Solaris goes Berlin

If there is a city with similar hype levels than London then it surely must be Berlin. One could even say that Berlin is actually taking over London as the most hyped city in Europe and maybe the world! If Bowie loved it then it can’t be all that bad right?

Now, my dear reader, please don’t expect a deep meditation about life in Berlin. I never lived in this great city myself and have been only visiting as a tourist. But I’d like to share some impressions from my last trip and some thoughts that go along with it…

Day 1

It’s not a secret how great Berlins music scene is. But on this trip I wasn’t keen on sampling the local DJ talent: One of my fave bands skipped Hamburg on their tour schedule so that I had to jump on the train to attend their gig at the Columbia Halle! Talking about trains: The connection between Hamburg and Berlin is ace and instead of gruelling 3-hour bus journey one can now be in Berlin within less than 90min. Awesome! 

 Not the set of Bladerunner
Not the set of Bladerunner

With nearly 3.5 Million inhabitants it’s easy for Berlin to feel futuristic and derelict at the same time. So from the spaceport interior of the Berlin Main Train station, I effortlessly stumbled into the shabby chic of Soho House Berlin. A friend invited me for a catch-up and some food and once I walked past the big copper doors I got instant flashbacks to the Shoreditch House in London. They do run a franchise here after all and it looks like each House has a similar vibe to it. Not that I am complaining tho!

Soho House Berlin and London have another thing in common: A pimp pool on the roof. PLAYA! So yeah… it’s advisable to make friends with memberships. They are just the nicer people anyway… right Sascha? 😉

 Tropical plant vs Grey Berlin sky
Tropical plant vs Grey Berlin sky

After applying some fragrant Cowshed hand moisturiser I waved the In-Crowd goodbye to meet my sister for the main event: The Berlin concert of my beloved band Justice!

There are very few musicians I really obsess over, but they all have one thing in common: Great style and a theatric demeanor! Being it Björk, Deee-Lite or Justice… the attitude levels are cranked up alongside the volume.

With their satin jackets, unkempt hair and vintage Genesis T-Shirts Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay just ooze 70ties porn style and could have been rebellious heartthrobs in 80ties movies like La Boum. As you can see… I am having a massive man crush on these dudes! Stylish French fuckers…

After we stood half an hour outside the wrong venue wondering why all these Goths wanted to attend a Justice concert we ended up in the right spot. What can I say, they fucking killed it! A perfect blend between rowdy Techno and Electro served with a massive slice of melodic French cheese. Fantastic. If you have never witnessed their stage show I can recommend their great Tour Documentary Across the Universe or the many live recordings of their shows on YouTube.

To round the amazing evening off the whole Ed Banger Squad was in town, playing at the Prince Charles Bar a thoroughly enjoyable eclectic set consisting of House, Electro and some heavy Rave classics. Especially seeing the legendary Cassius open a bottle of Vodka with their teeth whilst dropping 1999 was a joy to behold…

 Too many men too many many men
Too many men too many many men

So yeah… it’s a no brainer that Berlin really is a global party capital. And NO, I haven’t been rejected by Berghains bouncers yet. That will be an adventure for my next trip!

Day 2

Time to hit the stores! Although Hamburg has some great stores, Berlin of cause presents a wider variety for the indulging fashionista. As I purchased some pretty awesome and limited Levis x Justice patches at the concert I needed some vintage garms to put them on. So off I went on a tour of Berlins vintage shops…

After being blessed by the thrift gods in the first shop with a ferocious vintage college jacket for 45€ I still had some time left to check out further Berlin Hypebeast stores like Overkill, Firmament, WoodWood and more. So yes, Berlin is a fantastic place to upgrade you wardrobe and I would recommend the area around the tube stations Hackischer Markt, Weinmeister Strasse and Schlesisches Tor.

 Literally... shoe overkill
Literally… shoe overkill

And off I went towards Friedrichshain to check out HHV. The physical store of the virtual record store Hip Hop Vinyl has everything to kit out any aspiring Rapper: Shoes, garms, magazines and, of cause, vinyl. Loads of it!

On route, I met my good friend Peter. As to prove my point about Berlin snatching Londons crown, cool cat Peter swapped London for Berlin this autumn and has apparently never been happier!

Check out his great design work here:

So yeah, the bottom line is: Shopping is great in Berlin. And if you don’t believe me you are either boring, badly dressed or BOTH!

 Spoiler warning: ME!
Spoiler warning: ME!

Day 3

After having had my music, party and shopping cravings satisfied it was time to tick off the last box of any respectable Solaris100 City Break: Street Art.

Basically the whole East of Berlin has been covered in tags, throw-ups, pieces, stickers, paste-ups and any other form of color based artistic expression so it’s great fun to just have a walk and go on an art hunt like an art c**t. Of cause, the odd Solaris sticker might have been applied at various places around town as well.

