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Top ten
The best German fashion designers

Lutz Huelle, Fall / Winter 2014/15 collection | Photo (detail): © Lutz Huelle

Markus Ebner, editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine “Achtung”, has selected ten favorite designers and introduces them in short portraits.

Our fashion magazine recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. Danger From the beginning it was about building a fashion culture with German roots in words and pictures. The journey is the goal, because there is still a lot to be done. The main fashion magazines on the market are still offshoots of the major international publishers, such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, et cetera. Trend-setting fashion talents also rarely come from Germany. Although the Berlin fashion scene has generous marketing budgets for cosmetics, beer and car brands, it hardly produces anything that has an international impact or is well received. Nevertheless, over the years we have consistently highlighted German talent. Here are the ten best German fashion designers in my opinion who are currently in business and who send a new collection onto the catwalk every six months or more.

1. Karl Lagerfeld

  • © Karl Lagerfeld
    Portrait of Karl Lagerfeld
  • © Karl Lagerfeld
    KARL LAGERFELD, Fall / Winter 2014/15 collection
  • © Karl Lagerfeld
    KARL LAGERFELD, Fall / Winter 2014/15 collection
  • © Karl Lagerfeld
    KARL LAGERFELD, Fall / Winter 2014/15 collection
  • © Karl Lagerfeld
    KARL LAGERFELD, Fall / Winter 2014/15 collection
  • © Karl Lagerfeld
    KARL LAGERFELD, Fall / Winter 2014/15 collection
  • © Karl Lagerfeld
    KARL LAGERFELD, Fall / Winter 2014/15 collection
  • © Karl Lagerfeld
    KARL LAGERFELD, Fall / Winter 2014/15 collection
  • © Karl Lagerfeld
    KARL LAGERFELD, Fall / Winter 2014/15 collection
  • © Karl Lagerfeld
    KARL LAGERFELD, Fall / Winter 2014/15 collection
  • © Karl Lagerfeld
    KARL LAGERFELD, Fall / Winter 2014/15 collection
  • © Karl Lagerfeld
    KARL LAGERFELD, Fall / Winter 2014/15 collection
What should one say about Karl Lagerfeld? You know everything: he's a Chanel designer, a Fendi designer, and has been for decades. He runs his own label and does consultations for H&M, which started the whole fast fashion and top designer phenomenon, and he does projects with Schwarzkopf, Coca Cola Light, Hogan and, and, and. But what is most important: He is not only a designer who sets new trends every season with his Chanel show, but he is also a real media person who is always up to date on what is going on in the fashion scene. Thanks to Lagerfeld, Germany is number one when it comes to the best designer in the world. His style: not definable, but always groundbreaking, his studios in Paris and Rome: always at maximum capacity. He understands haute couture, he does haute fourrure, and with the brand under his own name he dominates the social media scene.

2. Stephan Schneider

It is very difficult to make a living from being a fashion designer. Most freelance commercial brands to keep themselves afloat. Or they enter into cooperation with such difficult partners as the shoe retailer Goertz or the beer producer Beck‘s. Little known, but perhaps the most successful fashion designer in his category, is Stephan Schneider from Duisburg. He lives and works in Antwerp and his fashion is sold all over the world. Many boutique owners swear by him, the sales figures speak for themselves. Schneider, who headed the fashion design course at the University of the Arts in Berlin for several years, convinces with a simple concept: fabrics that he mostly developed himself together with Italian weavers, and cuts that are clear but not too simple. For example, his sleeves usually have no seams, as they are not attached, but are cut from a piece of fabric. Schneider makes unexcited fashion, but it is groundbreaking.

3. Wolfgang Joop

  • © WUNDERKIND
    Portrait of Wolfgang Joop
  • © Nowfashion
    Wolfgang Joop, child prodigy, autumn / winter collection
  • © Nowfashion
    Wolfgang Joop, child prodigy, autumn / winter collection
  • © Nowfashion
    Wolfgang Joop, child prodigy, autumn / winter collection
  • © Nowfashion
    Wolfgang Joop, child prodigy, autumn / winter collection
  • © Nowfashion
    Wolfgang Joop, child prodigy, autumn / winter collection
  • © Nowfashion
    Wolfgang Joop, child prodigy, autumn / winter collection
  • © Nowfashion
    Wolfgang Joop, child prodigy, autumn / winter collection
He invented one of the first lifestyle brands in the 1980s and 1990s and, above all, demonstrated a good nose: his perfumes have always sold well. Although the Joop brand still exists, it has lost its traction from the time when the founder was still the chief creative. Wolfgang Joop now has a new heart project: the Wunderkind brand. From his domicile at Heiligensee in Potsdam, Joop has made a hysterically elegant brand for bohemians all over the world. Often with abstract prints that he has drawn himself and an asymmetrical cut with a preference for shorts and long dresses. The look is unique, the workmanship on a high level. In Heidi Klum's show, he recently proved that the educated designer has excellent taste Germany's Next Topmodel. His class and his wit have helped the show get good ratings again. Who knows, maybe child prodigy can benefit from this new popularity. Michael Kors showed it in America: he became a billionaire

4. Lutz Huelle

Anyone who, like Lutz Huelle, has simply sold their fashion under the first name Lutz for 15 years, likes it essential. And so Huelle does not need past epochs or geographical preferences as inspiration, but only one item of clothing. Huelle works meticulously on details, changes them in an unfamiliar way and modernizes their classic raison d'etre without fuss, but with high demands, especially on themselves. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Remscheider-born and his collections have always been more in Paris - where he has lived for a long time - than in Germany. Lutz Huelle became known in the 1990s as the model of the photo artist Wolfgang Tillmans and still works closely with him today.

