German Fashion and design
The high fashion and design German concept refers to designers on the international catwalks and stage. For many decades now Karl Lagerfeld, the born in Hamburg creative genius, has been the creative mind behind the French haute couture house Chanel, whereas Wolfgang Joop, nowadays enjoying once again success with his Wunderkind Couture label after the much acclaimed former JOOP label, have been global players. From the younger generation come along Stephan Schneider, Bernhard Willhelm, Markus Lupfer and Daniela and Annette Felder who are making a statement in the world’s fashion capitals Paris, London, New York or Antwerpen.
It’s all about glamour
Within the German space Berlin has emerged as an important place where the fashion and design scene sets the trends: twice a year the creme de la creme of fashion meets at the Berlin Fashion Week and at the street wear trade fair Bread & Butter, with about 700 labels putting up rife competition for other European fashion capitals such as London and Paris. German fashion designers play with the identities and traditions and after the reunification they have developed a strong, independent and very self-confident style – from elegant and purist to colorful, from fresh and wacky to poetic designs. In everyday life nevertheless Germans prefer to focus on more practical tones, a palette from functional business to casual sportswear with labels like Hugo Boss and Strenesse by Gabriele Strehle. Even though headquartered in the Southern part of the country, these two labels have long been well established on the international scene, even before the revival of Berlin as fashion citadel. The German Fashion Association evaluates that Germany is the world’s second largest exporter of fashion, but in fact many companies, such as Cinque, Oui, Marc Cain, René Lezard and Windsor are quite often not seen as German brands.
Design and architecture
As for design, the German product design has a well-known reputation for innovating with some carefully conceived, bold functional products. Made in Germany design translates into Bulthaup kitchens or into Braun razors and is highly valued on the international arena. Companies such as furniture manufacturers Vitra and Wilkhahn lead the trend in terms of style. So does Lamy for writing accessories and Erco for the luminaries. The Bauhaus movement in the 1920s and the Ulm University in the 1950s have had a huge impact on how architecture and design are seen today, a new generation having made a name for itself nevertheless – Konstantin Grcic, for example, the newcomers from “Studio Vertijet” in Halle, Kirsten Hoppert and Steffen Kroll, blending analytical and playful design in their work.
Germany’s architectural fervor is well represented across the country, but ever since the reunification it has started to focus on Berlin where world-class architecture is experienced through a variety of monumental works: from Lord Norman Foster, who transformed the former Reichstag building to Daniel Libeskind, Renzo Piano, Rem Koolhaas or I. M. Pei. On the other hand, German architecture firms like lbert Speer & Partner or von Gerkan, Marg und Partner also enjoy great international recognition – as one of their important trade is the attention to sustainable building, of architecture that consumes as little as possible, a topic addressed by German architects such as Werner Sobek , Stefan Behnisch and Christoph Ingenhoven. Another focus point is Graft, this Berlin grounded trio that combines avant-garde and ecology – best example of this is the futuristic project “Bird Island“, currently in Malaysia under construction.