Forget about schicki micki Mitte – if you want to find that startling statement piece that shouts ‘you’, head to Neukölln (and more precisely to the Chrome Store)
When I went to visit Chrome Store, I imagined it would be like any other vintage shop from Berlin: a mix of hipsterish items, bohemian hats, garish ‘90s pieces… all with price tags that make you forget that vintage clothes were once the thrifty way to stand out.
But hey – you’re in a nice shop, with clean clothes-racks, and one cute shop assistant. That’s the price you pay.
To my surprise, Chrome Store on Lenaustraße was a different story. Warm and welcoming, owner Jochen has brought something back to Berlin (and to me). Something I’ve not experienced here in a very long time.
It’s a place that sells a mix of vintage clothes and work by Berlin designers and has a kind of showroom atmosphere but without the snobby looks and the embarrassment of looking at a price tag and realizing that garment costs more than your rent. Instead, Chrome Store has a comfort – a rather modest, intimate interaction.
Jochen told me the idea behind the store: to bring Berlin fashion to Berlin, meaning that many Berlin designers who might show their work at Berlin Fashion Week still don’t have any stores or retail-space in Berlin to sell their designs. Chrome Stores offers many of these designers a little heimat in which to sell their pieces.
The idea originally came from Jochen’s need to leave behind his academic career and – long story short – he took advantage of the fact that his boyfriend Christian is a fashion stylist who collects many designer pieces.
Christian happened to have an amount of good, branded vintage clothing left over from his work, with many of them having only been worn once for a photoshoot. What could someone possibly do with such a collection? No, not wear them… Think again. Chrome Store was born in August 2015.
The shop is located in Neukölln, the kiez in which Jochen has lived for over 15 years now. Neukölln’s also a perfect spot for it, with its connection to a fashion scene which has led or influenced the work of many of Berlin’s young designers.
The list of Berlin designers sold at Chrome Store is quite big, featuring Hien Le, GOETZE, Thone Negrón, Das Cape Mädchen, Maiami, Vladimir Karaleev, Boessert/Schorn, Franzius, Augustin Teboul. Clothing racks are divided into women’s, men, Berlin Designers and sports vintage. From Prada to Cheap Monday.
I asked Jochen, what could someone find in your shop? “Anything” he answered, showing me pieces that could maybe fit my mom back in Brazil (I may let your imagination flow here) along with other outfits you could definitely see in the Berghain queue on any given Sunday.
I look around a bit more and my eyes spot these exquisite vases made by Michal Fargo, an Israeli designer based in London, next to a few original vintage pots from the Soviet Union, objects that gave a lot of personality to the space and to the range of products – after all, everything there is for sale.
My ‘fashion me’ also fell in love with some tiny bags from Prada – I forgot how that felt after so long in Berlin. If you are on the hunt for that marvellous piece, I strongly recommend Chrome Store.
Chrome Store will also take part in the next Neukölln Shopping Nacht, with 10% discount on selected items.