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Hello Berlin #14 - Through the eyes of HeroinKids

Berlin’s "cool kids" generation

Hello Berlin #14 - Through the eyes of HeroinKids Berlin’s cool kids generation

The ever-changing image of beauty has reached yet another era.

The sporty, tanned and glamorous 80’s were followed by the the controversial heroin-chic of the 90’s, a trend leading away from being perfectly groomed, moving towards the glorification of shiny skin, messy hair, dark eyes and pale lips, made fashionable. Something that would stick around for many more years to come. With that cliché of glamorous beauty gone, the way for pale and fragile looking models was paved. The recent trend that’s been on everybody’s radar lately takes that development a step further by booking so-called “anti-models”. The motto? Anything but average.

Cool is everything outside the box, anything and anyone that doesn’t quite fit. The fashion world is focusing on branding through storytelling more than ever before. But the story’s quite different now than it was forty years ago – and it is also quite different to the prevalent lifestyle me, myself and I generation before was focused on. What the "cool kids generation" wants those days seems to be being part of a social group – a group that on one hand gives them the freedom to letting go the pressure from daily lifestyle issues and on the other hand something that creates a feeling of belonging – through the way of dressing.
Rather than creating and selling clothes to enable a person’s expression of individuality, labels are now selling a lifestyle.

This can be observed particularly in Berlin, a city known for its vibe of freedom and rebellion, infamous for its party and fetish scene and its artsy way of life that everybody wants to be a part of. As a result, labels often take elements of counter culture and make it their own, turning the individual look of  a small group into broadly available fashion items, that allow consumers to dive into a world they normally would not look to access. The "cool kids generation" represents exactly that.
With a safe and well-educated background, they’re kids from the middle of society that seek to experience and represent what they think is cool about Berlin: a messed-up life, circled around party and drugs, with the revived look of the heroin-chic we’ve come to love in the 90’s - except they can take it off at the end of the day, when they go back to their parents’ house for dinner. The cool kids of Berlin praise individuality by combining anti-model looks with counter cultural fashion. 

We got the chance to speak to Corinna Engel and Christian Kaiser of HeroinKids, an art and fashion label from Berlin. 

"HeroinKids is an art project including acrylic paintings, photography, video-art, a fashion-label - we write books, we host big events. Our parties are a combination of fine art exhibitions and sexual explicit fashion shows.
HeroinKids is more than just a label, HeroinKids is a lifestyle. (...) Fashion today is much more than just designing sewing pattern. People want fashion fitting to their lifestyle. We all search for something that let us express our vision of the world and how we see the world",

explain Engel and Kaiser.

The fashion concept is pretty straight forward: either tiny pieces of clothing or oversized jumpers and T-shirts, almost all covered with the brand name, seeking and representing a sense of belonging. Slogans like like "Fuck the pain away", taken from artist and musician Peaches, or "Porn is the new religion" are the label’s ironic and provocative version of their fast fashion counterparts.

"People think it’s trendy to get lost. And it’s even more trendy to get lost in the coolest clubs in town. And HeroinKids is the fashion representation of that state of mind, the one which brings you into those clubs, in which everyone wants to get in.Most of those kids come out of a good home, connected with society. Everyone wants to participate in that dark and somehow magical world...always searching for the next hit, for a new adventure. But there are also these feelings of not belonging, not being wanted and not being loved. Feeling alone and unimportant while getting crazy and fucked-up in this world. HeroinKids does not exclude that. (...) Living a life like this can also mean yearning for the wrong things, can also mean to fail".

So the question we are still seeking for is: is all of that really necessary? Does the permission Berlin gives everyone, mean you always have to go into extremes to finally feel yourself again or to think you look good?

One thing is for sure, this topic opens the Pandora's box of taboos and the question of the constantly evolving topic of self-expression but, don't worry, on Sunday there will alwas be people waiting for Berghain. 

text by Birds Never Bored
images via HeroinKids, KAISERENGEL by Corinna Engel & Christian Kaiser