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Danny Reinke

Collection Recap

For his latest collection, designer Danny Reinke dug into his own family heritage and shines a light on the dying profession of the Baltic fisherman. “The collection is a symbol for sustainability, merging aspects of sustainable fashion production with the eco-friendly methods of fishing,” he explains. Reflecting both the landscape and traditional fishermen’s workwear, the collection stays true to his theme with a color spectrum that ranges from sand to gray to various shades of blue and yellow. “It has an almost theatrical mood,” Danny Reinke says. A mix of materials and textures was also present, with tulle ruffles that evoke diverse sea life combined with lacquered textiles reminiscent of fisherman’s waterproof clothing. Beadwork with Swarovski crystals alludes to the pearly reflections of fish scales, adding a certain sophistication and finesse. To convey a feeling of homey comfort, the designer introduced elaborate down jackets and coats that beg to be wrapped up in, whether you just got off a boat or not. To complete his leitmotiv, the collection featured typical sou’wester rain hats and long gloves. With this collection, Danny Reinke makes a statement that draws attention to an overlooked way of life – a life he lets us see through his own eyes, at once elevating and fully celebrating it.

Watch the full Danny Reinke AW21 show here.

dannyreinke.com

instagram/danny.reinke

text by Kelly Niesen

edited by Melissa Frost

featured image: Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images for MBFW

MBFW-Through-my-phone-Aeyde-collage

(A Day) Through My Phone: Aeyde

Diary

By now it seems quite natural to capture small slices of our everyday lives in pictures – it’s almost automatic. We took the occasion of MBFW Berlin as an excuse to ask some designers to make a point of it – and, of course, to share some exclusive insights into their daily work routine. One of those designers is Luisa Dames from Aeyde.

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1. My start to the day! Appropriately dressed in cream – my response to the snow flurries.

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2. I’m at aeyde headquarters today making the final preparations for DER BERLINER SALON. This is our boot: Ina in Black Dot Python, handmade in Italy.

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3. A little more glam…Here are our Linda Earrings in 18k gold plate. 

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4. Final lookbook presentation for the Spring/Summer 2021 collection in our new color, khaki. These are the Moa Ballerinas in khaki nappa leather, handmade in Italy.

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5. Final lookbook presentation for the Spring/Summer 2021 collection on launch day. These are our Linda Earrings in 18k gold plate.

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6. Back home…my sweet home!

Luisa Dames from Aeyde is showing select pieces from the label’s latest collection at GROUP EXHIBITION in DER BERLINER SALON × MBFW.

Find out more about Aeyde:

aeyde.com

instagram.com/thisisaeyde

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Lana Mueller

Collection Recap

Best known for show-stopping couture pieces and red carpet evening gowns, designer Lana Mueller went in a different direction for her Fall/Winter 20/21 collection. Inspired by the ubiquitous subjects of climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, Lana Mueller created her first largely sustainable ready-to-wear collection. “I am taking a new path as a designer and with the collection, one that I like to call LANA MUELLER FEELS GREEN,” the designer says. To that end, the latest collection features GOTS-certified organic cotton jersey fabrics and is not solely comprised of elegant dresses – it also includes suits and jumpsuits, another first for the Berlin-based fashion designer. The events of the past year have made her reflect on her work and the message she wants to send with her clothes: “Purely red carpet-worthy looks, or the idea of wearing a dress just for one night…that seems outdated to me. It’s a pointless waste of resources and materials, especially considering that we spend most of our time at home these days. I wanted to create something that brings joy to women and is very versatile,” she explains.

For Lana Mueller, this translates into a casual collection with a fresh color palette: coral, mint or moss green to “offset the darker days.” And when this designer makes a jumpsuit, you know there will be some sort of luxe twist. In this case, the pieces aren’t done up with buttons or zippers, but tied with a specific knot technique. The concept of making her designs sustainable, and how that’s evolved for her label, seems to have brought on a change in the designer herself – maybe even in a more lasting way: “Once I started thinking about sustainability, I couldn’t stop. I know that LANA MUELLER FEELS GREEN is just the first step on my journey.”

