The organic food trend, or as they call it in Germany – bio, started its rise in berlin decades ago, but in the last few years it has begun taking over the city. From big events dedicated to organic living to little shops specializing in organic dog treats and bespoke wardrobes made of upcycled bicycles, the bio trend in Berlin goes way beyond organic bananas.
Cool kids don’t recycle – they upcycle.
One of the newest trends in the sustainable world is upcycling: the use of post-consumer waste to create valuable artistic artifacts. Forget about your boring old recycling, a term most identified with rusty cans and dirty diapers, from now on say “upcycling” and be both artistic and environmentally aware.
“The Upcycling Fashion Store”, formerly a pop-up shop working throughout Berlin Mitte, has recently found its home in Anklamer Straße. The store offers a wide range of independent clothing and accessory labels including the house brand ALUC (You can find an interview with Arianna, one of the store’s co-founders, in one of Gaffer’s earlier posts). Be sure to check out “OldGold” a brand specializing in espresso capsules, hammered out into coin-like discs and made into beautiful bracelets necklaces pins and buttons.
A few more worthy stops in Mitte are “Fair Queen” – an “ethical fashion” boutique with a range of elegant and dramatic creations, and “Mayer Peace Collection” where designer Christine Mayer transforms old burlap flour bags into pseudo-futuristic theatrical clothes.
The “NowKoelln Flowmarkt” is another great place for upcycled trinkets. This relatively new market operates twice a month right on the Maybachufer between Neuköln and Kreuzberg. The market is open on the first and third Sunday of every month and has a unique vibe created by the young designers and vendors selling clothes, jewelry, shoes and second hand records.
Sex with principles
Clothes might make the man but ethical fashion in berlin doesn’t stop there. In Kreuzberg 61 I discovered “Other Nature”, a sex shop with very strict principles. The shop’s founders present a winning argument: if we refuse to wear clothes filled with toxins, how can we not consider what materials we insert in our various orifices? Apart from international labels’ products, made of natural materials, recycled and synthetic, that are non-toxic and do not secrete anything in the body, the shop features local designers selling collars, whips and even bowties that in a different lifetime were bikes bicycles and other unconventional materials.
Two wheel vehicles seem to be an endless source of inspiration for berlin’s young designers. One of my personal favorite “bicycler” is “Tool Cool” – an independent designer, who designs and produces bracelets, belts, lighter holders and an array of accessories made of upcycled bicycle tubing and post-consumer fabric, metal and plastic. She also uses beer and soda bottle caps and repurposed chains and pins to create clever and crazy designs like a belt with a special tampon compartment.
Another independent designer to be on the lookout for is Keine-Kunst-Produktion. An upcycling designer who sells t-shirts and accessories with cute animal prints to send the message “animals are friends – not food” (don’t worry, you can buy them even if you’re like me, and find animals to also be delicious).
Like other small ethical designers, tool cool and Keine-Kunst-Produktion sell their products in markets such as the flea market in Boxhagener Platz and the night market SO36 Nachtflohmarkt as well as in Other Nature and other ethical stores in Kreuzberg, two of which are definitely worth a visit: “Supermarché”, which offers both local and international clothing labels including People Tree and Globe Hope as well as accessories and small decorative items, and the gallery/ cafe/ shop “Kult Pur”, both located in Lausitzer Platz.
And one more tip for the avid bio-head…
In Eisenbahn Strasse no 42/43, behind Lausitzer Platz, you can find the Markthalle Neun. In this impressive historic building you can find some of the best food and lifestyle markets in berlin, including a bi-weekly “slow food” market the monthly sweets market „Nascmarkt“ and the „Handmade Supermarket“ dedicated to ethical local fashion (check out our previous posts about Markethalle Neun and the Naschmarkt).
The Upcycling Fashion Store
Where: Anklamer Straße 17, 10115 Berlin
When: Mo-Fr 11:00 – 19:00, Sa 12:00 – 19:00
Where: Monbijou Platz 4, 10178 Berlin
When: Mo-Sa 11:00 – 20:00
Mayer Peace Collection
Where: Grosse Hamburger Straße 1 10115 Berlin
When: Mo-Fr 10:00 – 19:00, Sa 11:00 – 18:00
Where: Maybachufer 36, 12047 Berlin
When: Every 2 weeks from March 23rd to November 30th 2014.
Where: Mehringdamm 79, 10965 Berlin
When: Mo-Tu 12:00 – 18:00, Wed.-Sa 12:00 – 20:00
Flea market in Boxhagener Platz
Where: Boxhagener Platz 1, 10245 Berlin
When: Sun. 10:00 – 20:00
Where: Oranien Straße 190, 10999 Berlin
When: second Wednesday of every month, 20:00 – …
Where: Lausitzer Platz 11, 10997 Berlin
When: Mo-Fr 11:00 – 19:00, Sa 11:00 – 17:00
Where: Muskauer Strasse 47, 10997 Berlin
When: Mo-Fr 12:00 – 19:30, Sa 12:00 – 18:00
Where: Eisenbahnstraße 42/43, 10997 Berlin
When: various, depending on the event.