Last, but definitely not least in our Why Berlin series, is Herbert Hofmann, Creative Director and Buyer of Voo Berlin. Read our interview below to learn more about his experience in Berlin’s vibrant menswear industry:
What do you do in the fashion industry?
I’m a buyer and creative director for Voo Berlin. I do a lot of research and traveling to discover new labels, keeping my eyes and ears open at all times. I’m always looking to gain inspiration for new retail methods or ways to showcase brands. We attend many showroom appointments, where we pick the pieces of the collections that we like the most.
What first drew you to work in menswear? Why buying?
I’ve loved interesting fabrics and combining clothing since I was very young. I studied geography because I was equally interested in observing and learning about patterns. My many interests in analytics, systems, patterns, mathematics and fashion finally came together when I got a job offer to do buying. So why buying? Because it’s like running a blog, except you can’t just say ‚”I like this and it will be big next year.” There are budgets involved, so certainty is crucial.
What made you decide to move to Berlin? How long have you been there?
I finished schooling in Austria after studying in Sweden for a while. Stockholm was my base until I visited Berlin a few times and fell in love with the laid-back atmosphere and the startup feeling you get when you’re here. I moved here with a bag of clothes, a bed and a budget to last me 3 months. It has been almost 8 years now!
What are some of your favorite trends right now?
I still appreciate the trend of wearing comfortable shoes with a dressy look. Sneakers are still strong and so are sandals. For summer, I appreciate the popularity of shorts among men. Some look almost like skirts!
Which trends do you predict will rise in popularity on the Berlin fashion scene?
I guess the Berlin-look, which basically looks like the Vetements runway will get stronger. The second-hand aesthetic, oversized and worn out silhouette, redone fabrics and cuts have been are prevalent in recent years. Now they’ve been defined for a high-end fashion crowd. The kinky and rough has become more commercial amongst girls, who usually dress more glamorously.
Who has been instrumental in the shaping of Berlin’s recent fashion trends?
I would say Berlin’s Fashion trends are very much inspired by the party scene. What you see on the dance floors of techno clubs comes to the streets quite fast. And then it’s, of course, Berlin’s shops and influencers who promote that style.
Who are your favorite German designers? We all know Hugo Boss, Jil Sander, and Escada, are there any up and coming designers that should be on our radar?
I’m a big fan of Tuldam and Hien Le, Goetze and A Kind of Guise. The sunglasses brand Mykita is producing amazing glasses around the corner from our shop and they’ve been quite successful!!
Until recently, Berlin has not been ranked among the world’s fashion capitals. How has Berlin increased its presence in the industry and how will it continue to influence international style?
When you come to Berlin, or live here, you don’t focus on your style so much. It’s about being laid back and going to a club without dressing up (or rather, dressing down to be comfortable to dance for 18 hours). This easiness inspires people I guess. That’s why sneakers and silk dresses became popular and why it’s possible to go to a fancy restaurant in casual attire now. You don’t dress for certain occasions, you just wear what you like.
What makes Berlin unique from other fashion capitals?
Berlin isn’t the place where fashion generates a lot of capital/revenue. The industry is rather weak. That’s one of the reasons why the fashion crowd is taking it easy and not becoming crazed over each and every trend.
How is technology changing the day-to-day lives of people in Berlin?
Networking, and just meeting people in general, has changed a lot through dating and professional applications. The internet is especially important to see what happens all over the world, and it impacts every city and its inhabitants. As a result, we have all become closer.
Berlin also has a growing startup scene- does this influence the fashion scene at all? If yes, then how so?
The startup scene is huge but it’s not often about fashion. It’s more about food, dating and music.
What are your favorite apps?
Spotify. When I’m not talking to people, I’m listening to music.
Favorite e-commerce sites?
Good question! I’m not used to shopping online and had to get familiar with online business. With our website www.vooberlin.com, selling isn’t the priority, our main goal is to inspire. Experts tell us not to show the faces of our models and to focus more on the products, but that’s not how we want it. I’m still happy with our way of doing e-commerce.
Thank you, Herbert!