A catwalk with models dressed in pink in front of a mirrored high-rise façade covered in greenery.

Design, culture and creativity in Germany’s fashion capital


Where the cool kids are

Düsseldorf is a multifaceted fashion destination with a flair that extends far beyond the famous Königsallee and luxury brands such as Versace, Gucci and Chanel. Venture off the beaten track and you’ll discover the city’s authentic side and its inimitable, and surprisingly unpretentious, charm. Here you’ll find a variety of distinctive boutiques and designer shops that offer a broad selection for every taste. This is where the soul of Düsseldorf, Germany’s fashion capital, lies.

The shop window of Jil Sander, bathed in a warm yellow light and with a single outfit on display.

A look into the history books explains the roots of fashion in Düsseldorf. After the Second World War, a new hub for the fashion industry emerged on the river Rhine. The groundbreaking open-air fashion show on Königsallee, an unprecedented event that attracted 15,000 visitors, was an important milestone in 1949. That same year, the Düsseldorfer Interessengemeinschaft Damenoberbekleidung (Düsseldorf women’s outerwear advocacy group), or Igedo, organised the world’s first fashion trade fair. Igedo still runs numerous fashion-focused events and trade fairs to this day, and Düsseldorf has since established itself as a hub of the national and international fashion industry. Retail rules throughout the year thanks in no small part to the more than 600 showrooms in which around 1,000 international brands present their collections. As the fashion professionals go about their business, they inevitably shape how the city looks and feels, and bring forth its stylish soul through their individual fashion sense.

The inside of the Viu Eyewear store. It is very minimalistic and almost empty, except for the glasses on the walls.
Minimalist, modern and ethically produced. The Swiss glasses brand Viu has been selling its product range in Benrather Strasse near Carlsplatz square since 2016. (Photo: Stefan Lucks)

For some time, a young and vibrant side of Düsseldorf characterised by concept stores, art and eating out has been establishing itself away from the luxurious and commercial side of fashion. It’s particularly visible in neighbourhoods such as Flingern, Unterbilk and Carlstadt, where Carlsplatz square is the place to be. Well-curated eyewear stores such as Viu  and Ace & Tate provide the spectacle, while Instagram-worthy cafés such as Cøffe create a cool atmosphere. Stores such as Kauf dich Glücklich, Selekteur, Copenhagen Studios and Beyond Studios further add to Carlstadt’s appeal.

Inside the store of jewellery brand Ariane Ernst.
Ariane Ernst store in Unterbilk.

And talking of neighbourhoods, what Oberkassel is to ‘old Düsseldorf’, the quarter around Lorettostrasse is to ‘young Düsseldorf’. The whole area is buzzing with creativity and exudes a remarkable modernity, creating a charming contrast to Düsseldorf’s more established fashion scene. Jewellery designer Ariane Ernst is based here, for example, and the Live Lab Studios also call ‘Loretto-hood’ home. Vintage stores such as Two Brothers (by appointment only) and Anniething Vintage have also set up shop in this trendy Düsseldorf district. Pre-loved fashion has emerged as a sustainable alternative in Düsseldorf and can be found in all neighbourhoods, from Unterbilk to the Elementarteilchen store in Flingern.

A pink feather boa and many other second-hand items on a clothes rail in the Elementarteilchen vintage store.
The Elementarteilchen vintage store in Flingern is a treasure trove for fashion lovers.

Düsseldorf-based influencers such as Patricia Wirschke, who has a considerable following of 400,000 on Instagram, Lara Bussmann, with around 250,000 subscribers, and Kathrin Bommann, with 110,000 followers, mix international flair with unmistakable local colour, acting as ambassadors for modern Düsseldorf through their stylish feeds. Scrolling through their appealing visual imagery reveals trends and offers their communities an insight into favourite hotspots around the city.

A broad and highly attractive mix of fashion, art, culture and creativity gives Düsseldorf its distinctive flair. In its own unique way, and with a healthy dose of local passion, Düsseldorf can easily keep pace with other leading fashion hubs. How come? Because Parisian chic feels just as much at home on the Rhine as the unconventional bohemia of London, the casual atmosphere of New York and the urban edge of Berlin. A deep understanding of fashion allows the city to present an almost infinite variety of styles in a comparatively small space. Styles that might only be subtly hinted at, but whose message is all the more tangible for it. This fusion of fashion trends ensures Düsseldorf is more than just a fashion destination; it is a fashion philosophy.

Text: Cheryll Mühlen
Main photo: Breuninger

Cheryll Mühlen is editor-in-chief of the fashion trade publications J’N’C and TM-Textilmitteilungen, the oldest fashion trade magazine in Germany. She shares with us her perspective on Düsseldorf as a city of fashion, showcases its many facets and explores the blurring of boundaries between fashion and lifestyle.

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