A profile of new shop Konzept 86 at the WYE and a chat with its mastermind Niccolò Montanari.
The quest of the fledgling fashion designer is a difficult one. A new label needs not only a creative mind behind it, but also a PR team to head up promotion, a memorable first fashion show to generate press interest and buyers to deem the label commercially viable enough to stock in their stores. All before the first consum er is able to pick a single item off a clothes rail.
Niccolò Montanari and his team decided to streamline the process by opening Konzept 86, a space for young local and international designers to both sell their wares to the public and present collection samples to the Berlin fashion industry. For the price of renting a rail in the store on which to hang their collection, designers also receive marketing help from Montanari and his team, who host regular promotion events.
“Designers contact us through our blog, and we hand-pick each label to make sure the quality meets a high standard,” Montanari explains. “Some are already established in their own countries and just want to get a foot in the door in the German market; others simply want a place to sell.”
There is an inspired mix of 10 labels currently on display in the store, including menswear staples by Steal Berlin, covetable Marni-esque woven jackets by Italian label Miryaki, opulent knitwear by Greek designer Vasso Consola and streetwear by Belgian label OMSK. Who said the dream of a united Europe is over?
The store is on the ground floor of the WYE, formerly part of the Deutsche Post building on Skalitzer Straße, now a 2000sqm hive of creative activity including coworking spaces, event rooms and the new home of the Berlin Film Society. Konzept 86 retains elements of its former incarnation with neon strip lighting and elaborate wall decorations fashioned from the post office’s old window blinds.
Most importantly, it continues to support and showcase an eclectic mix of young designers and does so without pretension or charging crazy prices. A real breath of fresh air in Berlin.
Konzept 86 will be taking part in the WYEnachtsmarkt festivities on December 15 and 16. Check it out in our events calendar here.