Thanks to its unique mixture of old-world charm and eclectic creativity, Berlin is a shopper’s paradise. The city becomes a veritable fashion capital during the exquisite fashion shows and events of the biannual Berlin Fashion Week, and trade events like Bread & Butter regularly encourage local and international designers to highlight their work in showrooms and boutiques here. From extravagant designer shopping malls and high-end fashion boutiques to artisan handcraft producers, antique markets, and vintage stores, Berlin has something for everyone.
The city’s history plays an important part in its geography. Because Berlin was divided by the Berlin Wall for so many years, there is no pedestrian zone or single city center like in many other European cities. Instead Berlin has many different areas to explore and pockets of retailers are spread throughout its neighborhoods.
The city’s most glamorous shopping can be done near Mitte’s Friedrichstrasse and in the West Berlin promenade Kurfürstendamm, known as the Shopping Mile and home to the luxurious Kaufhaus des Westens department store, as well as many designer and big name international brands. But the charming side streets around Mitte’s Torstrasse and Hackescher Markt have become a much more popular destination for shopping in the city, with chic designers opening up ateliers and concept shops.
For the fashionable bohemian set, designer labels have less appeal here than elsewhere. You’ll see many of the young and trendy favoring high-end street wear paired with vintage items that appear to have cost not much more than a Brötchen (bread roll). The eastern neighborhoods of Kreuzberg and Neukölln are home to a growing number of vintage and secondhand shops, and the city has a wonderful collection of flea markets that operate year-round. You’ll see modern influences of Berlin’s Bauhaus architecture movement in many of shops, incorporated into the store displays or as part of the home decor items. Near West Berlin’s charming Savignyplatz, the Stilwerk interior design center and surrounding design and home stores on Kantstrasse have become the design hub for the city. For shoppers looking for more price-conscious home furnishings, Neukölln offers several vintage furniture shops featuring Danish and Scandinavian home decor.