5. Damir Doma

One of the most interesting stories of the German fashion scene takes place in the Bavarian town of Traunstein on the border with Austria. From there, Damir Doma set out to conquer the fashion world. First with Dirk Schönberger - currently creative director at adidas - and then with Raf Simons, the artistic director of Dior, as an apprentice, he quickly went into business for himself. His investor and partner is Stephan Wembacher and also comes from Traunstein. Wembacher is a successful entrepreneur who made his living with soft goods for Apple. He is now investing that in the clever, forward-looking collections from Doma. Doma's strength lies in his incredibly large repertoire. The 30-year-old Bavarian with Croatian roots can do sportswear such as bomber jackets and windbreakers, but also has a good feeling for tailoring. His slightly oversized men's jackets attracted his attention from the start, and his name will be traded when a new post is to be filled in Paris. In Traunstein, meanwhile, the designer's mother runs the tailoring workshop. That suits Doma: For him, fashion is about "finding out who I am". In keeping with the color of his clothes, this brings him closer to the Parisian existentialists of Saint-Germain than to the Avenue Montaigne.

6. Kostas Murkudis

Berlin is a tough place for fashion designers. But Kostas Murkudis passes the test. For years he has been developing his internationally recognized collection in an old apartment in the Charlottenburg district. The parts impress with a cool mix of materials, daring volumes and appropriate colors. Murkudis travels to Paris regularly to keep up to date. He also works with different brands like no other: he makes suits with Regent, cashmere with Johnston, glass art with Lobmeyr, and he worked for Closed. Together with his brother Andreas Murkudis, who runs a fashion store, he is one of the best fashion designers Berlin has to offer.

7. Boris Bidjan Saberi

Boris Bidjan Saberi belongs to the dark side of the fashion power. Critics like to compare the rough style of the son of a German mother and a Persian father with the creations of the eccentric American fashion designer Rick Owens. But you will look in vain for trend-seeking designs at Saberi. Instead, he reinterprets the classic suit and shows experimental collections with veils and asymmetrical cuts that look as if one could join an urban nomadic people. Men's fashion that keeps you warm - both physically and emotionally.

8. Christian Niessen

No show, no seasonal collections, no advertising. “I never got used to the idea of ​​the reproductive lifestyle in fashion,” explains fashion designer Christian Niessen, who was born in Munich and lives in Milan. Instead of selling fashion via an artificial image, Niessen lets the consumer design it himself and shows what exclusivity can look like in times of technical reproducibility: Each item of clothing is only available once. This could be called programmatic clothing for creative nerds and consumer critics. There is hardly a better way to combine old craft traditions with technological innovations. Niessen learned his trade like Kostas Murkudis from Helmut Lang. As the right hand man of the Viennese designer, he was there in Paris and New York during the great times of the minimalist with a tailor's flair. Together with his partner Nicole Lachelle, Niessen founded the No Editions label in Paris.

9. Dirk Schönberger

The Rhinelander Dirk Schönberger started his career in Antwerp. After gaining initial experience with Dirk Bikkembergs, he started a show in Paris under his own name. Schönberger makes classic men's fashion with cool details. In the beginning he used his washing machine very often to rinse his parts once and to give his tuxedo shirts and blazers that casual, once-worn look. His tailoring has a clear line. He was particularly influenced for his productions by the songs of the Hamburg group Blumfeld. His leitmotif: the underestimated underdog, who looks like an admiral in the navy with idiosyncratic clothing like a safari jacket with golden stripes on the arm. After it became more and more difficult with his own label in times of the economic crisis, Schönberger has proven himself at Joop and given the brand after Wolfgang Joop a clear Berlin profile by staging his shows in the Olympic Stadium or in the Neue Nationalgalerie. He has now landed at Adidas and is perhaps the busiest designer of his generation. Because at Adidas he is responsible for pretty much everything at the billion-dollar brand that has to do with fashion, from the Y-3 collection - together with Yohji Yamamoto - to the originals and the new Neo collections to the collaborations with Justin Bieber and Kanye West .

10. Frank Leder

If a designer has managed to powerfully bring his German identity into his work, then it is Frank Leder. The collections of the Nuremberg designer are reminiscent of the portraits of farmers by photographer August Sander, except that with him the young farmers are either schnapps distillers or traveling companions. You're also dressed as you'd expect from the job title, but everything is designed with great attention to detail. Above all, his cuts are perfect, the fit of his shirts and jackets stands out. It is unbelievable that Frank Leder's fashion is not sold in a single German fashion store. He is one of the designers who is very successful in Japan. There he supplies more than 70 shops with his original German designs.