United in fashion

Konzept 86 is a new platform for fledgling designers to strut their stuff and sell their wares. We take a peek inside and chat with Niccolò Montanari.

Image for United in fashion
Photo by Marta Dominguez

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.