Another Year in Berlin: überlin’s Highlights of 2012

by James and Zoe

Wow, what a year! It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Berlin two years – because it feels like we’ve lived here forever, yet sometimes it’s like we’ve just stepped off the plane. That’s the enduring freshness of love, I guess. Too sappy? Then maybe we’ll just skip to our highlights of 2012: our favourite moments and places, most awesome blog posts, and all the other (furry) little things that made the year our best yet.

überlin's highlights of 2012: January

The Loxx Miniature Railway version of Berlin is probably the city’s best-kept secret, or at least it was until our photos ended up on the front page of The Guardian website. Small world(!) – on our second visit to the mini-Berlin on top of Alexa mall, we ran into Dave from the blog Andberlin – who also named Loxx as one of his highlights of the year. This is the perfect place to go on a rainy winter’s day.

überlin's highlights of 2012: February

To celebrate Zoë’s birthday we went to Stockholm and Copenhagen and while we were there, visited the most beautiful and inspiring place we’ve ever been. Looking back at our post about the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, I feel like my words fail to live up to Zo’s stunning photos, and even those can’t capture the breathtaking beauty of the museum and its coastal environment. We thoroughly enjoyed our short time in Scandinavia, but the Louisiana was the hands-down highlight.

überlin's highlights of 2012: March

The first of our articles to appear on The Guardian, 5 Apps Berlin Really Needs, was a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the buzzy, bubbly startup capital of Europe. Our iProtest app concept gamified civil disobedience, while Angry Berliners turned German bureaucracy into an addictive platform game. Our Buskamatic app aside, March was a great month for music – Modeselektor released the iconic video for their “Berlin” anthem, and we discovered Big Stu’s comedy rap tributes to Hühnerhaus and Kottbusser Tor.

überlin's highlights of 2012: April

Our personal highlight of the year has to be getting our hands on this little ball of cute. In fact, Olive is probably many readers’ main reason for visiting the blog – we might be better off training her to work a camera and a laptop and leaving her to it! The unofficial überlin mascot, Big Ö is recognised way more frequently than we are, and has turned up in the unlikeliest of places – including an Instagram tutorial video and a conversation with a Bully-obsessed stranger at my cousin’s wedding (“you own Olive the dog?!!!”). Apart from welcoming our fuzzy daughter to the fold, we also ate the meal of the year (with matched cocktails!) at Rollin Restaurant.

überlin's highlights of 2012: May

If our May pick was a movie it would be the überlin prequel, Escape from Newcastle. While our home toon stands for everything we hate (or is that the other way around?), we still have a soft spot for the football-loving Stella-downing lads and lasses we grew up with – something we hope came across in our “origin story”, From Geordie Shore to Germany. Back in Berlin, visiting friends introduced us to the Ramones Museum, the only such institute devoted to the Detroit proto-punks in the whole world, the personal collection of a Berliner who must be their greatest fan.

überlin's highlights of 2012: June

It might seem obvious, but our What I Know about Germans post is like David Hasslehoff’s “Looking For Freedom”: ubiquitous, infectious, and every German loves it ;) . Credit for our “greatest hit” actually goes to writer Liv Hambrett, for her keen observations about her adopted countrymen, and illustrator Mischief Champion who’s busy bringing them to life for WIKAG – the book! Photo op of the month (year?) had to be Berlin Gay Pride 2012 – so many queers! So many colours!

überlin's highlights of 2012: July

It seems like a long time since Zoë spent a boiling Berlin Fashion Week maximising her time in the air-conditioned tent, and occasionally popping outside to photograph slebs like Fashionbloggerin Miggy. Lucky for us, she braved the heat long enough to get these impressions of Berlin Fashion Week SS13.

überlin's highlights of 2012: August

While Peaches was never exactly a reason for moving to Berlin, we’ve never been able to think about the city without picturing her merkin. Since we arrived, we’ve been lucky enough to see her twice: “doing herself” live on stage and orchestrating a protest/video shoot in support of Pussy Riot. We weren’t the only starstruck fans following this freak parade into Mauerpark, and it was impressive to see Ms Nisker whipping up a storm to publicise an important – and still ongoing – cause. Less colourful, but no less eye-opening, was guest blogger Russell Dornan’s look behind the closed doors of Berlin’s Natural History Museum.

überlin's highlights of 2012: September

You Know You’re a Berliner When… you pose for a photo pretending the TV Tower is your penis, which then becomes a lightning rod for critics of hipsters, expats and archisexts (I made this one up). Having regular “Berlinergasms” was just one of 11 sure-fire signs that you’ve become a Berliner, along with dancing in a U-Bahn station and witnessing at least one daily act of crazy. Zoë saw more craziness at London Fashion Week SS13 – here is just a taste.

überlin's highlights of 2012: October

October was a month of light and dark. The gloomy nights provided the perfect backdrop for the Festival of Lights and (we think) our animated GIFs were the perfect demonstration of the event’s kaleidoscopic displays. Far less joyful was Berlin Crawling: 10 Halloween Horror Films, a list of creepshows shot here in the Haupstadt, ranging from the slick (the neo-Giallo short Yellow) to the just plain sick (corpse love story Nekromantik).