The big Street Art related thing in Berlin is the recently opened Urban Nation Gallery at Nollendorfplatz bang in the centre of town.

Actually, I shall dedicate a fresh new blog post about this magical place in the future. Just be assured it’s worth the journey. From Ben Eine to Faile, Ben Frost and Banksy… the show is incredibly well curated and has the who is who of the current urban art scene hanging on the walls.

And no, there is no gift shop YET! 😉

Seeing all this amazing art really inspired and motivated me to go back to my studio and start painting again! But first I had to catch up with a good friend and fellow artist for a tasty Currywurst and a chat: Rainer Bornowski has been an inspiration to me since I started to dabble in Vector illustration and we both share a love for bold colours and applying our designs to physical products like record covers, T-Shirts and Postcards.

Check out the world of Bonito here:

What I really love about Berlin is the derelict vibe of it all. There is really no other city in Germany comparable with this sense of freedom you have in the German capital. I really hope that London will realize that aggressive gentrification will extinguish any creative spirit that made the city so amazing in the first place.

A city without any space to roam and get lost will loose it’s artists, so let’s hope Berlin stays fun, funky and the right amount of dirty!

So bye-bye Berlin, you have been great! Oh, and by the way, I prefer the Currywurst at Curry 36 over the offering at Konnopke’s Imbiss. Go for the spicy one!

Solaris over and out!

Queuing for trainers: A survivors tale

With the latest colourway of the Yeezy Boost 750 about to drop I thought it would be fun to share some experiences I had regarding hype, greed and trainers. Well, actually two experiences!

Two experiences about doing the most committed thing a sneakerhead can do to gain possession of a rare pair of trainers. No, not re-mortgaging his Granny’s house to buy them on eBay ( he could do that too )  but to camp outside the store days before the official in-store release day. 

Crazy you say? Well, with sneaker hype for rare pairs going through the roof a night spent on the street can actually make sense money wise, with resellers being able to double and even triple their investment. Still perplexed? Well, check out this TED talk by Josh Luber, founder of, who explains the situation to the uninitiated:

So anyway, are you with me now? GREAT!

Going Apeshit

The first time I stood outside a store before opening time must have been around 2005, back in the days when A Bathing Ape was heavy on their USA expansion and their London Store was going strong. Staff at BAPE were notoriously tight lipped about the release dates of popular items, a tradition now upheld by Supreme employees everywhere! 

But one special day I got the heads up that a special hoody I had obsessed about was due to drop the following week. Wow!!! It was a hoody created in collaboration with the raising graffiti star KAWS featuring a very special reworked version of the famous Bape camo pattern.

I’d say a lot of the limited edition culture in streetwear was kicked off by this Japanese brand as it took a cue from high fashion and created extremely limited streetwear pieces for the few people in the know. Once the items sold out they were gone! It was even rumoured that the owner and designer of BAPE Nigo would burn left over stock and sales in the BAPE store were unheard of!

The collectable nature of the clothing created a tribal society where peeps wearing special pieces and rare items would get the most respect. A trained geek eye could spot a 1st Generation Shark Hoodie from miles away and would bestow the owner with praise, credibility and respect!

Never heard of A Bathing Ape? Have you been living under a rock? Even Jonathan Ross knows about Nigo and his empire! 

Still no clue? Geez ok… then get ready for a little streetwear history lesson:

Are we back? Good…

I will never forget the look on my managers face when I told him that I needed half the day off to stand outside a store to buy an item of clothing.

I ended up at 9AM outside the store in a queue with a teenager who brought his grumpy dad along and two die hard BAPE Headz which were deep in conversation about camo patterns. I overheard that one of the guys came down all the way from Scotland for this, stayed over his sisters place last night and made his way to the store this morning to get lucky. Now that’s dedication!

The giddy anticipation once the staff arrived and started to get out the items, the plastic of my credit card rubbing against the sweaty palm of my hand and the unbelievable rush to the head once I got the item in this big luscious bag with the ape head on it… I think I never handed over £175 quicker and happier in my life! Horrible I know but amazing nevertheless.

I know what you must think now: This was the event that hooked him! From then on he had to be addicted to the thrills of queueing up for artificially number restricted items!!!

Well, not really. But I definitely got hooked on the feeling of the pleasure and pain that comes with being a collector on the hunt!

Return to the planet of the (B)Apes

Fast forward 8 years and I am still in London, still hooked on collecting. A good friend of mine with similar obsessions stayed over for the weekend and with the release of A Bathing Ape x Adidas collaboration looming we joked how crazy it would be to queue for these kicks like the suckers we saw on blogs and websites. Camping in the rain in the bitter cold just for a pair of shoes… ha ha ha, what a stupid thought!

