Made in Ger­many

Don't leave Ber­lin with­out some of the coun­try's most no­table and lux­u­ri­ous brands.


Although car­mak­ers such as Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are of­ten the first to spring to mind when peo­ple think of Ger­man brands, there are scores of other prod­ucts that high­light the in­no­va­tive de­sign and solid en­gi­neer­ing that have be­come prac­ti­cally syn­ony­mous with Ger­man­made goods. We’ve rounded up some of the coun­try’s most en­dur­ing la­bels that are wor­thy of get­ting hit with an air­line’s over­weight-lug­gage charge.


While footwear brands Adi­das and Puma are prac­ti­cally house­hold names the world over,

Zeha (p. 32) is al­most un­known out­side of its home­land. The brand was the footwear of choice for fash­ion­able Ber­lin­ers in the Golden Twen­ties, but to­day Zeha is best known for the dis­tinc­tive dou­ble-striped sneak­ers that be­came pop­u­lar dur­ing the days of the Wall as the footwear of East Ger­man Olympic ath­letes. Whether out of a sense of style or of nos­tal­gia, to­day Zeha is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a resur­gence in pop­u­lar­ity. Pair those hip kicks with knee-highs or bold-print socks from FALKE (p. 32) for the ul­ti­mate in fash­ion­able feet.

In the world of cou­ture, sev­eral prom­i­nent fash­ion houses can claim Ger­man roots. Mu­nich-based ESCADA (p. 30) can now be found world­wide, with roy­alty such as Swe­den’s Princess Vic­to­ria among the la­bel’s fans. Even part-time fash­ion­istas are al­ready well ac­quainted with pow­er­house BOSS (p. 28), but up-and-comer Michael Son­tag (p. 30), a Ber­lin na­tive whose de­signs have been worn by the editor-in-chief of Ger­man

Vogue, is still rel­a­tively un­known in the English-speak­ing world. Shop his Kreuzberg bou­tique to be the first back home to wear the de­signer, who's known for clothes that are as flat­ter­ing as they are chic.


It might be some­thing in the wa­ter, be­cause Mu­nich is also home to AIGNER (p. 32), maker of clas­si­cally styled leather goods bear­ing the fa­mil­iar horse­shoe logo, which re­cently cel­e­brated its 50th an­niver­sary in the fash­ion world. Leather gets more con­tem­po­rary in the hands of Kreuzberg's own LIEBE­SKIND (p. 32), pro­ducer of totes and hand­bags that are both bold and ca­sual, as well as a Vintage line char­ac­ter­ized by a time­worn look.

If it's a lit­tle bling you're look­ing for, Ham­burg-based Wempe (p. 32), founded more than 135 years ago, crafts lux­ury jew­elry and time­pieces that have earned a rep­u­ta­tion for pre­ci­sion and at­ten­tion to de­tail. Or opt for more mod­ern pieces from

Sab­rina Dehoff (p. 32), another Ber­liner whose de­signs have caught fire with the cognoscenti: A few years ago, her cord bracelet was the state­ment piece de­sired by

trend­set­ters, and it seems a sea­son can't go by with­out Ger­man Vogue do­ing a piece on the de­signer.


Ger­man porce­lain is in a class unto it­self. The “white gold,” as porce­lain was known when it was orig­i­nally im­ported from the Far East, was first de­vel­oped out­side Asia in Meis­sen, Sax­ony, where the orig­i­nal man­u­fac­tory still stands. The MEIS­SEN (p. 31) brand has since ex­panded to cou­ture, ac­ces­sories, and even in­te­rior de­sign, but it’s the fine table­ware for which the com­pany is still best known. Not to be out­done, KPM (Königliche Porzel­lanMan­u­fac­tur, p. 38), founded by none other than Fred­er­ick II, still pro­duces its roy­al­ty­wor­thy serv­ing sets in Ber­lin’s Tier­garten dis­trict. The 1967 Stam­bul mocha ser­vice is so sought-af­ter that it fetches steep prices at auc­tions. Learn more about KPM’s history with a visit to the com­pany's mu­seum, where you can watch ar­ti­sans at work be­fore pe­rus­ing the on-site store.

If it’s sea­sonal flair you’re af­ter, look no fur­ther than Käthe Wohlfahrt (p. 31), fa­mous for Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions. In ad­di­tion to the “Christ­mas Vil­lage” and mu­seum that live year-round in the me­dieval town of Rothen­burg, the yule­tide pur­veyor pops up in Christ­mas mar­kets ( Wei­h­nachtsmärkte) around the coun­try each win­ter to of­fer its Bavar­ian-style na­tiv­ity scenes, nut­crack­ers, and tra­di­tional Christ­mas pyra­mids, can­dle-fu­eled carousels that orig­i­nated in the Erzge­birge (Ore Moun­tains) but which are now pop­u­lar through­out the coun­try.


Re­turn­ing home emp­ty­handed for the lit­tle ones is ver­boten, so stock up on Teu­tonic toys that will make you the best par­ent/ aunt/un­cle/god­par­ent in town. Although

Play­mo­bil (p. 21) is al­most as ubiq­ui­tous as the Dan­ish com­pany LEGO, pick­ing up a set from the toy pro­ducer’s Ger­man home­land is a sure­fire way to earn ku­dos with the kid­dies.

Or share the nos­tal­gia for yes­ter­year with wooden toys from HABA (www.haba. de), which prides it­self as an “in­ven­tor for in­quis­i­tive minds.” With lines that cater to in­fants through mid-child­hood, the eco-friendly toy com­pany is best known for its wooden blocks, but other nat­u­ral­ma­te­rial prod­ucts, such as fab­ric an­i­mals, have also achieved par­ent-ap­proved stan­dards. Find HABA prod­ucts at Duss­mann das Kul­turKaufhaus (p. 21) and most up­scale depart­ment stores. No mat­ter what age you – or your sou­venir re­cip­i­ents – are, the plush toys at Steiff (p. 21) will be cher­ished me­men­tos for years to come. The com­pany, which holds claim to cre­at­ing the orig­i­nal teddy bear (named for US Pres­i­dent Theodore Roo­sevelt), still fab­ri­cates many of its prod­ucts by hand, and its cud­dly and highly cov­eted cre­ations still bear the trade­mark Knopf

imOhr (“but­ton in ear”) stamp of au­then­tic­ity that has been a hall­mark since 1904.

Left: Since 1895, FALKE has

been pro­duc­ing time­less clas­sics in leg­wear. Right: The

AIGNER la­bel has ex­panded be­yond leather ac­ces­sories to

in­clude cou­ture.

The qual­ity porce­lain of MEIS­SEN; a Play­mo­bil pi­rate set; Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions from Käthe Wohlfahrt.

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