Street Style: Hamburg

Published on Peacock Plume

Fashionable encounters by the North Sea confirm national clichés.

“I don’t know Heidi Klum, she has never been to Paris. Claudia Schiffer also doesn’t know who she is.” - Karl Lagerfeld

Born in Hamburg, fashion tsar Karl Lagerfeld is known for his black humour and frankly expressed opinions. So are the locals of his hometown. Upon my arrival in the second largest (and probably coldest) city of Germany, it was the pilot’s sarcastic comment about the weather and a quote by the Chanel designer at the airport that attracted my attention: 

"In my opinion, with its location, the Elbe and the Alster, it is Germany’s most beautiful city." 

Besides the port city’s evident beauty and the famous sarcasm of its locals, what about their fashion style? In order to discover it, I hit the road and checked out the streets of the hippest district Schanzenviertel and had some interesting encounters that I will remember for a long time.

KATHRIN, 37, FREELANCE FASHION STYLIST FROM BERLIN

DSC_0970 copy.JPG

Coat: Stella McCartney Scarf: Cos Jeans: Levis Bag: Sophie Hulme London Boots: Crickit

Style... always depends on your mood. It is overrated sometimes. I like it but only to a certain extent. Minutes spent on getting ready in the morning today... 30. If you could keep one piece of your current outfit which one would it be? My jewellery because they are personal gifts. What do you wear every single day? One earring. I got it myself. Parisian Style... is all about pleasure. I lived in Paris for four years. Parisians mostly wear one piece that enhances the whole outfit. Favourite fashion designer/label... Many. 

CAPTAIN ANGELO, 70, SAILOR FROM PORTO KUFO

DSC_0946 copy.jpg

Hat: a gift from his daughter Jacket: secondhand (30 years old) Jeans: Levis (30 years old) Bag: a gift from his neighbour Boots: flea market (10 years old)

Style... is like a music piece; it has to begin and end well. From hat to shoe. It’s all about matching colours. If a piece doesn’t have a great colour, it’s not great. Minutes spent on getting ready in the morning today... 3. If you could keep one piece of your current outfit which one would it be? That would be my musical instrument. It’s an eight-string Greek bouzoukiWhat do you wear every single day? My hat, of course. I am a sailor. I do have five but this one is from my daughter. Parisian Style... I love the French. Favourite fashion designer/label... Joop, but actually brands don’t matter to me. The most important thing is quality. I only have things that last for 30 to 40 years, except my underwear. The ones I am wearing now are five years old.

ANN SOPHIE, 25, EUROVISION SONG CONTEST REPRESENTATIVE FOR GERMANY IN 2015

DSC_1068 copy 2.jpg

Headband: Monki Coat: Marco Polo Scarf: Zara Pants: Zara Bag: Zara Necklace: Monki
Lipstick: 014 Dolce Vita by Dior Shoes: Nike

Style... is all about combination. It shouldn’t be monotonous. And I hate narrow clothes to death. I always wear oversize. Minutes spent on getting ready in the morning today... 45. If you could keep one piece of your current outfit which one would it be? My hairband. What do you wear every single day? I feel naked without my red lips. And I wouldn’t leave the house without my Beats headphones. Parisian Style... Elegant, feminine but at the same time, rough and masculine. Girls in Paris definitely make a statement with their clothes. Favourite fashion designer/label... Sandro, Calvin Klein, Stefanel. My greatest idol is Audrey Hepburn.

MARVIN, 19, STUDENT FROM HANNOVER

DSC_1099.JPG

Beanie: H&M Coat: H&M Sweater: Scotch & Soda. Pants: H&M Backpack: Snipes Watch: flea market find Shoes: Deichmann

Style... If one is self-confident, one can wear everything. Minutes spent on getting ready in the morning today... 20. If you could keep one piece of your current outfit which one would it be? My coat. What do you wear every single day? My watch. Parisian Style... Chanel. Favourite fashion designer/label... Scotch & Soda.

PETER, 67, SELF-EMPLOYED HUSBAND

DSC_0993.jpg

Beanie: TCM Jacket: Baum Sweater: Ralph Lauren Jeans: Levis Bag: Lichtblick Shoes: Lunge

Style... reflects your attitude to life. Minutes spent on getting ready in the morning today... 10.
If you could keep one piece of your current outfit, which one would it be? No preference. For me, everything is equal. What do you wear every single day? My ring. Someone gave it to me out of gratitude that I didn’t kill him. It was on Gozo in 1973. I got invited to a birthday party. A lot of wine, you can imagine. I was playing with my knife. All of a sudden, a guy came up to me and called me a thief, a liar. When I went outside, he waylaid me and claimed that I stole his knife. I almost killed him but then he apologised for the misunderstanding. Apparently, he coincidentally had the same knife as I had. From this day on, he invited me for free drinks and food. In the end, he got me this ring. Parisian Style... I think of cafés, erotic clothing and post women. I had a love affair with a post woman in Paris in 1974/75 . It’s also easier to park your car there. Favourite fashion designer/label... My wife. She owns a fashion shop just around the corner. She has a great fashion style and only wears clothes from the 50s and 70s. Pretty much everything I have is from her. I also don’t see the point of haircuts. It’s my wife who sometimes cuts my beard so that she can kiss me.

