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A Washboard Stomach Bag Anyone?

DW staff (sp)
August 30, 2004

Whether it's getting a customized bag in your own body proportions or a 24-piece mix and match wardrobe, a unique exhibition-cum-shop in Berlin offers all this and even weirder lifestyle products.

Your next handbag could look like thisImage: AP

If you want to flaunt your washboard stomach or your shapely behind in winter without freezing, a visit to the rather unimaginative sounding "Department Store for Product Innovations" is in order.

There, you can have your vital statistics scanned and then immortalized in the form of a sexy rucksack or a bag that you can then proudly carry around over your weighty winter clothes.

Opening on August 31 for a month in Berlin's trendy Mitte district, the project also known as "Sin-Berlin" is a curious mixture of exhibition and shop, where more than 70 international designers, architects and artists will create unusual products exclusively for the aforementioned department store.

"The whole thing is a mixture of art and commerce," said Micha Kühn, project spokesman and advertising and graphic expert. "There will also be unique products for sale at affordable prices."

For one month, the sale of the unconventional gadgets and products will be accompanied by events and initiatives under the motto "Getting the Future Today." The organizers are sure that the project won't just remain an abstract artistic endeavor.

"The products will be at the forefront, not the designers," Kühn said.

Unconventional creations

Kühn added that the message to the designers and artists involved was clear: "Create things that the world has never seen before."

The message seems to have hit the mark judging by the range of weird and wonderful creations and products on offer. For instance, an amulet -- called "self-confidence enhancing digital external service" in marketing terminology -- that supposedly helps during interviews or blind dates by exuding biochemical substances that boost your self-esteem.

Or the "unique" bag collection that doesn't just allow you to get a handbag tailored to fit your chest or waist size, but also lets you stuff your keys, wallet and lipstick in a bag modeled on the vital stats of your favorite famous heartthrob or idol. Imagine slinging a Brad Pitt torso on your shoulder as you head off to work!

"It allows you to flaunt your nakedness without actually being naked," "unique" creator Klara Plaskova told Berliner Zeitung daily. For now, she's only created prototypes. "We first want to test how the Berliners react to the idea," Plaskova said.

Mix and match wardrobe

And that's not all. The experimental project also includes functional fashion. A collection called "Rouge Savage" has an integrated hanger in every clothing piece, while another called "Fashion from Building Blocks" includes a complete set of 24 different pieces of cloth that the customer, much like with a Rubik's Cube, can mix and match to create a new wardrobe each time.

For instance, the left back of a jacket can also be used as a front for the right trouser thigh and a couple of sleeves can be knotted together to create a skirt.

"This is an announcement to the fashion world, how one can define flexibility and still remain really individual," said Kühn, who together with another designer set up the "Sin-Berlin" project within a year and a half.

"Fashion capital Berlin"

"Sin" is meant to imply the German word "Sinn" and to suggest the meaning of life.

It remains unclear where the store will display its constantly varying range of products in the future. Kühn said he dreamt of taking it to New York someday.

"But for now Berlin is the ideal location for our project," he said. "The whole world is currently looking at the dynamic and pulsating fashion capital."