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SOTO Berlin: Contemporary Menswear in Mitte

Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010, 10:42 AM / Berlin, Germany

The burgeoning shopping strip on Berlin's Torstrasse continues to grow, with newish boutique on the block SOTO Berlin. Established by colleagues Philip Gaedicke, David Fischer and Omer Ben-Michael in April 2010, the concept store fills the contemporary menswear void with their hand-picked selection of clothes, accessories and shoes, some of which by labels supplied exclusively to SOTO within the German market.

For those outside Germany, there’s a webstore in the works, and for the locals, SOTO also throws the occasional event, previously hosting live concerts and exhibition openings in store.

TribaSpace spoke with Gaedicke to find out where they get their goods.

TribaSpace: Did you and your business partners consult with anyone when designing the store?
Philip Gaedicke: No, not really. We're only a small store with a small budget, so for us it was rather a question of what can we do with limited resources. It was important for us that the store reflects our personalities and characters – more messy and improvised than slick and clean, but with a certain charm. It took us a three day road trip from Berlin to Amsterdam, to Frankfurt and back to Berlin (around 1500 kilometres) to find our entire store interior in old warehouses, at fleamarkets and in our parents' garages.

So what level of importance is placed on visual merchandising?
We find it important, but actually don't care too much. In the end the product has to speak for itself, no matter how it is presented.

Who does what at SOTO? Is there one particular person responsible for buying?
Everybody working at the store is more or less involved, since every single one of us is talking to our customers and getting important feedback. That's the reason why all of us are in the store – we love to sell, talk, inform and to be close to our products. If you don't have that passion for fashion retail then you're definitely in the wrong business, because you probably won't get rich with it.

What role do tradeshows play in the buying process?
They play a big role for us. Capsule in Paris is definitely the best show in the world for our segment, but you have to be careful to not only rely on that, because everybody buys there and you don't want your store to be like all the others.

Which labels at SOTO are you particularly excited about?
We're proud of the brands we stock that are only sold in Germany at SOTO. Brands like Band of Outsiders, Opening Ceremony and Mismo are pretty exclusive, and of course our Japanese labels: Bedwin & The Heartbreakers and Deluxe.

Can you share some of your favourite shops?
My favourite shops in Berlin are definitely Andreas Murkudis and the Wood Wood store. On a global scale I would go for L'Eclaireur in Paris (the hidden one, where you have to ring the bell) and Rossana Orlandi in Milan – both interesting for their exquisite furniture.

Torstrasse 72
10119 Berlin
Tel: +49 0 30 25762070
Mon-Fri: 12:00 - 20:00
Sat: 11:00-20:00

Melisa Gray-Ward | TribaSpace

Interested in reading more stories like this? Keep an eye on the TribaSpace Magazine:

Product Groups: Denim, Accessories, Footwear, Buying, Streetwear, Ready-to-Wear, Sales
Markets: Men's

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