SOPHIE NICKEL, 22, PSYCHOLOGY STUDENT AND MODEL

DSC_1075.jpg

Coat: vintage Scarf: Monki Sweater: H&M Pants: Weekday Shoes: Nike

Style... is less. Minutes spent on getting ready in the morning today... 2. If you could keep one piece of your current outfit, which one would it be? My coat. I love vintage and I will probably have it for the next 1000 years. What do you wear every single day? My necklace that I got in Thailand. Parisian Style... Très chic, haute couture, wealthy. Favourite fashion designer/label... Do you know Demobaza? Check it out, they have great stuff.

JULIAN, 22, FROM MUNICH 

DSC_1013.JPG

Beanie: H&M Coat: American Apparel Pants: H&M Backpack: Tommy Hilfiger Watch: Casio
Shoes: New Balance

Style... is self-confidence. Minutes spent on getting ready in the morning today... 4. If you could keep one piece of your current outfit, which one would it be? My pants because they fit perfectly. What do you wear every single day? My watch. Parisian Style... Légère and grungy. Cigarettes and baguettes. Favourite fashion designer/label... Comme des Garçons.

MI, 24, EXCHANGE STUDENT FROM KOREA

DSC_1056.JPG

Beanie: Zara Coat: vintage Bag: from my roommate Belt: vintage Shoes: Grenson

Style... is in the eye of the beholder. Minutes spent on getting ready in the morning today... 22. If you could keep one piece of your current outfit, which one would it be? My coat. What do you wear every single day? A ring I got from my mother before I came here. Parisian Style... Chic. Simple. Cheeky. Natural. Favourite fashion designer/label... Rei Kawakubo.

ABDUL, 25, STUDENT

DSC_1038.JPG

Coat: German Armed Forces Pants: H&M Backpack: Herschel Shoes: Adidas

Style... means to be true to oneself. Minutes spent on getting ready in the morning today... 2. 
If you could keep one piece of your current outfit, which one would it be? The pants because I don’t have any others that are similar to those ones. What do you wear every single day? A necklace with an anchor from a very good friend. Whoops, see, I didn’t wear it today. Parisian Style... Extravagance. Favourite fashion designer/label... Scotch & Soda.

ANINA, 24, PHOTOGRAPHY INTERN

DSC_1024.JPG

Coat: Forever 21 Scarf: Zara Pants: Levis Bag: Secondhand Shoes: vintage

Style... is expressing one’s individuality. Minutes spent on getting ready in the morning today... Seven. If you could keep one piece of your current outfit, which one would it be? The coat because it took me a while to find a coat like that. What do you wear every single day? This bracelet. I got it when I was volunteering for a jewellery stand at an African festival. Parisian Style... Feminine, casual, self-confident. Favourite fashion designer/label... Saint Laurent.

After having spent 11 cold hours in the Schanzenviertel, I was happy to end my day with some grilled fish and steamed vegetables (Mr. Lagerfeld would appreciate) in a warm restaurant close by. I was running out of paper and decided to take my notes on paper plates, which evoked some curious looks by the other guests. Without doubt, people who observed me in this (pretty small) district on that day in March must have thought that I was a little bit gaga. 

Anyway, what is my conclusion? In terms of their style, it is evident that Hamburgers give less of a shit than Parisians do. All clichés aside, they are definitely less chic. Wearing some sort of track pants is, unlike in the fashion capital, a common practice. One can also spot more people wearing trainers and backpacks. Levis jeans and secondhand clothes are pretty popular too. In general, it is more laid back. Germans take it easy, they like it comfortable. To quote Karl Lagerfeld again:

"Hamburg is the gateway to the world. But only the gateway.”

Cigarettes, extravagance and chic, erotic clothing are the first things that pop up in the German mind when thinking about Paris. I can’t hide a smile when writing down Captain Angelo's love story with the then 41-year old French actress Eve. He was only 18 when she taught him how to make love. According to the Greek sailor one needs a teacher to learn how to make love, how to play music and how to dress yourself.”  

The €8,50 meal arrives sooner than I expected. I am wondering if Parisians are as quick as Hamburgers in getting ready and choosing their outfit in the morning? Will they also tell me about their crazy adventures in the 70s? Well, I guess that calls for a street style tour in the City of Lights.   

Image Credit: Mia Windisch-Graetz