Watch the full Lana Mueller AW21 show here.

instagram.com/lanamuellerofficial

lanamueller.com

 

text by Kelly Niesen

edited by Melissa Frost

featured image: Photo by Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images for MBFW

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Rebekka Ruétz

Collection Recap

Designer Rebekka Ruétz decided to present one cohesive annual collection for her eponymous label. Merging two seasons – the Spring/Summer 2021 collection placID and the Fall/Winter 21/22 collection reSET – into one, her show was influenced by the events and challenges of the past year. “We are all being forced to go new ways, to slow down, to see everything from a distance. This offers us a possibility to rearrange things, to re-prioritize, even to reinvent ourselves,” the show notes stated. The designer took further inspiration from the Zillertal, a picturesque Tyrolean valley ideal for hiking and skiing. Presenting calm, down-to-earth looks that fit the theme, the Spring/Summer pieces reference the forest, dandelions, mountain lakes and playful mushroom spores. The designer incorporated upcycled orientation maps from the region, mixing them with colored denim and mesh. Soothing colors such as moss green, eggshell white and night black are complemented by burnt violet, blue and khaki – vibrant orange and lush green provide contrast. Relaxed silhouettes and unstructured shapes strengthen the underlying attitude of both collections. The Fall/Winter reSET pieces are dominated by “invitingly sublime and majestic yet formidably distant” images of mountains, but also by images of tracks in the snow “as a sign of human existence.” Comforting materials such as cotton and wool are the predominant choice, while fake fur is introduced as a symbol of animal protection. The colors: midnight black, cold-bleached beige and crisp white complemented by mountain blue, forest gray, snow white and raven black. To conclude, the show notes stated that “the pieces […] cannot save the world, but will focus on the beautiful and thus ease our everyday.”

Watch the full Rebekka Ruétz show AW21 here.

instagram/rebekkaruetz

rebekkaruetz.com

text by Kelly Niesen

edited by Melissa Frost

featured image: Jenny Haimerl

MBFW-through-my-phone-rianna-nina-collage

(A Day) Through My Phone: Rianna + Nina

Diary

By now it seems quite natural to capture small slices of our everyday lives in pictures – it’s almost automatic. We took the occasion of MBFW Berlin as an excuse to ask some designers to make a point of it – and, of course, to share some exclusive insights into their daily work routine. One of those designers is Rianna Kounou from RIANNA + NINA.

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1. Luckily, I can still work from our atelier with my select team of highly qualified master artisans in the fields of sewing, embroidery and cutting. In Berlin, we produce our one-of-a-kind designs, ready-to-wear collections and our latest capsule collection in collaboration with Swarovski – for this one, hand-selected vintage fabrics were enhanced with upcycled Swarovski crystals. The resulting one-of-a-kind, iconic pieces embody our truly defining passion for color and high standards in quality and manufacturing.

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2. I have been curating vintage fashion, specializing in high-quality fabrics and designs from the 1920s through the late 80s, for about 30 years now. For this Flared Coat Exklusive Swarovski, vintage gobelin and jacquard fabrics were decorated with Matyó embroidery from the 1950s and enhanced with a selection of discarded crystals and pearls.

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3. RIANNA + NINA embraces timeless and elegant fashion. Many of our pieces are one size and body inclusive, so every woman can emphasize her individual beauty. At our atelier, we work with made-to-order production that makes every design special to its owner – for lifelong joy.

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4. The Flared Coat Exklusive Swarovski was finished in our Berlin atelier over the course of many days, working long hours to create this extraordinary artwork. Every embellishment and crystal was carefully hand-selected and sewn on. I found the inspiration for this very special design on my past trip to London while visiting the Natural History Museum. Concentrating on animal motifs and nature-inspired patterns, the collection thrives on art as well as references to nature.

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5. Seeing a design being fitted for the first time is always very exciting. This collection in particular is very significant for me. The intricate handwork makes these pieces more than just luxurious fashion – they are a selection of the finest couture designs and truly wearable works of art that we are very proud to present at DER BERLINER SALON. 

