Bilker Bunker, now a cultural venue, is pictured from the outside, where a mural is visible.

Six Düsseldorf fashion labels with good vibes guaranteed

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Combining fashion and lifestyle with sustainable ideas

Sustainable fashion labels? Admittedly, fashion and sustainability don’t appear to be all that compatible. But while a complete break with consumerism may be a noble intention, it’s hardly realistic. Fashion is a fun way of expressing yourself and your identity. The solution is to aim for a happy medium, with fashion labels that strive for sustainability and produce small batches of high quality goods rather than mass-produced merchandise. The first ever Sustain! exhibition was held at Bilker Bunker on 27 January 2024 as part of the Düsseldorf Fashion Days. Initiated by the Düsseldorf economic development agency and curated by The Dorf, the show featured 14 Düsseldorf labels and their products. We have selected six of them for you.

The cartoon character Tweety on a yellow sweatshirt with knitted yellow and white striped sleeves.
Must-haves from Next Level Knit. (Photo: Harald Schaack)

Next Level Knit – pure pop culture

Düsseldorf fashion label Next Level Knit, or NLK for short, is a recent start-up. Julia Furtmann was a co-founder of the Open Studio agency and initially realised her knitting ambitions as an independent project. As part of this work, Julia increasingly began to think about consumerism, recycling, upcycling and value creation. NLK’s styles are a hybrid of vintage and knitwear. Its creative USP lies in the interplay of second-hand, mainly fast-fashion items, which have their sleeves removed and replaced with hand-knitted, i.e. slow-fashion ones. The message couldn’t be clearer. The look is pure, unadulterated pop. And the vibe is definitely must-have!

nextlevelknit.com

A model wearing a white shirt and very wide, overlong blue trousers is sitting on a studio floor with legs stretched out.
Unmistakable: Marion Strehlow. (Photo: Stefan Kapfer)

Strehlow – exquisite

Strehlow invariably puts a lot of herself into all of her clothes, which explains the delightful authenticity her collections convey. From sweatshirts with graphical patterns to sculptural blouses, every piece contains a part of  Marion Strehlow that you can make your own simply by wearing it. These days she doesn’t just create fashion, she has also been designing the costumes for Maura Morales’ dance company for the last few years.

stre-low.com

The Etuk twin brothers are standing in a fashion studio.
The twin brothers and founders Kurz and Ben Etuk. (Photo: Ole Nellen)

Etuk – right on trend

Genderless fashion is the key theme of this Düsseldorf fashion brand. Twin brothers Kurt and Ben Etuk started their label in 2022, with Kurt taking care of the creative part and Ben running the business side. Their designs make you feel good about yourself as well as what you’re wearing. The Bien denim skirt encapsulates Etuk’s fundamental ideas. This unisex skirt and its design – a new wool tartan kilt at the front and vintage denim at the back – reference Vivienne Westwood. The 2Face hoodie jacket is reversible and underlines the genderless aspect through its oversized look. The collections are small, there is no overproduction. A Düsseldorf brand that you should definitely keep an eye on.

etukclo.com

Portrait shot of a woman sitting on a chair, wearing a dark blue jacket and a rust-red balaclava.
Trending at Untold: a knitted balaclava. (Photo: Natasha auf'm Kamp)

Untold – classy Style

Vintage, second hand, pre-loved … no matter what you call it, it’s one of the main topics when it comes to sustainable fashion. Within a short space of time, Untold has firmly established itself with fashionistas. Since September 2023, customers aren’t just able to shop online, but can also browse in the showroom, either by appointment or at the monthly open-door events. Founders Sarah Righetti and Lea Rohe show great instincts in selecting their carefully curated product range, with the emphasis firmly on quality rather than quantity. In addition to vintage clothes, Untold also offers accessories and lifestyle products by local artists.

untoldshop.com

Black leather handbag with a strap against a brown background.
Signature look bag by Sharokina. (Photo: Meltem Kalayci)

Sharokina – eye-catcher

When it comes to sustainability, leather goods are a complicated subject. Small, high-quality labels tend to be a better bet, because they normally keep a closer eye on their supply chains. Sharokina is a case in point. The bags and accessories are designed and manufactured in Düsseldorf. This is possible because Sharokina Golpashin, the label’s designer and proprietor, produces small editions and limited runs. She received the Red Dot Design Award for her work in 2020 and 2021, as well as the state of North Rhine-Westphalia’s Manufactum prize in 2021. The leather used to make the products comes from Germany, Belgium and Italy, and all of it is vegetable tanned. The bags and leather goods all share a purist design. The label’s signature looks include braiding techniques and above all clasps made of metal rods with ball-headed studs reminiscent of piercing balls.

sharokina.com

The back of the head of a woman wearing a silk scarf tied into her hair.
Vegetable-dyed silk scarf. (Photo: Nina Badura)

Studio Rosa – reuse

The fashion label founded by Maria Hübsch is only just starting out. Studio Rosa’s products are entirely made from vintage materials and leftover fabric. Some may even be made from granny’s discarded bedlinen. These are turned into scrunchies, hairbands, silk scarves, aromatherapy pillows and cloths. There are also second-hand silk blouses. In addition, Maria Hübsch is experimenting with vegetable dying techniques that are particularly kind to the environment. The individual methods used at different stages of the production process create genuinely unique items.

studio-rosa.de

Further information at bilkerbunker.de.

Text: Cynthia Blasberg
Main photo: Bilker Bunker

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