Berlin’s fashion identity is shaping up to us as a city of incredibly creative designers, upcyclers and game-changers, with a focus on originality and the environment. In 2013 the city launched “Yesterday’s trash is today’s treasure”, an art exhibition at the Spreepark, showcasing a scala of upcycled fashion and today the city bares the largest community of upcyclers in Europe.
One of the designers that exhibited at the Spreepark art fair is Wilfried Pletzinger, whose collection we got to see at this year’s Berlin Alternative Fashion Week. His designs are hard to miss, standing out for their signature sporty silhouettes full of bright popping colours. “I’m quite a sporty guy myself, this is where my inspiration comes from”- he told us at the designer fair during BAFW and continued saying “at the same time I’m very environmentally-conscious, in my design process as well as in my private life.”
Glancing at the garments up close, one wouldn’t think these pieces to be upcycled, testament to the skillful hands and creative vision of the designer who has taught design and textiles at several schools varying from secondary education- for teens interested in fashion- to curious actual fashion students in academies- before starting his own label in 2009. “Look at all these different colours, logo’s and animal prints”- he ads while pointing at his collection at display- “It’s happy, edgy and energetic- I love that about sportswear and this is what I’d like to bring to the street.” Before me stands a down to earth man who is passionate about his work and fashion, packed with a great sense of humour- all traced back in his unique design esthétique.
In a world wherein the past is often leading, Wilfried Pletzinger focuses on the future. He cuts and weaves history in to garments given life anew, creating a dialogue between the integrity of the fabrics and the wearer’s character. Glancing at Pletzinger’s past collections, these are artful sporty silhouettes never seen before. The designs are fun, innovative and full of energy, lifting between edgy and glamour, with a hint of 70’s and 80’s- ranging from extravagant pieces to casual comfy streetwear. A hockey jersey is turned into an evening dress and a sleeping bag and vest have become a colourful jacket. Standing out is a swimsuit that is playfully cut on the chest, fused with hockey shoulder pads gracefully leaning on the hips, with mounds of overpowering blue tulle draping from them on each side- very feminine and elegant in its own right.
Pletzinger presented his latest collection here at Berlin Alternative Fashion Week, during REUSE:IT, a program focusing on vintage and upcycled fashion. He gave an array of silhouettes in a palette of yellow, blue, red, orange and purple. A lion growls on a V-neck ensemble, a bull is ready to kick off on a baseball jacket and a polar bear shows his claws on a hockey dress that is elongated with gauze from bottom down.
I imagine these clothes on the street, simultaneously turning the city in to a play field, with people forming teams and unities- spontaneously indulging in a game- getting along, solving their differences through healthy fun competition.