überlin's highlights of 2012: November

We’re so glad Phia agreed to be the first subject in our series of Berlin portraits. We’d heard the Australian singer/songwriter/thumb-pianist at an intimate concert in a fellow musician’s house, and loved her stories and songs about her granddad, a Berliner, and what it meant to live in his hometown. We spent a beautiful, crisp day discovering her Berlin, and sharing our love for the creative, open city we now call home. Oh, and we celebrated two years of überlin/living in Berlin!

überlin's highlights of 2012: December

As we entered our third winter in Berlin, we thought we should share the survival skills we’ve picked up with expats who’ve recently arrived from warmer climes. With the help of Josh Bauman’s awesome caricatures of us (and Olive!), our more-or-less practical tips about How to Survive a Berlin Winter helped to restore calm among the panicky sun-botherers freaking out at the first sight of snow. I wonder if anyone’s quit their job or grown a beard on our advice? And giving away €250 of Berlin-themed swag was a great way to end another awesome year of überlin.

Join us in 2013 for more Berlin love and LOLs. Happy New Year!

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Berlin Fashion Week SS13: Impressions

by Zoë Noble

See some of my street style shots from Berlin Fashion Week SS13 on Sleek Magazine.

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Überstyle: Berlin Fashion Week Bloggerati, Miggy Likey

by Zoë Noble

Miggy Likey at Berlin Fashion Week full length

Miggy Likey at Berlin Fashion Week close up shoes

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Berlin Fashion Week: Orange Highlights

by Zoë Noble

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Hien Le’s Berlin Fashion Week, Part Three

by James Glazebrook

We’re feeling a little emotional – this is the end of our Berlin Fashion Week journey with the über-talented Hien Le. Have a peek behind the scenes at his final catwalk show below, and skip over to NPR’s Berlin Stories to read our article and see more pics. We’d like to thank Hien Le and Agency V for the access and accreditation, stylist Sarah Plunkett for her extra words, expertise and energy, and Giselle and Anna at NPR for giving us a platform. *bows, accepts bouquet*

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Hien Le’s Berlin Fashion Week, Part Two

by Zoë Noble

NPR have published the second part of our story about local designer Hien Le’s Berlin Fashion Week experience. But before you skip over to the Berlin Stories website to read it, here are some exclusive behind the scenes shots of Hien preparing for the final of the Start Your Own Fashion Business contest:

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Hien Le’s Berlin Fashion Week, Part One

by James Glazebrook

During Berlin Fashion Week we followed local designer Hien Le as he prepared for his catwalk show and the final of the Start Your Own Fashion Business competition. Our three-part story for NPR starts in Hien’s Kreuzberg studio, where he explains how he incorporates influences from his birthplace of Laos into the “really clean, simple and minimalistic” aesthetic that already caught the attention of industry insiders at last year’s Fashion Week. Read part one of our article over on NPR’s Berlin Stories, and scroll down to see more behind-the-scenes photos. Part two coming soon!

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Berlin Fashion Week Designers of Tomorrow

by Sarah

“Bauhaus air hostess meets Mad Men meets Lego.”

This was the sentence I scrawled on my notebook to describe the designs of Alexandra Kiesel, this year’s winner of the Berlin Fashion Week Designers of Tomorrow award, hosted by none other than the kilt-donning genius Marc Jacobs.

The building-block primary colours, Bauhaus influence, silk fabrics, pillar-box hats, gargantuan jewellery and sheer individuality of each outfit made Kiesel the obvious choice for inclusion in the competition’s Hall of Fame.

As well as the winner, the other designer who stood out for me was Markus Schmidbauer, a radical, artistic Central Saint Martins graduate. His collection, made from industrial fabrics such as acrylic and dominated by black and silver tones, evoked a Gareth Pugh fantasy with a Berlin twist. One to watch.

This award is a great platform for designers striving to get a foot in the proverbial door of the ever-competitive business of fashion design. Judged by global fashion and art experts, the young hopefuls are merited for their creativity, talent, skill and innovation. Use of colour, texture and textiles play a major part in the final decision. It’s refreshing to see a successful designer such as Jacobs supporting fledgling designers with belief, encouragement and advice as they launch their careers.

As Alexandra Kiesel begins to ride the crest of success, it’s good to know that in a studio somewhere in Germany there’s another focused hopeful, painstakingly stitching together her design for tomorrow.

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Überstyle: Pretty in Peach

by Zoë Noble

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Fashion Week Friend: Golestaneh

by Zoë Noble

Last week at Berlin Fashion Week I met the lovely Golly of Golestaneh.de. I spotted her outside the tent and thought she had amazing effortless style. After we chatted for a bit, I found out that not only does she have impeccable taste in clothes, but she even has her own fashion store to showcase them in! Originally a lawyer, she has swapped her briefcase for a bucket bag to start a new life as a buyer and store owner. It’s always inspiring to meet someone who has finally taken the life-changing decision to follow their passion and see where it takes them, and looking at the website and the products she has picked, I can see that Golly isn’t going to have any problems with this new career of hers. I for one would want to own everything in her shop and seeing as though it’s in Cologne, thankfully I have some time to save up before the trip!


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