Last week we featured a young German accessories brand. And that, my friends, is exciting in itself. I don’t know the German markets that well (besides awesome concept store SOTO and super creative menswear label A Kind Of Guise) and it’s therefore quite refreshing to discover Shibumi Berlin, purveyor of classic accessories of the most utter quality and the highest rarity.
Menswear Enthusiasts Also Meet Online
The story of Shibumi is that of two dapper gentlemen, both huge aficionados of men’s fashion, Niels and Benedikt. They met at a get-together of menswear enthusiasts in Berlin after having only interacted online through German style forum Stilmagazin. They hit it off and promised each other, as a joke, to turn their passion for fine clothing into a profession. Who’s joking now?
They founded Shibumi Berlin in 2012 as an independent label classic menswear. And they’re still here today, providing a vast range of tasteful neckties and pocket squares, along with socks, suspenders and scarves, all made of the best quality materials and in line with the heritage of expert craftsmanship.
The Japanese Concept Of Shibui
The name of Niels’ and Benedikt’s business, Shibumi, is a variation of the five century old Japanese term shibui which qualifies an unobtrusive beauty ; a traditional concept that refers to the idea of dressing elegantly but in an understated manner. And I think that Shibumi’s collection is just that (take this most simple Paisley print for instance, I love the color combination).
My favorite piece from Shibumi’s line is this thin knitted silk tie. I definitely see how Niels and Benedikt are inspired by Japanese Ukiyo-e when I look at the large copper, brown and green stripes (scroll down to read the interview and discover what role Japanese art plays in the collection).
We Talk Shibui, Super Mario And Inspirations With The Founders Of Shibumi
Where are you from and where do you live now?
Niels: I’m from Bonn originally, moved to Berlin to study and couldn’t get away from this great city anymore.
Benedikt: I’m from Saarbrücken, near the French border actually. After my apprenticeship I moved to Berlin and can’t imagine living anywhere else in Germany.
What do you do and how did you get there?
Niels: Well, together with Benedikt I own Shibumi; creatively, we do everything together; besides that, I’m more in charge of communications while Benedikt does the more internal, business-related stuff. You know, numbers and such. Classic menswear has been my passion for a long time now and I’m really happy to have made it my profession.
Benedikt: You see? He does communications — I’ve got nothing to add.
We sell accessories that look great and that you cannot find easily.
What inspires you and what motivates you?
Niels: You can draw inspiration, especially color combinations, from the unlikeliest places: we once did a tie we dubbed Super Mario because of the small flowers and blue/green/pink color scheme. I’m also a huge fan of Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints which have the sublimest combinations of blues, greens and browns I have ever seen.
Benedikt: Mostly art and architecture.
Japanese painting by Hiroshige © Wikiart
What is your go-to outfit and how would you describe your style in three words?
Niels: When I want to look good and not think of a new outfit, I will reach for my beloved blue bespoke suit, pink/white striped shirt, brown printed tie and cream pocket square. And I can describe my style in just one word: shibui. Granted, I cheated a little since I have to explain this in more than three words, but the opportunity was too good. Shibui, the adjective to Shibumi, means to dress understatedly elegant, interesting, but not flashy.
Benedikt: I would go for a blue suit (lighter than navy, darker than blogger blue), white/blue striped shirt, coral printed silk tie and brown suede chukka boots. But the real distinctive marks are rather in the details. Hmm, three words: shibui, contemporary, fitting.
Shibumi means to dress understatedly elegant, interesting, but not flashy.
What big project are you currently working on?
Niels: We just launched one, a new line called Shibumi Sen; it’s a little different from our other products. We are simply looking for great, exceptional accessories of the highest quality that you cannot find so easily, like a gorgeous honey suede portfolio or a green glencheck umbrella with malakka handle. Real favorite pieces that bring a smile to your face every time you touch them.
Benedikt: And I’m working on a Shibumi board game (will hit the stores September 2019).
Niels: Dress well and have fun doing so!
Benedikt: Can I greet someone?