Rianna Kounou and Nina Knaudt, the two designers behind RIANNA + NINA, will show select pieces from their latest collection at GROUP EXHIBITION in DER BERLINER SALON × MBFW.

Find out more about RIANNA + NINA:

riannaandnina.com

instagram.com/riannaandnina

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ELI by Elias Rumelis

Collection Recap

How do you go through the process of reinvention without losing your core self? Designer Elias Rumelis can certainly say a thing or two about that. Informally known as the godfather of denim, the designer has launched multiple brands over the course of his career – each with a slightly different focus, yet always remaining true to his vision. His latest addition: ELI by Elias Rumelis, a new line that just launched globally at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin. The line aims to showcase the designer’s vision on a more personal level, to let his imagination run free and away from the mainstream: “It’s not about having something special in your wardrobe. It’s about feeling special.” For his new label, Elias Rumelis also plays with contradictions and the idea of ownership by using the tag lines #NeverOwned and #AlwaysYours. The brand is deliberately promoting the pieces’ occasion-less qualities – they are meant to be worn whenever, wherever. Sticking to his perfectionist nature, Elias Rumelis commissioned his partner ateliers with a special task: not to produce a sample collection, but to craft a couple of the “unrealizable” designs by hand. The label’s mission is clear: “ELI by Elias Rumelis is designed to become yours beyond ownership. It’s made to take pride in being one-of-a-kind, in order to create impressions that last beyond a garment’s lifetime.”

Watch the full ELI by Elias Rumelis show AW21 here.

instagram/eli.by.eliasrumelis

elibyeliasrumelis.com

text by Kelly Niesen

edited by Melissa Frost

featured image: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MBFW

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Orsola de Castro, founder and global creative director of Fashion Revolution

“The real change I see is in the young designers”

Interview // Orsola de Castro

Fashion Open Studio, an initiative of Fashion Revolution, is entering Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin for the first time this season. MBFW Berlin talked to Orsola de Castro, founder and global creative director of Fashion Revolution, about Berlin’s creative potential, the challenges small brands face and a cultural shift taking place in the fashion industry.

 

What did you expect when you decided to bring Fashion Open Studio to Berlin?

Well, I expected to find a certain sense for sustainability. My understanding of Germany is that the citizen’s understanding of sustainability – and demand for sustainability – is pioneering compared to many other European and global cities. We have not had this kind of cooperation with a city or a full fashion week so far. So in that sense, it feels like a very right place for us to be.

How do you assess Berlin’s creative potential?

For me the potential of a city like Berlin lies in its rigor – you know sustainable brands are rigorously accepted by the mainstream public, which maybe we don’t see so much in the UK. And it lies in its youth, the sense that it is attracting a lot of innovation when it comes to new brands. You also immediately think of Berlin and some kind of freedom…creative freedom, expressive freedom. And I like that smaller brands are appreciated. You do not need to be massive. But I was told in Berlin the word “small” sort of connotates “unprofessional,” and I really don’t mean that. I mean small in the best possible sense of the word – as in small, with a conscious and considerate growth plan. That’s what I consider small: not someone who intends to somehow dominate the entire world, but is happy with a more paced and gentle speed and size for the brand. That’s what I mean. And I think that Berlin recognizes these different sizes, respects them and gives them equal visibility to many other more mainstream counterparts.

»We come from a system that divides one against the other, so it’s considered helping the competition to share your research with another designer. But if you actually put together two emerging designers, it's the opposite: Things multiply rather than becoming divided.«

You once stated in an interview that the future is for small brands…

I am bored stiff of H&M and Zara and Gucci and Michael Kors and every street in the world looking the same. Right now, forty brands hold 97% of the market. I do not want to see this anymore. I want one million brands holding 100% of the market and I want those little brands to be different in each area where they come from.

You work a lot with small brands. What do you personally take away from the mentorships you are involved in?

