HYPNOSIS-berlin are the Berlin-based designers Niklas Kauffeld and Matthias Jahn. Originally from Kassel, they reunited in Berlin in the early 1990s and found their label in 2006, and have been presenting their collections at international fashion shows since 2008. I visited them in their atelier and show room in Friedrichshain.
Their clothes are all made of jersey fabrics, and as of last year’s collection, all organic cotton. They are well known for their geometric, asymetrical cuts, their flattering, comfortable to wear cuts that fit every body type. In their designs wear-ability and the avant-garde come together. As they announce on their website, “Sustainability in design and collections is becoming increasingly important in today’s world. HYPNOSIS-berlin’s production is located in Germany, to guarentee fair working conditions.”
When I asked them how the Berlin fashion scene has changed over the years they have been here, they replied: “Berlin designers have started making more chic clothes. In contrast to the 1990s, fashion in Berlin today is less trashy, more high-quality in price and design.”
In the summer of 2009 Matthias and Niklas conceptualized CUBE – a pop-up fashion boutique, which popped-up in three different locations all around Berlin on a three-months lease base, and was a collaboration of eight Berlin designers (Hypnosis-berlin, Cultivate, Aspique, LIAN, Widda, Velibor, Natascha Loch, and B. Weiss). Many of the designers knew each other from fashion school.
This weekend, Hypnosis-berlin will be presenting their new summer collection at the Modepalast fashion trade show in Vienna. Unlike other fashion trade shows, Modepalast is a direct-retail show – it is open to the general public (not just buyers) and visitors can try the clothes on and buy them on the spot. Modepalast also provides equal-sized display areas to each designer, which makes it more democratic and allows new and established labels to co-exist harmoniously. Berlin fashion is quite well represented in Vienna, with at least ten Berlin designers presenting their collections every season.
When I asked them how Berlin fashion scene compares to other European cities, such as Vienna, for example, they told me: “Vienna is smaller, there is less competition, but the people there like to dress up. One can see more chic in the streets. People place more value on their clothes, on their appearance than in Berlin, and they like to spend money on clothes. They are constantly looking for something special, something extravagant, something that others don’t have.”
Both designers value their interaction and communication with their customers (online, in Berlin, and at the international fashion trade shows), and often incorporate customer feedback and suggestions into their new designs.
The inspiration for the upcoming winter collection are the seven deadly sins and excess (large, draping fabrics – all organic) playfully and skillfully put together to fit every body type (even in XL sizes). It takes on average nine days to make one piece, and about 4 months to put together a new collection.
Their fabrics are made in Czech Republic; the yarn comes from Germany or India (which is the largest supplier of organic cotton today). Each season features six complementing colours. The emphasis is always on the form (geometrical cuts), thus the designers prefer to use solid colours, rather than patterns. Their clothes can be worn as daily wear, or dressed up for special occasions – the designs range from sporty to chic. Their dresses are even worn to weddings.