Culture + Style

When Off-the-Shelf Isn’t Enough: Tailor-Made Berlin Shopping

Head to a Berlin tailor for bespoke looks. (Photo: Alamy)

Thanks to an uptick in bespoke tailors and boutiques, Berlin is quickly becoming a haven for high-end shoppers looking for one-of-a-kind wearables.

Off-the-shelf style is no longer good enough for fashion-forward luxe lovers, and celebrities like George Clooney and Claudia Schiffer now flock to Berlin’s luxury tailors for their next killer outfits.

Here are a few of the best tailor-made shopping experiences that can be had in the German capital.

Ali Thompson’s Boutique

A discreet and experienced fashion designer who has worked with some of the world’s top fashion houses, Ali Thompson runs an award-winning boutique tailor shop in the heart of Berlin’s cultural district.

Berlin shopping
Ali Thompson works with a variety of special materials including lace and beadwork. (Photo: Alamy)

Ali’s wedding dresses, prom dresses and designer kidswear are each designed from scratch and made to measure, incorporating some of the world’s most prized materials, including silk, pearls and fine lace. Ali’s wedding dresses have garnered international acclaim and were recently showcased in the lobby of a top Paris hotel.

Volkmar Arnulf Studio

Located at the heart of Kurfürstendamm, Berlin’s Savile Row, Volkmar Arnulf’s design studio has proved popular with celebrities and politicians since it opened more than 60 years ago. Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who was never seen out of a tailored designer suit, was a regular visitor here.

Volkmar says that he doesn’t design fashion, he creates style, and this really shows in his made-to-measure suits. Buyers consult with Volkmar’s design team as they research what styles, materials and cuts the buyer prefers, ensuring that no two suits are ever the same.

Chelsea Farmer’s Club

When shoppers step into this central Berlin suit boutique, they could easily be forgiven for thinking that they were in an English country house. Hunting jackets made from tweed, dinner suits made from silk, and chino trousers from the finest cotton twill are all made to order for the discerning gentleman — and there’s even a whiskey bar and Italian restaurant in the back of the shop.

A visit to Chelsea Farmer’s Club is more than just a shopping experience, it is a journey through time. Safari chairs and leather suitcases, heavy wooden suitcases filled with old books and memorabilia from around the world, and hunting guns lining the walls all add to the experience.

Berlin shopping
Get measured and fitted then procure your custom-designed suit. (Photo: Alamy)

Konk

Konk is a collaboration between Berlin-based fashion designers and artists, each offering their own unique styles to the discerning shopper. It was established in 2003 by Ettina Berrios-Negrón, and Ettina soon decided to invite young designers to join her in the studio.

Berlin’s celebs can often be seen visiting the grand-looking building to buy one-off dresses, tops, pants and shirts from designers like Annette Koelling, Naoko Ogawa, Nico Sutor and James Castle. Visitors choose who they want to work with based on previous designs, arrange a meeting with the chosen designer, and are then measured and consulted to find the perfect fit.

Frau Tonis Parfum

berlin shopping
Find a custom scent at Frau Tonis Parfum. (Photo: Courtesy of Frau Tonis Parfum)

What does every fashionista need to complete her style? A uniquely designed single-bottle perfume, of course. Shoppers looking for their own signature scent can create one with the assistance of expert perfumers at Frau Tonis Parfum.

Rave reviews from the likes of the Wall Street Journal and Vogue, and its listing in the 2015 Louis Vuitton Berlin city guide, offer insight into why the perfumer is a unique offering in this fashionable city. Shoppers are asked a few simple questions, offered a few sample scents, and perfumes are then combined to create signature scents using smells like lavender, woods, spices, herbs and berries. You won’t find identical perfumes anywhere else on earth.