Düsseldorf is the fashion capital of Germany, according to Travel Writers

By Richard Carroll

The name rolls off the tongue poetic and memorable, the resonance tantalizing the ear like a beloved song. Düsseldorf, just over an hour by train from Frankfurt, is world famous and refreshingly true to art and fashion. Overlooking the vast Lower Rhine river in the heart of Germany, the city is brimming with energy and vitality with a high standard of living and a five-star lifestyle, eminent among the best cities in Europe.

The creativity that swirls through the city at the hands of fashion designers and students, fashion trade fairs and ongoing fashion boutiques has taken hold in Düsseldorf, not unlike the fashion cities of Milan, Rome, Paris and London. With four public and 10 private universities, as well as the Dusseldorf Gallery, Breuninger and the Institute for Fashion Design, Germany’s dominant fashion school, the city has a distinctly youthful vibe.

The destination is one of the country’s brightest stars, but is often overlooked due to a well-worn tourist trail. But with sustainability a constant focus and Germany one of Europe’s leading producers of solar energy, Düsseldorf is a green city with beautiful parks and lush gardens, ponds with swanky swans, impressive art centers, grand palaces cleverly turned into elegant museums and designated bike lanes with a cycling community not yet at the level of Amsterdam, but making progress.

Bikes or not, Düsseldorf is a compact and relaxing place as everything in the city is only 20 minutes away. This includes the neighborhood near the main train station, one of the largest Japanese communities in Europe, and the thriving Old Town adjacent to the Rhine River.

For a medium-sized city, Düsseldorf has the most attractive downtown shopping street in Germany, if not all of Europe. The mile-long Konigsallee, called Ko by residents and visitors alike, is lined with window displays for Prada, Miu Miu, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Hermes, Armani, Fendi, Fashionette, Barbara Freres, and attractive fashion boutiques. Ko is separated by a large garden-like pond covered in trees, small street bridges with Victorian-style lamps offering access to both sides of Ko, while the green-colored island alters Ko as if it had been separated into two streets different.

“It’s like shopping in a big park!” said a visitor.

Germany is the second largest supplier of fashion brands in Europe with German designers Escada, Addas, Hugo Boss, Adidas and Joop many of whom have pioneered new processes to make their work more sustainable. A collection of Düsseldorf fashion designers enhances this important economic cultural resource.

Bathed in soothing morning light, Marion Strehlow’s intimate atelier in the Oberbilk district of the city in a ground-floor live-work complex inspires a feeling of creativity and inspiration. Her collection of unisex clothing would fit Ko naturally with her dark, earthy colors.

“I started from scratch in 1998,” he said. “I spent three years in fashion school and I work with Italian fabrics, cotton, cashmere and beautiful black cloths. I love to sew and create a garment from start to finish and create my own look, a clean look with unexpected hidden details. Comfortable and elegant to wear and for all ages. I follow my heart and create clothes that I love. I have a clientele, and visitors can come to the studio if they call or email me.”

“Don’t Panic It’s Organic” is Heiko Wunder’s call for sustainability. His Wunder workshop (Werk) and his retail stores are a commitment to an absolutely sustainable lifestyle and a totally organic fashion collection.

“My fabric is from Austria, free of toxic chemicals, and it’s softer and more attractive,” she said. “It’s good for the skin and I use stone nuts instead of plastic buttons.”

Their casual wear is classic, not trendy, with six retail stores throughout Germany.

Suzusan is a Japanese family-owned fashion house in business for over 100 years.

“I design the collection and they are made in Japan by my family dating back to the fifth generation with special ancestral Japanese skills,” said Hiroyuki Murase, the creative director. “Cashmere is a favorite.”

Her clothes have been worn by Natalie Portman and created for Dior.

Stephanie Hahn’s stylish Live Lab Studios in the Loretto district ooze energy.

“It’s new energy,” he said. “I’m always looking for new designers and young people who can meet here and share their ideas. Fashion is a hard life, it’s not glamorous. It’s a demanding job.”

Hahn was born in Düsseldorf and spent time in France. His collection is handmade in Germany and was shown at Paris Fashion Week. Unisex coats and jackets stand out in the Hahn collection.

“I need to touch the material and see how it feels and falls,” he said. Sustainability is important, and avoiding chemicals, reducing overproduction, and creating biodegradable products is in your future.

WHEN YOU GO

Düsseldorf, a luxury fashion destination, has a significant set of elite fashion designers. If you are planning a trip, contact Ilona Marx, a local guide with extensive experience in fashion: [email protected]

Marion Strehlow: www.stre-low.com

Heiko Wunder: www.wunderwerk.com

Suzusan: www.suzusan.com

Stephanie Hahn: www.livelabstudios.com

Düsseldorf is the art and fashion capital of Germany. Photo courtesy of Halina Kubalski.

    Hermes on the mile-long Konigsallee in Dusseldorf, Germany, is one of the most important fashion streets in all of Europe.  Photo courtesy of Halina Kubalski

Hermes on the mile-long Konigsallee in Dusseldorf, Germany, is one of the most important fashion streets in all of Europe. Photo courtesy of Halina Kubalski

    Marion Strehlow is a well known and popular designer in Düsseldorf, Germany.  Photo courtesy of Halina Kubalski.

Marion Strehlow is a well known and popular designer in Düsseldorf, Germany. Photo courtesy of Halina Kubalski.

Richard Carroll is a freelance writer. To read articles by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Düsseldorf is the art and fashion capital of Germany. Photo courtesy of Halina Kubalski.

Leave a Comment