By Philip Gaedicke, Co-owner of Soto and BAM
Words by Nikolaj Hansson. Illustration by Sine Jensen.
You can't say Berlin without mentioning Philip Gaedicke, mainly known as Phil G. With a past at Bread & Butter Berlin and now in the leadership of Torstraße's SOTO while also being part of Berlin-based agency, BAM, Phil is undeniably at the forefront of Berlin's menswear scene. Phil took some time to talk with us about the influence of design, the financial aspect of creativity and travelling the world.
Do you believe that we, both as consumers and producers, bear a responsibility to the local environment in which we operate?
I definitely think that it's in our hands to give back to our community and its local environment. How? That's up to each individual. Whether you're small or big, it doesn't matter. I strongly believe that it's the thought that counts. And given the status of social awareness nowadays, going local and taking care of your immediate environment is inevitable no matter what.
Is it possible to have both creative and financial success in the fashion industry, without having a heavy online presence?
Every brand is investing in an online presence nowadays. The question is, how do you measure success? Does financial success start with 1 or 10 million in earnings? Are you creatively successful when Suzy Menkes shares a nice word about you or when people stop at your store window and take photos of your products?
How do you see your shop as a component of its neighborhood, rather than just being a place, where people go to buy garments?
We always wanted to create a place that reflected our interests and lifestyle. Obviously, we want to sell products, but I think everyone who's been to Soto knows that it's also a place for exchanging ideas, sharing experiences and, sometimes, even a slice of education.
Some claim, that design can influence the way in which we interact within our society. What is your stand on this?
If you have the eye for it, design can make life much nicer. It just depends on your preferences, interest and priorities. One person can become happy through meaningful conversation, while another one can become happy through certain visual things.
Being co-owner of Soto and BAM, how important do you find creative freedom to be, when working?
It's the essence of our work. Once you start working for yourself, that's pretty much the only motivation to keep you running.
What is more important to you, the design or the quality of a garment?
It goes hand in hand, one can't survive without the other.
With reference to countless books and articles on menswear essentials et cetera, do you find that one must adhere to a certain blueprint when developing ones individual style?
I hope one doesn’t. Otherwise, it’s colouring by the numbers, which becomes very boring.
You travel around the world for fashion weeks and what not. What part of the world has made the greatest impact on you, both in relation to your personal style and your work?
To be honest, it's not really the different locations that have had an impact on me, but rather the people I've met throughout my travel and the friendships developed from this.
Do you find that the menswear industry can take itself too seriously from time to time?
Always. It's ridiculous and funny at one and the same time.
What is your perception of Scandinavian style?
A lot of Scandinavians will probably hate me for this, but hotdogs, beers, vikings, blondes, tall girls and fashion.
You’ve worked for BBB and consulted rather commercial companies earlier. Do you see the lines between the underground and the commercial scene getting blurrier, when people like yourself are consulting major companies?
There's definitely a change happening. Major companies try to go local and penetrate certain communities and sub-cultures with lots of effort. Nobody wants to be the big bad wolf. Nobody wants to be perceived as this huge money-making corporate company. Everyone wants to be nice and politically correct, while no one says what they really think and feel. You're always in the spotlight. Okay, I think I'm missing the point here.
A couple of years back, Berlin was considered a capital for the creative class. With the economy still being a challenge, do you think the perception of creativity being the primary factor of the economy is a utopia?
Yes, definitely. Economy is measured in numbers, whereas creativity is intangible and more about emotions, feelings and a state of mind. Creativity is an over-used term. Everybody and everything call themselves creative nowadays. Berlin never was solely about creativity. I think the rich culture and history had a much deeper impact on the city.
Photography by Robert Wunsch and MONOQI.