Our course trip – BA Fashion Communication students visit Berlin
Written and photographed by BA Fashion Communication and Production student, Amy Foster.
Berlin. A city living in the past and the future simultaneously. Every step a constant reminder of Berlin’s suffering. Yet it is this indescribable atmosphere of defiance interwoven with insecurity that allows Berlin to turn heads.
Wandering through the cobbled streets of Norwich, one might find a luxury fashion brand housed in an injured building, bleeding at the seams a little out-of-the-ordinary with its open bullet wounds and limbs missing. But in Berlin, this is beauty – and quite rightly so. Although the dark horrors of the past are still raw, the confidence and courage in preserving damage are what adds to the charming characteristics of the city.
Like any shopaholic, it doesn’t take much to be distracted by a passing shop window. But here, every single window, sign and door snatched the attention of an eager eye. Even before visiting Kurfürstendamm, (the heart of West Berlin during the Cold War and not too dissimilar to Champs-Elysées), labelled the star attraction for any shopaholic due to it’s blend of haute couture, high-street and department stores; spotting “fashion-conscious Berlin” wasn’t difficult with its intriguing and experimental window displays.
Think clashing colours, bright lights, brash window stickers and even flamingos. It was clear to see that Berlin was running 10 years ahead of the UK. Take Bikini Berlin, a concept mall composed of small, pop-up shops with a centre piece of modern sculpture and a large window overlooking the monkey enclosure at the Berlin Zoo; this store was almost fantastical.
However, it is not just about ‘continental Europe’s largest department store’ or concept mall. Instead, to fully appreciate the shopping experience Berlin has to offer; it involves exploring the traditional charms of the city with its bustling markets, quirky boutiques and quaint little cafés and tearooms.
The smell of freshly-made coffee is always welcome to escape the grey, damp drizzle and the sight inside is no exception – large industrial lights dangle from the ceiling on delicate pink wires providing the necessary ambience to make out walls covered in fashion photography.
Kate Moss and David Bowie eavesdropping on quiet conversation echoing from the rustic wooden tables decorated with a jar of brushed pink roses. Here, the emphasis on visual stimulus proves to be just as important as spending money, whether you’re eating or shopping, Berlin is ready to captivate and inspire the imagination.
"Think clashing colours, bright lights, brash window stickers and even flamingos."