Author Boyd Farrow Photography Zoe Noble
When it comes to fashion, Berlin has become shorthand for en vogue. So to find out how to properly dress when visiting the German capital, we talked to Daniel Werner, the celebrated manager of East Berlin’s 14oz, one of the most well-curated clothing stores on the planet.
What should visitors wear to blend in?
Berlin may technically be one city now but the difference between east and west is unbelievable. If you want to look like you belong in East Berlin, stick to black and gray: sleeveless T-shirts, skinny jeans, Ray-Bans and beanie hats and cotton tote bags. You can’t go wrong with that. Oh, and you need to have lots of artistic tattoos, all down your arms. It is the signifier that you belong. In West Berlin, it is much more conservative, much preppier, all button-down shirts, chinos and pullover sweaters, brighter colors. When I come out of the train station on Kurfürstendamm to visit our second store, a three-stop journey from our store on Neue Schönhauser, it’s like arriving in another country. I honestly do a double-take.
Berliners seem to really love vintage.
Well, because all Berliners have grown up learning about sustainability, there is a huge appreciation of quality items that have lasted a long time or are expected to last. Vintage is big here. Heritage brands are very fashionable, American heritage brands particularly, and anything made in Japan.
Do you consider Berlin a great shopping city?
Actually, a lot of people are now coming to Berlin just to shop, because a lot of international designers have moved here. But for the people who live here, buying clothes is not such a big deal like it is in New York, London or Paris. There are a lot of cool boutiques in the Mitte, but their opening times are erratic because the owners are more interested in partying than making money. It is a great city for wearing clothes though—no one judges you here by what you wear. There are few dress codes in bars like in other cities. You can mix everything up and no one will care.
So talk us through what you’re wearing now.
Today it’s a total mix-up. I’m wearing Buttero sneakers, made in Italy, Denham Upgrade jeans, a Dukes belt, a T-shirt by Levi’s “1930s Collection” under a cotton jacket by Deus Ex Machina, vintage handkerchief and Stetson hat. The handkerchief is from Berlin and made by a friend whose brand is called 14/03. He invented this round two-sided pocket square.