I was shocked when I learned Berlin's motto is "we are poor, but sexy!" But after a few days flaneuring the city, it is starting to make sense to me. It is a city of grit and glitz. While there is lots of upscale shopping we love the fact the city is full of flea markets on the weekends, making it very attractive to those of us who love the "thrill of the hunt."
One Weekend Four Markets
On our first weekend in Berlin, we hit four flea markets and each was very different. The Marheineke Platz Flea Market on Saturday was great, the RAW flohmarket in an abandon railway repair yard was more interesting because of the site, which looked like it had been bombed and the Hallen flohmarket is a huge warehouse packed with junk from floor to ceiling.
However, the market with the best "poor to sexy" cultural statement was the Boxhagener Platz Flea Market. After only a few minutes I quickly realized this wasn't your typical flea market as many of the shoppers were dressed very fashionably - no wonder the New York Times recommended it a few years back.
Hommage to Bill
I have long toyed with the idea of doing a blog in the style of the famous New York Times street fashion photographer Bill Cunningham who died at the age of 87, in 2016 (Link: NYT Remembering Bill Cunningham).
Each week Cunningham would produce a full page collage of curated photos of the fashions he saw New Yorkers wearing on the street. He was often credited with identifying new fashion trends before anyone else. I will not pretend I am a fashionista, but I do love the flair they add to street life.
So her is my Cunningham inspired curated collages and some stills of Berlin's Boxhagener Platz fashionistas.
Now that you have scanned the images go back and have another look not just at the fashions but also at the narratives. As they say, "every picture tells a story." Or as they said in the 1950s Naked City TV show "There are eight million stories in this naked city; this has been one of them."
In the case of Berlin that would be 3.5 million stories; these are just a few.