One more way to go sustainable in fashion: SHIO
By Sarah Luisa Santos . March 4, 2014
Neukölln Shopping Nacht is coming in its second edition, and Berlin Loves You is proud to announce that this time we are partnering up with DBR to present NSN#2. So for this month we will be featuring the many different shops taking part in the event.
First up is SHIO, located in Weichselstrasse.
Owned by Kate Pinkstone, SHIO is not like a regular second hand shop. The idea first came to her while she was working in a vintage shop, selling clothes in Berlin markets, and at the same time assisting label Mika Modiggård with sewing and pattern-making. Mika proved to be a huge source of inspiration for Kate, especially her views on ethical and sustainable fashion.
Two years ago, Kate faced a dilemma. With her visa rapidly expiring, there was a do or die moment – she took the gamble of starting the business she’d always wanted. SHIO was born.
And, as a very curious person about how people end up with successful businesses, or when that “a-ha” moment happened that they realized THAT is the place they should be at, I asked Kate how she ended up in Neukölln, a area that is relatively quite new to the Berlin fashion scene.
“To be honest, in the beginning I was looking for a shop-front anywhere in Prenzlauerberg, Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Neukölln. I knew I had to take anything I could get because I knew how competitive it was to find a space. I also had a budget. But funny thing is it was really by fate that I walked past a bike store on Weichselstraße with a “Zu Vermieten” sign in the window. I immediately rang the doorbell and was so lucky to be greeted by a lovely guy called Jeroen, who became a good friend and a big help in securing the space and the changeover process with the Hausverwaltung (German bureaucracy!). I was so happy to find a shop in this neighborhood as I could already see developments with a beautiful designer shop “Wesen” just around the corner, cute Vintage store “Let Them Eat Cake” in walking distance and my favorite bar “Nathanja & Heinrich” was just down the road. I knew there were a lot of nice ‘hole in the wall’ bars all along Weserstraße and thought it could be a great thing to contribute to balancing out the number of bars with another shopping point.”
Definitely was a fortunate choice. And in what sense SHIO differs from any other second hand or vintage shop?
“When it comes to selling pieces from other designers, the focus is mainly on handmade pieces, or those produced ethically in Berlin. You won’t find anything mass-produced here. These pieces co-exist with both selected vintage and up-cycled clothing that I source from various Trödelmarkts in and around Berlin. The second-hand clothing that I up-cycle to new garments is usually chosen if I am attracted to its fabric or print. If these pieces contain a lot of fabric then the possibilities for their transformation are endless. Some pieces already have a great shape but are just too large and in need a bit of re-sizing. My designs aesthetic is street-wear with an edge so I’m not so much into crazy ‘80s silhouettes, but if something has a great print, I’ll grab it anyway and simplify it into something more wearable in day-to-day life. I have a strict ‘no shoulder pads’ policy unless it’s in a tailored jacket.”
Talking about style, as you said not being a huge fan of the ‘80s (I do think that not everything is for everybody, especially volume on the shoulders!), how do you find fashion here in Berlin? What do you think is so different from Australia, for example?
“I find people in Berlin really use fashion to express themselves and no one is afraid to dress how they really feel. When I think of Berlin fashion the themes cool, casual and comfortable come to mind whereas when I think of Australian fashion I can’t help but think of high heels and short cocktail dresses in the thousands on a Saturday night. I think this has a lot to do with money as in Berlin there are a lot of students, artists and designers on a tight budget and this forces them to get creative with fashion, as in Australia a lot of people have a disposable income to splash out on a new dress for every weekend.”
I could not agree more, style definitely has no link to money, and here in Berlin people do get very creative in that matter. And when it comes to looking at other peoples’ styles, have you noticed anything particularly trendy?
“I’ve noticed this winter that I can’t walk down the street without seeing someone wearing a large brightly-colored African-print scarf. I think everyone is aware that winter brings a lot of dark colors so these scarves have been the perfect accessory to brighten up any winter outfit. I’ve also noticed in the store I am selling a lot of bright colors and prints as I think people are growing tired of their monotone wardrobe, myself included.”
I am very happy to hear that, especially after the very dark, black and white last Berlin Fashion Week. So, do you have any tip from SHIO, for those who are looking for more style in their wardrobe?
“In store right now we have the “Blemished Cotton” collection – beautiful hand-printed and hand-sewn skirts. The skirts are a collaboration project between ‘Benatan’ (Maya Ben Natan) and Shio (myself) and come in two styles: pencil and casual. Each skirt is 100% Cotton with a unique permanent print. We also make to order to cater for specific body types and color requests.”
Great, good to know that SHIO have this customized service. So, for those who want to either drop by Neukölln Shopping Nacht, or simply visit SHIO, here is some more information about the shop:
SHIO- In-house handmade Fashion Label (By Kate Pinkstone – Australian-born, Berlin based)
Osmers – Handmade Fashion Collection (By Julia Osmers – German-born, Berlin based)
Mika Moddigard – Organic and Sustainable Fashion (By Mika Modiggård – Swedish-born, Berlin based)
Benatan – Handprinted and Hand-Sewn Accessories (By Maya Ben Natan – Israeli-born, Berlin based)
PastPerfekt – Lighting and Jewellery (By Kelly Tivnan – American-born, Berlin based)
Federica Rezzi – Contemporary Metalwork Jewellery (By Federica Rezzi – Italian-born, Berlin based)
Avant – Handmade Jewellery (By Katharina Kiessler – German-born, Berlin based)
Weichselstrasse, 59, 12045, Berlin
Photos by © Sima Ebrahimi for SemiDomesticated (http://semidomesticated.com/