Skip to main content
Photography by Dörthe Boxberg

Style can’t be bought - Fashion in Cologne

created by Katja Peglow | |   Urban and culture

The Rhinelander is down to earth, just like Cologne’s fashion labels

Admittedly, Cologne’s reputation as a fashion metropolis is confined to within its borders. Generally speaking, the Rhinelander is down to earth and practically minded. If it’s haute couture you’re looking for, you’ll have to jump on the Thalys train to Paris. Even the names of Cologne’s few fashion labels don’t sound very glamorous, such as the sustainable clothing label Trinkhallen Schickeria founded in 2005 by Lena Schröder. For over ten years the Cologne resident and fashion designer has been breathing new life into old fabrics by upcycling vintage fabrics and second-hand clothing into new products. Her assortment, which ranges from playful to wearable, includes bags, clothing, jewellery and accessories. The cheerful pieces, which are handmade in Cologne, are available from stores like the hipster fashion boutique Todd at Brüsseler Platz, which Schröder coruns, or directly from her atelier and showroom in Ehrenfeld. Since last summer, the neighbourhood has also been home to Kleiderei — Cologne’s first rental shop for clothing. The store’s philosophy is that style can’t be bought, but clothing can be borrowed. Which is why here you can take as many items home with you and wear them to your heart’s content — all for a monthly flat rate. The selection on offer ranges from eye-catching vintage pieces and trendy brand-name clothing down to sustainable and fairly produced one-offers by young designers from the region, such as Lanius, Zitat and Trinkhallen Schickeria. The idea of ownerless clothing comes from the two founders Pola Fendel and Thekla Wilkening, both in their late 20s and meanwhile based in Hamburg. But for their first permanent store, the two young entrepreneurs were only too happy to return to their old hometown. And in Lena Schröder they found the perfect manager for the Cologne branch. Together they run the well-stocked dressing-up store, loved by vintage and slow fashion fans alike.

Let’s stay in Ehrenfeld. Just a short stroll away is the T-shirt label Ehrenfeld Apparel by Paul Kampfmann. The copywriter is a dab hand at coming up with the slogans that adorn his printed hoodies, T-shirts and hipster tote bags made from organic materials. The Trump caps (“Make Ehrenfeld Great Again”) in particular have been flying off the shelves like hotcakes. It all started with a clothes horse at the Körnerstrasse street festival in Ehrenfeld in 2009 where his witty silk screen prints proved so popular that Paul, who’s in his mid-30s, spun the whole concept into a successful business idea.

It’s not quite as casual or contemporary at Von Lanzenauer in the Kunibertsviertel. The small hat-making workshop in the north of Cologne is a first in the cathedral city and transports fashion lovers back to a time when hats were still an everyday item. Since 2013, the fashion designer and passionate hat wearer Isabell von Lanzenauer has been designing headwear for ladies and men who are inspired by the flair of bygone decades. All her hat creations are made by hand and one of a kind, and also ensure you’ll instantly stand out among Cologne’s more casual crowd. Don Draper would have approved.

Trinkhallen Schickeria, Venloer Strasse 459,

Todd, Brüsseler Strasse 72,

Kleiderei Köln, Venloer Strasse 459,

Ehrenfeld Apparel, Körnerstrasse 73,

Von Lanzenauer, Unter Kahlenhausen 43,

(by Katja Peglow)