Germany is famous for design, be it cars, buildings, furniture or apparel. It is a major fashion centre, with Berlin leading the way. German haute couture and ready-to-wear find expression in a variety of styles, from effortlessly cool to precisely tailored; high-tech to eco-friendly; sporty to chic. On the more traditional side, there’s the typical lederhosen (leather pants) for men and dirndls (dresses) for women. These are reserved for special occasions and festivals like the Oktoberfest. In Berlin, you’ll find a more young and individualistic look.
Generating more than €43 billion in turnover, the textiles, garments and footwear sector is the largest consumer market in Germany, after the food and beverage market. In addition, German clothing and textile products are so popular that today Germany is the fourth-largest exporter in the world. Constant innovations like flame-resistant fabrics and LED hoodies have also made it a leader in technical textiles.
The Berlin Fashion Week is one of the biggest fashion fairs in the world. Fashionistas, buyers, trade visitors, journalists and celebrities gather here twice a year to spot new trends. Green fashion and wearable IT took centre stage at the 2017 fashion week. The fashion industry sales in Berlin soared to around €3.8 billion from 2009 to 2013! Another hugely popular fashion fair is Bread & Butter (B&B), which focusses on ready-to-wear apparel and streetwear. Even Justin Timberlake came here to promote his label! In 2015, online fashion retailer Zalando acquired B&B and opened it to the public. Apart from Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and Düsseldorf are also important design and production hubs.
Some of the biggest designers in the world are from Germany. Karl Lagerfeld, Jil Sander, Wolfgang Joop, Hugo Boss, Philipp Plein, Tomas Maier and Michael Michalsky immediately come to mind. And there are plenty of up-and-coming young designers who are making their mark in Berlin. German fashion labels, known for their quality and sophistication, attract customers from all over the world. These iconic, much-loved brands are German: PUMA, adidas, JOOP!, BOSS, Marc O’Polo, TOM TAILOR, s.Oliver, Jack Wolfskin, Wunderkind and bruno banani. Multiple designer brands can be found under one roof in big department stores like Kaufhof and Karstadt. And, of course, online retailers like Zalando and OTTO have increased the reach of German brands by delivering them right to the customer’s doorstep.