First of all: Teachers are students. We are learning as we teach. To be honest with you – I sound like some fairytale witch – they are my lifeline. They are the only reason I can believe that my work is possible. It is not just that they need me, we need each other – that fits perfectly to finding a solution together. So I can use their energy to keep believing in it and I can pass my experience to them to make things.

What common challenges do brands aiming for a sustainable or philanthropic approach face today? 

Their main challenge is staying alive and selling a product at a time when it is difficult to put that product under everybody’s nose – a time when the competition is unbeatable. But what is interesting is that there is not one common denominator. Everyone faces a different journey, and therefore different challenges. And this is why, in a way, we are breaking apart those challenges with Fashion Open Studio – maybe one designer is looking for more sustainable leather, but then another one has just found that more sustainable leather but they are looking for better communication. You know we come from a system that divides one against the other, so it’s considered helping the competition to share your research with another designer. But if you actually put together two emerging designers, it’s the opposite: Things multiply rather than becoming divided. This is a cultural shift in this industry, but these younger kids are more prepared to do that.

»As a citizen, I would like to say yes, I want to “buy, buy, buy” to support dignified paid jobs, living wages for the people that are making that product.«

So it is basically about changing a mindset?

I think it’s simply about sharing resources and it happens in other industries, too – fusion food brings together all sorts of different areas in one place, musical artists sampling other artists. For me, blending into each other is a sign of strength rather than a sign of weakness. The beauty of Fashion Open Studio is to see how willing the designers are to support the new ones that are coming in. Giving your time, your resources, your materials to the younger ones…you just see the world in a really different way.

We spoke about designers and their ability to promote change. Let’s talk about consumers. Researchers say that Gen-Z and Millennials are buying differently…

Yeah, in terms of buying there is definitely hope, because the cyclical nature of fashion implies that what was absolutely overrated yesterday is going to look like shit tomorrow. So there is inevitably going to be a backlash against the fast, the cheap, the too-much. I think that there is going to be a massive shift in that. The real issue is that there is an urgency. We cannot wait for this actual shift to happen as a trend. We need to enforce laws and regulations in order to make it happen faster.

In this context, is transparency the most important accelerator for change?

Transparency is literally step number one. So if you are a concerned citizen, if you are somebody that wants to scrutinize, that is your first step. To have an opinion, you need to study. You need to find out if you believe a brand, if it is making credible statements. And it’s about changing our habits completely.

This is what we’ve needed to do in many ways due to the current pandemic. What impact has Covid-19 had on the fashion industry?

Covid was like the big magnifying lens. In the UK, we had the story of Boohoo – this brand paying garment workers in Leicester 29 pence an hour in broad daylight to make clothes that cost 2 pounds. And there were more examples. I think that was Covid: It kind of exploded, with all of this becoming visible. But at the same time, I think there is an oxymoron in fashion, as with everything. The minute we were out of the past lockdown, every government was saying: “Buy, buy, buy! Spend, spend, spend!” To kickstart the economy. It is a very confusing message, which is why it is important to get it absolutely right. As a citizen, I would like to say yes, I want to “buy, buy, buy” to support dignified paid jobs, living wages for the people that are making that product. There is no sense in “buy, buy, buy” to make certain companies even richer. So that “buy, buy, buy” is fine – but show me where that money is going.

Last but not least: Fashion Revolution was founded eight years ago. What have you accomplished? Are we going in the right direction?

We really woke people up for sure. We wouldn’t take all the credit for it, as it’s not just ours to take, but we were certainly part of a growing movement and we just got it right from the beginning. The branding we used, the fact that we were so open, the communication – we were quite accurate and inclusive in what we discussed. We have a massive global presence in 92 countries, so in terms of citizens’ awareness I feel that we have accomplished a lot of positive steps. What can I see in terms of real change? The real change I see, which is proof enough for me, is in the young designers. Because if these guys are coming out 100% revolutionaries from minute one, then something has been done.

 

fashionrevolution.org

fashionopenstudio.com

text by Sophia Steube

edited by Melissa Frost

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Mercedes-Benz presents Tom Van der Borght 360°

Virtual Reality Experience

MBFW presents selected shows and installations as a virtual reality experience. We believe, this format is an important component for future digital fashion experiences.