We would never be THIS stupid, right? RIGHT?

Image via Vice

As we already started drinking in Soho I suggested we could at least attend the release party at the Adidas No.6 store to get some free beers and check out the models of the collaboration that were about to get released the next day. They were nice, no doubt. And the beer was mighty tasty too.

Images via TheSneakersbox

As the time went towards 11PM and the store was about to close we suddenly got approached by a guy ( yep, there is a pattern here: queueing is mostly a dudes game! ) who asked us if we would queue tonight for the shoes. He was the keeper of the queuing list and could offer us a good spot if we would give our names and get in. “Which spot would we get?” I asked. “You guys would be the 10th in line” he responded. How grown up and organised… TEMPTING!

What can I say, 5min later I was outside the store, the door locking in front of us and my mate rushing to my place to get a camping chair, sleeping bags, water and more beers! And so should my first camp out in the middle of Soho begin.

The night went quicker than expected, there was a bigger queue outside the official BAPE Store a couple of  streets away and time was wasted strolling through Soho at 5AM to get a coffee at Bar Italia, go for a pee in one of the side streets or having a chat with the other geeks waiting in line, all wrapped up in their camping chairs, fiddling with their iPhones or trying to sleep.

Ultimately we were actually even lucky the we stayed outside the Adidas Store as it opened a whole 2 hours before the BAPE store! So we left Soho each carrying three boxes of shoes containing the whole BAPE x Undftd x Adidas collaboration past the tired and grumpy stares from all the people still having to queue yet another two hours to get their hands on their pairs… What a camp out success!!!

Two years later: A SUPREMEly cold night

Whilst being at yet another launch of limited crap with free beers my good friend Alex from that first queueing experience fires me a screenshot about a very special shoe collaboration to be released.

As you can see another geek pattern emerges my dear reader: Collaborations! Being it Ronnie Fieg, Kanye West or Pharrell Williams: Collaborations make the hype world go around and sometimes even stand on it’s head. A bit like in this case…

OMG the Jordan 5 x Supreme drops in less than 13 hours!!!

Now, Supreme and Jordan Brand are heavy hitters of streetwear and the hype game so this was big big news. Especially as Supreme London would be the only store doing an in-store release in the Western world and that crazy desert camo pattern on the Jordan 5 already caused me many sleepless nights when the project was originally announced. I was already quite drunk and had time on my hands on the following day. Damn…

So this was a no brainer really: Off I went, quickly gathering supplies and heading out towards Soho at 1AM for my second queueing experience!

And what a crazy night that was! The queue was already 200 people deep with BAPE hoodies and Supreme allover outfits out in force. Quite some people looked like they joined the queue in a hurry the second the news dropped as they sat on the sidewalk just wrapped in a thin jacket with no camping seat or sleeping bag… hardcore!

Me on the other hand didn’t just pack my silly red Supreme thermos can which holds exactly one cup of hot tea, no I actually carried a whole hot water bottle with me which I happily shared with the freezing youngsters next to me. Good queueing karma and all that… Geek Grandpa knows! 

When dawn arrived the crowd got moving and started packing up the camping gear to form an orderly queue. Another thing I learned that night: Chinese girls must really, really, REALLY love their boyfriends!

I can’t believe how many young girls stood in the freezing cold the whole 13 hours just to get their boyfriend a pair of Supreme Jordans! My mind was spinning!!! If I would have proposed a similar thing to any girlfriend I ever had I would have got a slap whilst she laughed in my face for suggesting something such outrageous!

And very rightfully so!

After nearly 13 hours queueing we reached slowly the front of the store. People started to get unruly and there was a nervous tension in the air. Somehow it dawned on me how crazy it is to queue for such a long time just to get a pair of shoes. How good the marketing of Supreme is to inspire people to commit such acts of pure insanity!

Whilst I had a mini existential crisis amongst a weird mix of Supreme fanboys, Hypebeasts and greedy Resellers, some people kept cutting in and the atmosphere got more and more unpleasant and tense. There was a real thick cloud of greed in the air that stained the once peaceful vibe of a shared consumerist obsessional experience gone mad.

As it was way too late to get philosophical now I knew I just had to go Zen, ignore the pushing and shoving and concentrate on getting what I came here for: A  pair of white Supreme x Jordans Size UK 8.5! 

( I went for the white colorway in the end as the black and the white versions were Supreme only and would not get released by Nike as well like the desert camo colourway. See, I am clever after all… going for the rarest of the rare!  *pads himself on the back* )

Of cause I told myself repeatedly: This is crazy but at least I can resell them for some extra money if I change my mind about owning them! Making a profit would be the sensible and grown up thing right? Well what can I say… I still have them. 13 hours of waiting kinda made me emotionally attached to these shoes. Weird…

My 5 top tips for correct queueing

1. Dress to impress

Never dress down when queueing! Put on every piece of limited edition Hypebeast crap you can find, you are not queueing for food stamps but expensive clothes after all. So you might as well just go all out for it !

