Upcycling at its best : Atelier Akeef
By Sarah Luisa Santos . February 20, 2014
Having a stroll around Mitte you may find, next to many other shops, Atelier Akeef. And, with a neighbourhood full with well known brands, what makes this store so special?
To begin with, the founders, Alan Sommerville and Michael Ashley, have giving a relaxed atmosphere to the space, which was made with upcycled wood, sustainable clay and non-toxic colourants, making the interior design a statement for what the shop stands for: eco-friendly and sustainable menswear products.
Betting on brands they believe in instead of fashion trends, Alan and Michael have a keen eye for quality and style when choosing products for Akeef, working with labels from Europe, Japan and North America.
With the prerogative “style is something that can be achieved over the long term and that quality is its cornerstone”, Michael spoke to us about how their main focus at the moment is to build a strong brand list and get the customers to understand what they are doing and why they have chosen these brands.
For example, the Atelier Awash is a label that produces all their items using organic fabrics that are custom woven in family-run studios in Tuscany, reusing discarded materials like coconut shells to make the shirt buttons. Another stocked brand, Elvis and Kresse, produce bags, belts and wallets out of recycled hoses from the London Fire Brigade – waterproof and durable.
Another interesting point about the concept of the shop is their tagging system. Each tag comes with a brief description about how the product is either eco-friendly or sustainable. The point here is not only to make the costumer confident with the product they are buying, but also with the way this was made possible, with ethics and environmental consciousness.
And why open a shop in Berlin? Co-founder Michael Ashley happily answered:
“ I think Berlin is such a young city, so it is open to so many new things. It gives people who have a idea the chance to make it happen. There are very few stores here, so people can really define a concept and stand out when it’s done well. I think Berliners also see the importance of supporting independent stores, as they know it’s good for the city, keeping it vibrant and interesting. I’d like to think that a store like ours would work in London, but the market is so saturated and so many stores have all the same brands, it’s difficult to make your mark there – unlike Berlin.”
Definitely, Berlin is a city for new ideas. And, for those who are thinking about stopping by Atelier Akeef, here comes two products tips from Michael:
“For me, I love denim – I’m one of those guys that has to wear a pair everyday for minimum 6 months, I normally go longer, but friends usually stop wanting to hang out with me! So I would recommend our new denim brand Kings Of Indigo, their denim is made out of organic & recycled cotton, with natural indigo.”
“And, for a gift for Valentine’s Day it has to be the shaving set from Mühle, along with its cremes and face wash.”
Location: Max-Beer-Str. 31, Berlin-Mitte. U-Bhf Weinmeisterstr.