At the Kurfurstendamm you can shop till you drop at Kaufhaus des Westens. But in Mitte you can find a much more interesting Kaufhaus, by the same owner: Kaufhaus Jandorf. In 1904 people shopped here, before the Berlin Wall fell East German fashion was created here. Now you can spot art exhibitions and a christmas market at the battered Kaufhaus.
Kaufhaus des Westens
In 1904 Berlin quickly became a big city. And all those people wanted to have new things. Adolf Jandorf wanted to provide these new things by building Kaufhauser: warehouses. At Kaufhaus Jandorf everybody with a few extra coins could go shopping at Kaufhaus Jandorf. In 1907 he created a warehouse with more luxurious articles for the rich people in Berlin: Kaufhaus des Westens. Poor and rich Berliners could finally buy what they wanted and truly shop till they dropped.
Modeinstitut in Kaufhaus Jandorf
Berlin was severely hit by bombs during the Second World War, but Kaufhaus Jandorf survived the war with only a few scratches. Quite a miracle, because a lot of buildings in Mitte were bombed to pieces. The building remained empty for a while. But in 1955 the former Kaufhaus Jandorf became useful again as the fashioninstitute of East Germany: das Modeinstitut. Inspired by fashion design from Italy and France, the East Berlin fashion designers grabbed their scissors and fabric and started making East German haute couture. They produced and inspired what everybody in the GDR wore.
Dressing up East Germany at Kaufhaus Jandorf
Das Modeinstitut dressed the models in the magazine Sybille and the stewardesses from airline Interflug with blood red uniforms. Although the East German fashion industry was quite well known in the international fashion industry, the quality of the clothes in East Germany in general made East German women quite desperate. The fabric that was used for export clothes was really good, but the clothes for the people living in the GDR was not. They didn’t last long and alternative fabrics like dederon (an alternative for nylon) and lederol (an alternative for leather) made people long for the real deal.
Christmas market at Kaufhaus Jandorf
After the Berlin Wall fell, Kaufhaus Jandorf stood empty for quite a while. A new investor renovated the place partly. There is a new roof, but what is going to happen with it is not quite clear. It is used for art exhibitions and right now, a christmas market. But what happens to the former Kaufhaus Jandorf after that, no one knows…