April 1 is not only Carolin Dunkel’s birthday, but was also — in 2016 — the day her lifelong dream of opening her own fashion boutique came true.
Fittingly, the boutique was named after the occasion — it's called April First — but nothing about Dunkel's store is a joke. This is the only place in all of Germany to find many of the clothing and accessories Dunkel has on offer, such as Ulla Johnson’s ethereal frocks, and the knitted apparel from I Love Mr. Mittens. Dunkel picked up her understanding of sophisticated design during her years working the New York media and fashion circuit, but she believes that women in Berlin are less conventional and more curious about the weird and wonderful than their U.S. counterparts: “The typical April First clients are women who see fashion as a passion, who like to show their femininity and look extraordinary," she says. "I am my own best shopper, because there is nothing in the store that I would not wear myself.”
Here are a few more fashion hotspots to check out on your next spin through Berlin.
Tempelhofer Ufer 1, Kreuzberg, hallescheshaus.com
The term “general store” doesn't sound as chic as “concept store,”but maybe that’s why Hallesches Haus chose the more old-fashioned of the two for its gigantic premises: They’d rather be taken seriously than seen riding a fleeting hipster wave. Behind every selection of brass bike bells, copper kettles, ceramic mugs, steel thermoses and candy striped lamp cords is the idea that function and form go together like peas in a pod, but the former always outplays the latter. In the two years since its grand opening, Hallesches Haus has now broadened its offerings to include foods, opened a lovely café, and also started using the space for special events in tandem with bigger city festivities such as Berlin Food Art Week.
A Kind of Guise
23 Mulackstraße, Mitte, akindofguise.com
For almost a decade, dapper gentlemen have flocked to A Kind of Guise's Munich location for its extremely well-tailored regalia, designed by a brand that's proudly Made in Germany. From the get-go, all of this store's stock has been made in limited-edition batches, and every thread and hem is scrutinized; textiles, which come from Japan, Italy and Scotland, are all sustainably made. It goes without saying that this exact ethos and attention to detail is now offered to A Kind of Guise's Berlin clientele, too.
Neue Schönhauser Straße 11, Mitte, oliveda.com
Oliveda is a meticulously arranged apothecary where creams, serums and lotions are presented according to whether they promise to rehydrate, rejuvenate or simply perfume your skin. Founder Thomas Lommel spent ten years crafting the concept of “Olive Tree Therapy” and creating Mediterranean Ayurveda products for internal and external usage, and then another seven years doing hundreds of experiments with complex biotechnological processes to develop these unique cosmetic products. Fancy trying it? I recommend starting with the curious bestselling duo of Cell Active Serum Face moisturizer and Mouth Oil Cure Detoxifying mouthwash.
Budapester Straße 38-50, Charlottenburg, bikiniberlin.de
Yes, Bikini Berlin means the same thing in German as it does in English. But it has an interesting origin story: When the massive building that houses this store was erected in the late 1950s, the building's design reminded West Berliners of the daring new swimwear of that time: the bikini. Hence its German nickname, Bikinihaus. Over time the nickname became real name, and today the building is home to the world’s first concept shopping mall. Or, at least that’s what they claim it is: 50-ish carefully curated boutiques cohabiting with several spaces for pop-ups, art installations, and events. When your feet get tired from shopping, Monkey Bar — on top of Bikinihaus’ very own hotel, 25Hours — is ready to welcome you with cocktails and dazzling city views.
Lindower Straße 18, aptm.berlin
Everyone’s talking about the Berlin neighbourhood, Wedding. And in Wedding, everyone’s talking about the latest shopping craze: "locations." These are spaces that are carefully furnished and decorated to the smallest detail and, once that’s done, they open to the public, who can visit, explore and buy anything and everything they want on the way out. Lately, the most talked-about location is Aptm Berlin. The only real downside is that you can’t buy the whole place and just move in.
Niederbarnimstraße 8, Friedrichshain, schoeneschreibwaren.com
Brushes, pens, and papers. Photo albums, postcards and envelopes. Diaries, journals and notebooks. And anything else you might need to plan and organize, package and wrap, memorize and scrapbook. Delightful Schöne Schreibwaren, which roughly translates to “pretty stationery,” is a one-stop gift shop for all writers, illustrators, graphic designers, and painters. Everything for sale at Schöne Schreibwaren is made by small, local manufacturers, and art buffs with no personal interest in creating will also find lots and lots of lithographs and prints to peruse.
Sawade Pralinen und Trüffel
Rosenthaler Straße 40-41, Mitte, sawade.berlin
I am in love with the Hackesche Höfe courtyard complex, situated adjacent to the Hackescher Markt in the centre of Berlin. Who wouldn’t love its handsomely ornamented façades that hide restaurants, pubs, boutiques, theatres and galleries? But a new sweet treat in the complex is the chocolatiers Sawade: It's the oldest of its kind in the whole city, but recently moved in to Hackesche Höfe’s nooks and crannies. Maybe you’ve tried their handmade, heavenly truffles and pralines before: this royal favourite have three stores in West Berlin and are also for sale at grand department store KaDeWe. However, this is Sawade's first flagship: never before have the brand's cacao confections been given so much space. And space they need: we’re talking more than 400 flavour combinations, each a little yummy work of eatable art to savour.
Ready to get some shopping done in Berlin? G Adventures can get you there. Check out our small group tours to Germany here.