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Cars, beer, electrical appliances, and more cars; fashion is not the first thing that springs to mind when one thinks of German craftsmanship. While brands from the fashion capitals New York, Milan, London, and Paris will always be keen to shout their patriotism from the rooftops, German fashion brands tend to be a little less forthcoming about their roots — a shame, as the nation boasts a thriving fashion scene.

Similar to their Scandinavian cousins, German fashion tends to lie low on the radar, specializing in minimal, disciplined aesthetics that put design first and foremost.

Without further ado, here's a breakdown of the very best German clothing brands on offer in the land of currywurst and bureaucracy.

Shop the best German clothing brands below.

Jil Sander

A designer of legendary status — who The New York Times crowned "The Queen of Less" — Jil Sander has pioneered minimalism in fashion since 1968. That's over 50 years of the low-key aesthetics that have come to dominate Scandinavian and German clothing brands, altering the fashion landscape heavily. Her label has had a rocky history; it was bought out by Prada in 1999, before Jil Sander abruptly quit six months later, sending the company into a tailspin that saw sales plummet and nearly all of the brand's production and design staff resign.

Sander returned to the house in 2003, before resigning again in 2004, citing insurmountable differences with Prada's CEO Patrizio Bertelli. Prada subsequently appointed Raf Simons to head up the house. After Simons left for Dior in 2012, the label kept a steady course without a big-name creative director, later employing husband-and-wife creative directors Lucie and Luke Meier in 2017; Then it was bought by Only The Brave in 2021, a year in which it's headline-grabbing Arc'teryx collaboration released.

Meanwhile, Sander herself has established her own consultancy; which most notably collaborated with fast fashion giant Uniqlo on their +J collections.

GmbH

Founded by Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby and a diverse community of collaborators, GmbH is a collaborative brand born from the dance floors of some of Berlin’s most legendary nightclubs. 

Featuring pieces crafted from deadstock materials sourced from a high-end factory in Milan, the label resists the over-consumption of today’s fashion industry, tight jerseys, PVC pants, bulky leather jackets, and tactile vests.

ACRONYM

ACRONYM is a world leader in performance gear, with garments expertly articulated for a range of motion and with high-end technical fabrics for maximum performance. Innovative detailing means jackets can be fully unzipped and taken off in one movement and slung on the back like a rucksack, with mechanisms like the Gravity Pocket, capable of springing items — like a phone — into the user's hand on command.

Errolson Hugh's ACRONYM is constantly innovating and pushing boundaries with what clothing can and cannot do — check out the brand's highly tactile seasonal collections for a perfect example of a futuristic, functional design language.

Mykita

The avant-garde eyewear label uses next-level technologies to create glasses of unbelievable strength and lightweight — all of which are manufactured onsite at the label's Berlin HQ.

Having patented its very own screwless hinges and offering shades in seemingly every color and lens combination under the sun, the high-end German fashion label is for those who want a little more from their eyewear.

Gerrit Jacob

Known for his airbrushed leather garments, German designer Gerrit Jacob decided to establish his own brand in Berlin in 2021. Having lived for years between London, Paris, and Rome, working for brands like YEEZY, Gucci, Balenciaga and Martin Rose, the young designer returned to Germany after 10 years of working and studying around Europe to launch his brand.

Gerrit Jacob has quickly established itself with its distinctive airbrushed graphics that are painstakingly added to garments by hand. And it hasn't taken long to win over some fashion icons such as A$AP Rocky, ROSALÍA, and Dua Lipa.

6PM

The rising streetwear German brand you absolutely need to know, 6PM is a Highsnobiety favourite.

Colorful sweatpants, crewnecks, or tank tops with subtle 6PM stitching, the brand is worn by the young generation of German streetwear enthusiasts, as well as both national and international musicians and celebrities.

adidas

To say adidas is an icon of streetwear would be an understatement. Indeed, the undisputed king of German clothing brands is so ingrained in sneaker and street culture that you'd be forgiven for thinking it was birthed in America. The brand with the Three Stripes has found adoration everywhere from old-school rappers to British football hooligans, all of whom are drawn to the brand's sporty-yet-timeless design language and commitment to innovation.

While nowadays adidas's biggest competitor is Nike but it's worth remembering the altogether more intimate conflict that runs through the brand's history. The brand's founder Adolf Dassler initially designed footwear with his brother Rudolf back in the 1940s, before the pair split and Dassler's brother went on to found PUMA. Their hometown of Herzogenaurach is still divided to this day.

PB 0110

In typically Deutsch fashion, Phillip Bree's PB 0110 label specializes in artisan-crafted leather goods that have been stripped back to the bare necessities - meticulously producing minimalist bags and accessories from high-end leathers in spartan, tonal colorways.

Think of them as the Common Projects of the German fashion world - with a price to match. PB 0110's natural leathers promise to age beautifully over time, developing a unique, worn patina — check some of the beautiful examples on their website for evidence.

Highsnobiety HS05

Not only are we the ultimate source for the latest style news, trend guides, and sneak peeks at new most-hyped collabs, but now you can also shop our in-house Highsnobiety hS05 brand which joins our carefully curated Highsnobiety shop brand roster.

Founded in Berlin, Germany, the brand presents our take on classic silhouettes that are crafted to last and be versatile for every wardrobe. This is done with a focus on sourcing distinctive, high-quality fabrics, paying specific attention to small details, and using tasteful branding.

