With collection titles such as “Leave the Money in the Office” and “Contemporary Totem” – an homage to fashion’s deities – Julia Heuse and Ben Klunker show a satirical sense of humour rarely seen in the world of Berlin design. The pair met at top Berlin fashion school ESMOD and were attracted to each other’s maverick style: Julia recalls the frustration at being told her clothes were too unconventional, and Ben became the college’s enfant terrible by quitting with a harshly worded open letter to the school just months before graduation.
Julia and Ben started their eponymous label four years ago in the back room of a Mitte art gallery that Ben then ran; despite its discreet location at the end of Torstraße, their boutique is now a deserving fashion landmark. Sleek and minimalist, it houses the men’s wear and women’s wear collections, which are both defined by form-challenging cuts, draped sheer fabrics, and marbled bold prints. The upstairs atelier reveals the madness behind the method as reams of jersey undergo experimental dyeing techniques. It is often a complex alchemy: “I learned from an internet site how to use rusty nails on fabric for a great effect,” Ben reveals – proof that the quest for the perfect print is never over.
The launch of the Contemporary Totem collection, which includes skin-tight perforated leggings, tie-dye t-shirts and charcoal leather tunics, was marked with the introduction of a limited edition range of “Totem” t-shirts. These are currently emblazoned with an illustrated totem pole featuring the head of legendary style blogger Diane Pernet, and each season will honour a new fashion god.