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“My Style Feels Like My Second Skin”: An Interview with Sissi Pohle
We consciously focus on vintage because our hearts beat for it and every piece brings its history wi...
Feature 14 Jun 2022

Purchasing vintage is more than just buying a piece of clothing – it’s buying a piece of fashion history. Based on this belief, Sissi Pohle, together with Patrick Scherzer, has created outofuseberlin – an online store and pop-up shop in Berlin where the shopping experience is both a trip around the world and a step back in time. There, one can find a bit of everything, from classic shirts, blazers and cowboy boots to punk paraphernalia to vintage furniture and tableware. There is even merch made from upscaled vintage items.

The beginning of Sissi and Patrick’s vintage love story dates back about five years when the duo started visiting different flea markets on Sundays, becoming experts at finding beautiful and unexpected treasures. For them, seeking vintage aesthetics is about self-expression and creativity. That is not to say that concepts of sustainability and conscious fashion are neglected – they actively minimise consumption by rarely buying new clothes or furniture. Moreover, they aim to encourage others to include more vintage items in their wardrobes and lifestyles through their eclectic selection; they want to make unique pieces available for everyone.

Sissi Pohle and Patrick Scherzer

The affinity that Sissi and Patrick feel for fashion can be attributed to a historical tendency for communicating through outerwear. In retrospect, with the emergence of the social stratum, fashion took on a new role where dress became an essential element of the rules of behaviour in society. Different professions identified themselves through clothing. However, in capitalism, fashion takes on a whole new character. In Das Kapital, Karl Marx held “the murderous, meaningless caprices of fashion” responsible not just for generating but also for being a product of capitalism. Marx later links artistic bohemianism to a representation of the underclass, where the bohemian position was characterised by economic necessity. This duality between necessity and choice, thrift and economy is essential in understanding the subversive practice of vintage clothing. In particular, the 21st century trend is rooted in bohemianism and artistic self-expression, rather than aristocracy.

Sissi and Patrick are adopting the bohemian approach in their business because their hearts “beat for it”, while their pop-up stores “open their doors around the world temporarily and a wave of vintage lovers travel with them”. Wearing fashion and thinking through fashion are two different practices defined by creativity and complexity. But can vintage fashion become addictive? Let’s see what Sissi Pohle thinks about that as she shares the story behind her success and her thoughts on fashion and vintage:

Punk Biker Jacket with Smiley

What’s your story, Sissi? When did you become a fashion lover?

Already as a child, I was interested in fashion. I wore my mother’s shoes, which were much too big, and dressed up in her clothes. I remember very well that, together with my little sister, I had a big red box in which we kept our favourite clothes. I grew up with a lot of colours, less understatement and I think that also shaped me a little bit. Fashion itself became more interesting as I travelled more and more and got inspired by people from all over the world.

Pat, the man by my side, is probably the biggest influence; his style and aesthetics have shaped me a lot these days.

There’s a fine line between fashion and style. How would you define your style?

It is really difficult to describe an individual style because my own look feels like my second skin which belongs to me. So, I would say my style is loud as well as rebellious. I feel inspired by music from the 70s and artists from this time. Important for me is to wear pieces that feel comfy. Sometimes I wear items which make me look like a boy and in the next moment, I like a glittery dress from the 70s.

When did you become interested in vintage fashion and where do you get your inspiration from when it comes to outofuseberlin?

Pat and I never really belonged to the party scene. Berlin is still fast asleep on Sunday mornings and we always took the opportunity to spend the quiet time at flea markets. That’s how our love for vintage started – a real love story I would say.

Vintage Shirt from Milano

What is your approach regarding vintage fashion? Does it involve any sustainable aspect or is it purely aesthetical?

We surely follow the idea of acting sustainably by purchasing products that are already on the market and buying fewer new products. This affects not only our business field but our everyday life. We rarely buy new clothes or furnishings for ourselves, and we consciously focus on vintage because our hearts beat for it and every piece brings its history with it. This bonds us to the objects and minimises consumption. What we love stimulates emotions within ourselves and we like to take care of what we have so we keep it for as long as possible.

Do you think that vintage fashion can become addictive?

Vintage can certainly be addictive because you can find things that you might never be able to buy in brand-new condition. Another reason is that vintage products are cheaper when we compare them with products from big brands or designer labels. The vintage pieces from high fashion brands no longer cost as much as the new ones and often they don’t lose the value for which they are purchased. I would call it a vintage win-win situation. Once you are in vintage heaven, you realise that you don’t want to buy anything new. The market has a lot to offer, even if you want to follow trends.

Vintage Treasures in Their Berlin Store

I know that you are going through some changes in your life right now: you will be moving to the countryside. How will this affect your future projects?

With the move to the countryside, we will have more space to develop creatively and more possibilities to consider larger projects. Therefore, this will be an important step for us to grow privately but also with outofuseberlin.

Last but not least, what advice would you give to your younger self?

You can do anything if your heart is on fire and you are willing to work hard. All doors are open to you because no one can take away your passion and enthusiasm. With these qualities, you will be truly successful.

Text by Maria Nitulescu

 

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