View the runway show of Tom Van der Borght, presented by Mercedes-Benz, at Kraftwerk Berlin as a virtual visitor.

The 360° film is developed and realized by ARTVISIT.

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youtube/artvisit
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Mercedes-Benz EQS Installation by Tom Van der Borght 360°

Virtual Reality Experience

MBFW presents selected shows and installations as a virtual reality experience. We believe, this format is an important component for future digital fashion experiences.

View the Mercedes-Benz EQS Installation by Tom van der Borght at Kraftwerk Berlin as a virtual visitor.

The 360° film is developed and realized by ARTVISIT.

instagram/artvisit_
youtube/artvisit
robin@robinkater.de
photo by Robin Kater

“I always wanted to win; I couldn’t lose”

Interview // Kilian Kerner

Kilian Kerner, 41, is modest – considering the fact that this season marks his twentieth appearance at MBFW. He premiered his eponymous label in 2008 and, with 16 shows in a row, was a fixture at the fashion event. He also showed his collections in fashion hubs like New York and London. He opened eight shop-in-shop stores within the space of a year in England alone, and the Queen herself banned a very specific collection.

In 2011, the designer brought investors on board. Five years later he stepped down from his label, only to return under a new name with KXXK. We spoke with the designer in anticipation of his show and looked back together on his long career.

 

You are now presenting for the twentieth time at MBFW Berlin. Which of those shows do you look back on most fondly?

I like to think back on my very first show at Fashion Week. Toni Garrn opened it – she was 16 at the time. The milestone tenth show in a row was also something very special. We were the first label to do it in Berlin, so we went big. The collection was called Tell Me Your Name – A Story About Sculptures and Human Beings and the guys from the Berlin band Tunes of Dawn played live. There were wearable designs made in earthy colors, like ochre and sandy brown, but also very bold and lavish creations. One dress took six people twelve days to make.

What can you tell us about your latest collection?

The designs are very fluid, delicate – simply beautiful. I have called the collection Dream World.

The collection before that was about “a walk through a fairytale land.” Is your fashion about escapism?

Last year it was climate change, right-wing extremism and Donald Trump. This time I owe my escape into a dream world, through a collection, to the coronavirus. The year had started very well for me. I had a lot of collaborations – and within ten days everything was canceled. All I could do was lie on the sofa and I couldn’t turn on the TV without watching a corona special. I needed a place to escape to. That’s what this collection had to be.

Since you brought up the subject, your past collaborations have included brands like Nike, Kiehl’s, Smart & Star Trek, BMW Mini, Swarovski and Samsonite. Why do you continue to seek out creative exchanges?

First and foremost, I have fun doing collaborations. I can develop as a designer and work for a few months in another city, like Milan. But yes, these kinds of design collaborations also attract attention and you earn good money.

You went to acting school before you became a fashion designer. Why did you decide to quit acting?

Honestly? I moved into a shared flat that wasn’t exactly sparkling clean and I cleaned it with bleach. I accidentally spilled it all over my clothes in the process. I tried to salvage them by painting on them with more bleach. I then wore an outfit I made myself to an opening night of mine, and a short time later I wore it again to a Nena concert. She saw the T-shirt and wanted it immediately.

So Nena discovered you, so to speak.

You could say that. A few months later, she pulled me on stage again and asked me if I wouldn’t like to design a few things for her. I just said “yes” – even though I didn’t know anything about designing.

Would you be a fashion designer today if it hadn’t been for this experience with Nena?

No, it was a great twist of fate. Without that experience, I probably would never have discovered my true love of fashion. There was suddenly nothing else that interested me – I just wanted to work, to make fashion from morning to night. I locked myself in the studio with a dressmaker for months, watching her and learning from her.

You once said that for a long time you weren’t taken seriously as a designer.

People made fun of me for many years: “He can’t do anything,” they said, “it’s all because of Nena.” Looking back, I can even understand them.

