists of Palace outside the UK). The queue itself looked not too dissimilar to that we see in London, just on a smaller scale.
The clothes stocked were a variety of skate brands such as Bronze and Nike SB, and more minimalist brands such as Norse Projects. Civilist also have their own brand that’s definitely worth checking out whilst you’re there too.
Next door they had a really cool interior design, taking inspiration from Skate parks (I assume anyways, my knowledge of skating doesn’t extend much further than Skate 3 and work pants).
All in all, I’d say Civilist is definitely worth hitting up if you’re looking for grab some hardware, new clothes or just for a general chat. The guys in store are super friendly, something that, if you’re not from London, you might not be used to.
Now this store was unusual; when i first walked in, it took me a while to realise it was an Adidas concept store (of sorts). Reason why? Well, aside from a couple ultra boost, there wasn’t any stripes in sight. The clothing stocked in here is catered more towards the tech/high end fans of the brand, with original lines such as ‘Day One’ and ‘White Mountaineering’ to the more distinguished Y-3 and Adidas x Raf Simons. Visually, the store was by far my favourite of all the stores we visited in Berlin; I guess I’m just a sucker for high ceilings, monochrome colour ways and minimalism.
So the store itself is not ACTUALLY part of Adidas, it’s run independently of Adi, by a PR agency I can’t remember the name of. Whatever the arrangement was and whoever it was between however, it was clearly working. Imagine if Adidas got stocked in DSM; this is what it’d look like.
If you’re into the likes of Acronym, Y-3 and DRKSHDW, you’d definitely enjoy this store. A definite must visit, even if you’re not so keen on the Gothic-Ninja look. Shout out to Lotte and the team for showing mad love for The Basement.
SOTO potentially has the most eclectic mix of clothing i’ve seen in one store (excluding department stores). Alongside the Yeezy Season 3 collection, there were AM96 2s and Spiridons. It was as if the store was a reflection of a specific taste, than one ‘general taste’, and I really liked it.
The kicks included BWs, Sock Darts and AF1 – essentially, the best of what was on offer from Nike at the moment; they hit the nail on the head with the model selections. Clothing brands stocked included Kitsune, Sex and Acne Studios. A mix of streetwear, high end and whatever you’d class Kanye’s €2,000 coats as. My favourite pieces included the Yeezy season sherpa, the Spiridons, Kitsune Polos and Sex long sleeves.
If you’re looking for a real mix of styles, the only place to head to is SOTO. Next time you’re in Berlin, check them out.
This one’s for Louis, Lew and Archie. Acronym, Visvim and Stone Island. Potentially one of the strongest collections of brands on offer in Berlin, Firmament makes you wish you weren’t so broke. With price tags in excess €1,500, it’s not the best place to shop on a budget, but definitely worth going just to see and smell (Kuumba on lock all day).
They also stock a lot of Japanese magazines that are hard to find outside of Japan (Popeye and Sense to name a couple). You can also flick through the Bape magazine to see the latest collections (this issue featured their latest collection with rapper Big Sean).
At the back of the shop past the cute little Bonsai tree is a rail of clothing from brands such as Bianca Chiandon, Stüssy and Fragment. What I found was miscellaneous pieces from the latest collections; nothing in my size though (XXL boys). Also worthy of a mention is the Ted Burton x Black Scale collaboration. In my eyes, a very unlikely match up. Yet somehow, the collection banged.
This is the best second hand store I’ve ever been to (side note, I haven’t been to NY, LA or Tokyo). Also takes the crown for the least organised. They literally hung/stuffed/crammed items wherever there was free space; no organising by size or brand, just a beautiful mess. In order to tackle Paul’s boutique, you need patience, 20/20 vision and more patience. You’ll need to trawl through a lot of ‘stuff’ before you find anything worth buying.
The shop is split into three sections; outdoors, the weird side and the side with the heat. Initially, I didn’t see the side with the heat. If you were to look at the store straight on, it’s the side on the left. Once you enter, you’ll be confronted with two choices; waste your time looking at the clothes, or go to ‘The Room’. The Room is my mothers worse nightmare; thousand and thousands of trainers crammed into pigeon holes with no regard for organisation what so ever. I was a bit overwhelmed at first, and not quite sure where to look.
After I regained my composure, I went to it. Baaaaare dead kicks. Like, ‘sale rack after a month’ dead. However, I did find something. 15 minutes in, on one of the bottom shelves, was a pair of Mercurial Magista Flyknits, in a 10.5. LORD A MERCAAAY. I was so gassed. It was only after i copped them for €60 I realised they were still brand new. Even madder, I was so gassed.
Don’t get me wrong, the other side of the store is cool too, just not my taste in clothes. However, the decor was amazing. There were thousands of action figures, memorabilia, and toys perched around the store. It was crazy. Definitely worth going just to the see that aspect alone.
When it comes to sneakers in Germany, you only really ever hear one name: Overkill. That’s because they’re the best at what they do. They are home to some of the most exclusive trainers to reach Germany, and there’s reason for that. Still an independent company all these years later, the feeling of genuine love for streetwear is evident in both the guys that work behind the scenes, and curation of the stores.
One thing I didn’t know about Overkill before I went to the store, was its origins. It originally started as a graffiti store, selling anything you’d need to deface properties. Obviously theres a natural connection between streetwear and graffiti (if you’ve got time, check my last article about Berlin’s graffiti scene). So when Overkill transitioned into selling more and more trainers, it wasn’t forced. It was natural move to do so.
There are two floors to Overkill, and two shops. The downstairs of the men’s store is where the spray paint and trainers are sold; upstairs, brands like Stone Island and Nike are stocked, in what appears to be a renovated house. It was actually really cool, and almost had a homely feel to the shop itself.
Next door is the women’s shop. Normally, from my experience, female sections of trainer stores tend to lack in terms of decent kicks. But not Overkill. I’m sure I saw more women’s kicks than men’s that I wanted. The layout and interior was cool too, with high white walls laden in trainers and decoration. Overall I was really impressed with the Overkill stores – a must-visit on any sneaker head’s list if ever in Berlin.
Words by Tayler Prince-Fraser
Edited by Daniel Hawksworth
Images by Alex Williams