The rebirth of Kreuzberg’s cool – a chat with Alan Somerville

von Redaktion

Berlin Kreuzberg has long been magnet for the young, creative and forward thinking waifs and strays of the world. However, within Berlin, Mitte has more recently been the fashion capital, with it’s unique boutiques, designer stores and streets full of the young and beautiful. Finally though, it seem Kreuzberg is establishing its place within Berlin’s fashion community, with recent concept store Voo and sneaker boutique Overkill both joining menswear lifestyle store Akeef in it’s quest to bring back the cool to Kreuzberg. We caught up with Alan Sommerville, owner of Akeef, to discuss why his store is leading Kreuzberg’s rebirth.

How long have you been in Berlin for?

I have been in Berlin since a very dark winter in 1999.

Have you always lived & worked in Kreuzberg?

I arrived here from Stuttgart where I had worked at the city’s top club (the M1) as booker/promoter for seven years. I originally moved to Kreuzberg to stay with a friend and my last three flats have all been in the area around the store. I couldn’t see myself living in any other area to be honest; Kreuzberg is a home from home

Where did the concept for the store come from?

Well I had been looking for a location to open a store for 2 years, I had an image in mind of how I wanted it to be, but it wasn’t until I found the space on Wienerstrasse, and actually began ripping out the ceiling and floors that the concept became a reality. Regarding stock, I had a very clear vision from the outset, I only wanted to stock brands that I love, with an attention to detail and independent labels. We have stayed true to this vision, and slowly but surely made our way to creating the kind of store we want. But it will always be a work in progress for us as there is always so much exciting stuff going on in menswear around the world.

Why did you choose Kreuzberg as location for Akeef?

It was just right, there was no one in Kreuzberg doing what we were doing and anyone who wanted decent menswear had to travel to Mitte. Not any more.

You recently celebrated your 2nd Birthday with a pretty special 2-day event in conjunction with Edwin. How did it come about and how did it go?

The event was a great success, we launched our new basement concept space too that weekend which was perfect for the Edwin showcase. With the brick walls and vintage feel to the space, it worked great. Everyone seemed very happy with it and we intend to use the space on a more regular basis this year.

The event also marked the launch of your online store, how’s that been going and do you think the online market is the future for the clothes industry?

Yeah the online store has been really successful so far, like you say it’s still new so needs establishing, for us at the moment it’s just an extension of the store and a way to get our concept and ideas out to a broader audience. The store itself has an ambience you can’t replicate online, but I for many customers who live away from major cities it’s a must.

Do you think Kreuzberg is having a resurgence in terms of its fashion scene, what with Voo and Overkill joining you on your quest to make Kreuzberg the fashion hub it once was?

Yeah, Kreuzberg has definitely changed for the better over the last few years, with small independent boutiques and stores opening and the existing stores moving forward in terms of brands, it’s becoming very special in its own right. Also, there are no Mega stores or flagship stores that keeps the character of the area understated, yet exciting.

What are your plans for Akeef and it’s future?

We intend to keep offering top quality brands, and exploring interesting ventures, possibly expand the shop and utilise the other rooms we have, slowly but surely. Onwards and upwards; without losing the character and individuality of our store and brands.


C. Capate


Want more stuff like this? Show love below.