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Four upcoming Berlin-based fashion names you need to know

Dimitri Arvanitis, Dumitrascu, Don Aretino, and STANDARDCLOTHING are among the labels putting the city on fashion’s map

Despite being renowned for its clubbing, art and vibrant creative scene, Berlin’s fashion scene isn’t always given the recognition it deserves.  Low-cost living and cheap studios to rent often draw in designers, but keeping them in the city to show at Berlin Fashion Week is almost impossible, with most of them heading to Paris and London instead. More recently, there has been a shift within Berlin’s fashion circle. Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby of GmbH, and Ottolinger putting the city on fashion’s map and opening up the floor for a group of new and emerging designers to come forward and present their work too.

While Berlin might not have the sophistication of Paris, or clean-cut nature of New York, it makes up for it with its raw edge – something other cities try (and fail) to emulate. Designer Andra Dumitrascu – of label Dumitrascu – who has lived in the city for over 10 years, sees how Berlin’s creative scene differs from others. “Berlin is a bit particular on this level; as many people are super creative, but the general output is rather minor,” she tells us. “I think it’s a mix of missing funds and pressure while being in a very relaxed and exciting environment – it doesn’t nourish skills so much. Manifesting things within this environment is an interesting mix of challenges and surprises.”

Of studying in Berlin and the feeling of freedom in the city, STANDARDCLOTHING’s Nam Nguyen feels there is a collective creative spirit: “I feel that Berlin is an amazing space for creative people to try out new things and experiment with their work without necessarily a big budget like in other cities,” he explains. 

To mark the end of Berlin Fashion Week, here we look at some of the upcoming names from the city’s fashion scene. 


Graduating in 2013 from the Royal College of Fine Arts Antwerp, Arvanitis – who was born to Greek parents in West Germany – realised his interest in fashion and design from a young age. “I discovered Raf Simons and Margiela and was intrigued about their work and that fashion was not just about lifestyle, and garments were treated like product-design,” he tells us. 

Since then, Arvanitis has produced three collections, each internalising his passion for the past. “It’s 50 per cent autobiographical of what myself and my peers would like to wear, and 50 per cent fictional of what someone would pull off but I personally wouldn’t dare wear but would make me turn my head if I saw them,” he explains.

Drawing inspiration from his music consumption as a teen (citing M.I.A., Chicks On Speed, and Modeselektor as inspirations) Arvanitis’ clothing is a modern gender defying-take on 00s nostalgia. Slouched silhouettes, deconstructed vintage tees, and airbrushed denim all dominate the rising designer’s latest lookbook, a reference to clothing worn in Juergen Teller’s Go-Sees and Andrew Miksys Disko photo-series.



Indonesian-born Don Aretino never set out to become a fashion designer, originally applying to study fine art in Berlin. Unsuccessful, he pursued a fashion degree and recently presented his graduate collection. Entitled HALAL, it was an exploration of homosexuality within the Islamic community – something that the designer often explores as a gay Muslim.

“My aesthetic would be urban style mixed with some ethical and sportswear influences,” Aretino explains. “It also involves sarcasm in gay politics, religions and social behaviours too.” Artino’s vision of conceiving clothing has a theatrical element to it, oversized pants, cropped jackets and wooden platform shoes all nods towards male identity and conformity. 

Though not from the city, living and working in Berlin has helped the designer to develop his creativity and inspire his looks “Berlin is filled with foreigners who brought their own stories and styles to the table. It’s very inspiring to see their freedom of self-identity.”



Originally from Romania, Berlin-based Andra Dumitrascu went through different avenues before starting her eponymous brand. After studying at Vienna’s University of Applied Arts when Raf Simons was a teacher, she later returned to Berlin to open the store Salbazaar which she still runs in the Mitte district of Berlin.

Her label is what she is receiving the most recognition for though, particularly the recent SS18 collection. Praised both for its casting and guerilla-style presentation – it was staged at the Rambuteau metro station in Paris – the collection featured a mix of boxy trousers and caftans, nylon suits and grungy performance-wear – think grungy raver. 

“I don’t have an actual ongoing topic I’m exclusively interested in; as both, my mood, my environments, my views are shifting,” she explains. “I have an obsession with sports, couture, uniforms, genders; but more on an abstract level. How do you create a subjective consistency in people, manipulate their identity, their self-perception, their cool?”



Born and raised in Hanover, Nam Nguyen – the designer behind STANDARDCLOTHING – graduated earlier this year from Weissensee Academy of Art in Berlin. For the label, he focuses mainly on functionality. “The label is the result of watching what people wear and how they wear it,” the designer explains. “The feedback I get from people experiencing their personal wardrobe is a huge inspiration.”

The latest collection is a fusion of futuristic designs combining tech wear materials with classic garment pieces. Think future-forward looks made from nylon, and vinyl. Elsewhere, Nguyen collaborated with product designer David Kaltenback, to create a line of innovative shoes alongside his other pieces. Moving forward, the designer wants to embrace more sustainable design: “I want to discover industrial production facilities such as garment construction and weaving mills to learn from technology,” he explains.