2. Be smooth sleeping rough

Get your camping chair, get an umbrella, get your hoodie, hat, gloves and Supreme face mask on! Supreme is not releasing camping items and thermo cans for nothing! Plus nobody wants to see a dude frozen to death outside a store in a skimpy jacket and flip-flops!

3. Don’t be a stranger!

When one is waiting in a queue like an idiot, despised and mocked by 99.95% of earths population passing by, you need all the bromance you can get to not get emotionally scarred for life! Share sneaker stories, offer to look after peoples place during urinal breaks and just chat shit. 

4. Know the deal

Where is the 24/7 coffee place that can provide shelter, food and a toilet? When does the closest McDonalds open again in the morning? How many pairs are getting released and what’s your number in the line? 

and the most important one…


Pushing in front of people who waited in line for 12 hours straight might be tempting but is not cool at all. So isn’t talking shit, stealing from peeps who are asleep or throwing attitude around. This is already horrible enough so nobody needs another sucker to cause more static.

So what’s the gist of this story?!

Am I mad? Do I have any regrets? Yes and no. Yes because it feels horrible to be a pawn in a game of money, greed, hype and shameless consumerism. No because the experience was somehow weird and fun as well. Would I do this on a regular basis? HELL NO!

But would I GENERALLY queue again for a rare pair of kicks? Never say never…

So when and where are the next Yeezys dropping? I  AM READY!

Solaris over and out!

Boost this!

Yes I do love my trainers so when a new piece of the Kanye West x Adidas is getting released I do pay attention. Kanye West shoes are a bit like Banksy screen prints: The resell value alone makes you want to own one! Let’s see if this model will get a wider release than the Yeezy Boost 750 which is of cause extremely unlikely: Adidas would be stupid to neuter the biggest hype machine in their stable. 

By the way: I wonder if Nike wanted to punk Kanye with releasing the Free Huarache Carnivore around the same time as the Yeezy Boost Lows… as the Nike offering sports a very similar silhouette and even has a faux Yeezy II strap! Ouch!

Much happened since then and we are now already on Yeezy 350 Boost V2… with Hype still going strong!

 via  Gloryhole
via Gloryhole

You can love or hate Kanye, as a fan of outrageous footwear I always liked his creations. Straps, tassels and even more straps: Let’s travel back in time to Mr. West’s biggest hits!

Marty McFly would have totally rocked the first collabo with Nike: The Yeezys from 2009. Loving the Manga look with the chunky ol’ strap and the glow in the dark sole! They looked like bricks on your feet but who cares… GLOW IN THE DARK SOLE SON!!!

The black and pink colorway became so popular that Nike is still referencing it in their releases after the departure of the mighty K. I still spot the black and pink with a greenish sole in my local JD Sports from time to time on the most unflattering budget models, ewww!

The Yeezy 2 marked the beginning of the end with the red colorway aka The Red Octobers getting unceremoniously dropped online by Nike after Elvis left the building. Still digging the more high fashion approach to the silhouette with #haters quickly pointing out that Kanye allegedly ripped off Alexander McQueen and Y-3 for the updated Yeezy model.

Why is it still so impossibly hard for high fashion houses to get trainers right?!

Luis Vuitton still struggles to recapture the sneaker magic ( or insanity ) Kanye brought to the table with the Jasper Model in 2009: Straps, tassels and that pink… Kanye surely does love himself a funky sole! 

The shoes itself were made from the softest unicorn leather and I still remember trying them on in the LV store in Sloane Square, slowly realising that I could only pull them off if I were Jay Z… which I wasn’t. 

Tears of sorrow were shed that day but at least I could buy back my kidneys that I had to sell to raise the funds to be vaguely able to afford a pair…

This is one for the OLD headz! Kanye West x Bapesta from 2007.

Nigo was a very lucky boy indeed that Nike’s patents weren’t airtight on their Air Force 1 design so that A Bathing Ape didn’t get sued for churning out their AF1 “inspired” model!

I doubt he had an actual impact in designing the shoe but the bear logo on the heel needed to suffice to make the connection and getting Hypebeasts all excited! How great were the days when Kanye was still a Bape / LV fanboy? Glory days of golden vintage street wear hype indeed…

Still… kept the best for last… the BEST Kanye West sneaker EVER to be released must be…

The Nike Yeezy Gayfish!

This custom doesn’t just bring tears to the eyes of every sneakerhead but celebrates one of the funniest South Park episodes ever to grace the tv!