How so?

I founded my label in 2004 – at a time when many other brands were also starting up. The designers had all studied fashion design at renowned schools, had internships at big fashion houses – and I was there because I had dumped bleach over my shirts and Nena thought it was good.

When did all those negative opinions die down?

They will never really die down, but they got quieter after my first show at Berlin Fashion Week. The journalists didn’t know my background and were unbiased. I was suddenly no longer “Nena’s guy.”

Then you were “the shooting star.”

I always had some title stuck to me.

Suzy Menkes once described you as “imaginative,” so that’s a nice title. 

Yes, that’s among the highlights of my life as a fashion designer. Suzy Menkes attended Berlin Fashion Week and selected four designers with whom she later held an exhibition at The Corner. I was lucky enough to be among her “favorites.”

You have become more and more famous over the years: German Vogue made a three-part documentary about you; Kylie Minogue has worn your designs – even the Queen of England has heard of you. She had your collection removed from stores in London.

That was funny. I designed a collection called Dear Kate. There was a T-shirt that said: “Harry, you wanna marry me?” – with Kate proposing to Harry. The demand was huge, and we were taken into the big department stores. But it didn’t go down well at all at Buckingham Palace. After three days, the T-shirts had to be taken off the shelves everywhere.

Then we had them distributed at One Direction concerts and told them that the T-shirt was dedicated to Harry Styles from the band. Then it went around the world and we were even on the front page of The Telegraph with the shirt. A few months later I showed a red carpet collection at London Fashion Week called God Save The Queen.

In 2011 you brought investors into your label – Kilian Kerner became a joint stock company. Why did you decide to take this step?

I wanted to build my label into a lifestyle group and the investors opened up a lot of opportunities. We started by selling the second line, Kilian Senses, in ten stores. Within 18 months, it was 14 countries. We had stores in London, Berlin…our shows became bigger, more elaborate, more expensive…

In return, you no longer had the freedom to make decisions. With investors, you had to make compromises.

Not everything that happened with the label was good. I signed things too quickly, things I should have thought about more carefully.

In 2016 you left the label and lost the rights to your name. Do you feel that you failed?

I never had that feeling. We suffered two serious misfortunes in the family that year. I went home on weekends – and during the week I was in the studio or at trade shows. After a month, the board accused me of taking too much time off to take care of my family. Everyone who knows me knows that I was burning day and night for the label, seven days a week.

So you were relieved when it was over?

Absolutely.

Would you do it again?

Founding my own label? Yes, that will happen someday…but completely different to what it was back then.

In 2016 you left your own label and launched your first tennis collection, Bidi Badu designed by Kilian Kerner, in just two weeks. It would seem that you are a workaholic. More than that. But because I’ve been playing tennis since I was a kid, it didn’t feel like work. Other designers want to go to Gucci or Prada – for me the tennis collection was a dream come true. Tennis and sportswear: That’s also something I want to do again in the future.

You played a lot of tennis as a child and took part in tournaments. Did your athletic ambition benefit you later as a fashion designer?

I always wanted to win; I couldn’t lose. So I smashed the odd racket from time to time. I was ambitious, but not enough to use my talent to go pro. Fashion made me ambitious – especially the first few years, when I wasn’t taken completely seriously.

What would be your personal Wimbledon victory moment in fashion?

An American Vogue cover, with Kate Moss wearing a dress of mine.

You started KXXK two years ago – not as a label, but as a collaboration with yourself, as you put it. Do you feel that you have found yourself?

I have learned an insane amount. I’m a different person now.

What do you mean?

I’m calmer, more balanced. I can handle myself better today, without the pressure of when I was a stock price and it was all about numbers. Living with me has become easier – for myself and for others.


Kilian Kerner is presenting for the twentieth time at MBFW Berlin on Wednesday January 20
th at 4pm. It is his fourth time under the name KXXK.

kilian-kerner.de

instagram/kiliankerner_

text by Alexandra Kutek

translation by Melissa Frost

photos via Kilian Kerner