A Kind Of Guise

Munich's A Kind Of Guise is one of the most forward-thinking German fashion brands for high-quality menswear. Their domestically made collections reference broad, eclectic influences - making a big step away from their country's typically conservative menswear culture.

With A Kind of Guise collections inspired by Mongolian football culture and picturesque highways of North America, A Kind Of Guise's cosmopolitan take on casualwear steps into unknown territories while keeping one foot firmly planted on wearability.

Souvenir Official

Created as a response to Brexit, Souvenir is a streetwear label that promotes togetherness through its EU-inspired motifs and slogans such as "protect peace" which it prints across its range of tops.

On paper, a coming together of politics and streetwear could be seen as contrived but Souvenir has managed to include important messages into clothing that you will genuinely want to wear. Also, the eco-friendly techniques it uses are welcomed in a scene that plays a big part in fashion's sustainability problem.

NO/FAITH STUDIOS

A label that has been bubbling around amongst fashion circles for some years, anyone who has followed NO/FAITH STUDIOS from its infancy will have seen the label transition from a graphics-heavy streetwear label to one producing some of the most innovative and experimental silhouettes imaginable.

Never abandoning its routes, the label combines punk-inspired distressing with utilitarian detailing to create a distinctive look. Based in Cologne, the label's designer Luis Dobbelgarten is surely one to watch in the fledgling German fashion scene.

PUMA

Founded by adidas founder Adolf "Adi" Dassler's brother and arch-rival Rudolf, PUMA sneakers and sportswear pedigree is perhaps less iconic, but by no means insignificant. From cult classic shoes like the PUMA Suede and the PUMA State up to contemporary collaborations like PUMA and Rihanna Fenty Creeper, Herzogenaurach's second-most famous label has a long and illustrious streetwear history - albeit one that lies in the shadow of their arch-rival's.

Kasia Kucharska

The winner of our very first fashion prize, Kasia Kucharska is the Berlin-based label creating body-conscious clothing made of latex. Created using a self-developed digital printing technique without any waste material the innovative techniques used to create its figure-hugging creations are unlike those found anywhere else.

Bringing a contemporary twist to the 17th and 18th-century use of lace that it is inspired by, its distinctive technique has been used to make everything from dresses to socks.

sf1og

Imagine a post-apocalyptic future where everything is grey, hunting and derelict, but with everyone wearing tailored clothing that are either black, or white. That is sf1og aesthetic in a nutshell. Founded in 2019 by Rosa Marga Dahl, sf1og brings a breath of fresh air to German fashion by creating items that as they say "function on various levels - aesthetically, culturally, partly politically, but above all sustainably." The brand's options are both limited and endless at the same time. Their artisanal line "101-Line" has almost only upcycling products and is characterized by an experimental design. The second, and only other product line, "multiplied line" instead offers the consumer ready-to-wear pieces that are ideal for daily use.

Hien Le

Among the niche of minimalist German clothing brands, the Berlin-based designer Hien Le's men's and women's garb stands out for its focus on discreet garments and subtle detailing. Each collection sticks to a distinct palette; whether it's electric blues or soft nude tones, Hien Le keeps things tonal - letting cut and fabrication do the talking. As well as a full arsenal of ready-to-wear gear, the label has also branched out into their own unique fragrance; "delicate but explosive," in their own words.

Frisur

One of Berlin's younger talents, Frisur produces quintessentially European men's and women's collections - that means minimal detailing, spartan colorways, and an emphasis on cut, fabrication, and utility. The brand's full lineup of ready-to-wear garments are executed either tonally or with careful color-blocking; combining "Scandinavian simplicity with German functionality" as the label puts it.

OTTOLINGER

No half-measures for the brand born from the artistic union of two designers Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient. Ottolinger, a Berlin-based brand, creates lacerated silk dresses, unfinished hemlines, vivid cuts on tops, ravaged pants, and drama-glam styling. They are proposing a new concept of luxury, taking advantage of tradition, and challenging stereotypes of beauty.

032c

Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Berlin's Kreuzberg, 032c is an unorthodox addition to the roster of German clothing brands. Originally started as a contemporary culture magazine, they expanded into apparel only recently under the creative direction of Maria Koch.

032c's clothing line serves as an extension of its magazine's editorial agenda, comprised of graphic and embroidered hoodies, t-shirts, and much more, celebrating the magazine's collaborations with the likes of ALYX.

Olivia Ballard

Olivia Ballard is another Berlin-based label that focuses on creating unisex clothing with an emphasis on the sensual experience of textiles. The pieces allow the body to be the centrepiece and bring form, life, and individuality to each handmade garment. If you are searching for your next clubbing outfit, look no further!

Avenir

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A truly sustainable brand that is able to combine their cause to fashion like very few other brands worldwide can. Avenir is an upcycling fashion brand with the mission to avoid textile waste and protect the environment. Their pieces are made from the often overly-produced and thrown away garments that end up in landfills around the world. A must have!

g-lab

If you're looking for athletic brands that will withstand fall and spring showers, g-lab is your label. The weatherwear brand combines contemporary fashion aesthetics with true performance, ensuring you stay dry while looking the part. Utilizing multilayer fabrics with a water column of up to 10.000mm, g-lab’s garments will protect you from even the most inclement weather.

In related news, be sure to check out what the best Italian fashion brands have to offer. And if that's not enough, here are some Russian brands you should know.

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