Kaya is the rave fashion queen, who writes our monthly style column, Rags to Raves
A couple of weeks ago I hopped over to Berlin to spend the weekend in some new stomping grounds with my straight through crew. Not my first time in the German mecca of techno, I had vague memories of what to expect. Of course, like all tourists to the city all 12 of us had agreed on onyx themed outfits, mine featuring lots of leather, chains and hardware, in the hopes of looking authentically techno enough to worm our way into the illusive Berghain, (for the record nine of us got in, not a bad result for a couple of Brits abroad). But Berghain is not standalone in this, there is and has been, for the past 10 years, a sordid love affair between techno and the colour black. When and how did a scene so entrenched in celebrating diversity, individualism and creativity adopt such a monotone uniform?
On a scientific level you could theorise that black has become the flag for techno due to a measure of synaesthesia experienced by ravers, a condition where individuals see colours in music. Club-goers are simply matching their outfits to the sinister hues of the dark, big room techno flooding their auditory senses. Possible, but I don't think I'm convinced.
On a more practical level (and probably more likely) techno raves often turn into marathons, especially somewhere like Berlin where 24-hour licences are a common occurrence. The last thing any techno warrior needs in a 3-day bass battle is sweat patches on that nice grey t-shirt or JD and coke stains from the overly energetic dude dancing past you. Of course, in any good old knees up these things will happen and it's basically collateral, but one possible solution - black clothing.
At the end of the day black is statement. Black says 'I'm serious' about life, music and everything else. In black, nobody should ever mistake you as the type of person to listen to anything but dark music played in dark rooms with unsmiling people who want their clothes to be the physical extension of the abstract ideas that techno brings to the dance floor. In black, there's no doubt you're 'in the know', too focused on the music to faff around with silly colour clashes and patterns, or glitter and props.
Personally I am a woman of the rainbow. I shelved my all black regalia years ago. I am in no way serious enough to carry the all black look. I know my music as well as the next melanoid but I'm here for a good time, not for a long time and I like my clothing to reflect just that. The techno scene will not crumble if you inject a little colour into it - I promise. After all, techno was born out of misfits and rebels standing out rather than following the crowd.
Co-Exist is a unique concept store in Berlin supporting independent labels that produce handmade garments alongside their own collection. This colourful and crazy shop channels the 90s and is packed with alternative fashion and accessories, a perfect place to stock up on original pieces like you've never seen before. Run by two lovely ladies, the passion and effort that has gone into this store is evident. Be it the old TV, which plays Clueless on a continuous loop or the walls carpeted in colourful pictures.
Flying under the radar in Berlin's party scene is old dog food factory, Sisyphos. Following many of the larger clubs in Berlin Sisyphos often hosts parties opening on the Friday through to Monday with no break. Started by a group of school friends this venue boasts two large rooms but is most famed for its afterparties in its outdoor wonderland area featuring a canal. Appearing more like a small village than a club, Sisyphos doesn't usually announce line-ups and it can be hard to even know when it is open, simply adding to the underground, mysterious vibe.
Lui Trash is a berlin based fashion designer, creating bad ass accessories featuring lots of PVC and metal work. Any Berliner knows the value of a good choker and Lui Trash has some of the best. From clear to red PVC, she makes good quality accessories that will turn any outfit from zero to techno.