Hot summer nights
When I started my job almost a year ago, I was determined to see how much my life and the Milwaukee scene differed from the ways in Germany. Would it essentially be the same, but just in a different language? How would my German counterparts differ from American twentysomethings?
I have been everywhere from the small, middle-of-nowhere towns to Germany’s booming metropolises. My anticipation level through all of my voyaging was (and still is) through the roof. To step outside of your comfort zone and live a life that is foreign to you in more ways than one is incredibly surreal. I always wondered what I would be like at the end of all of this. Would I come back punk’ified circa 1980’s Berlin?*
I specifically was interested in exploring Germany’s fashion, music and youth subcultures.
At this one stage in your life, you’re at a point where your existence is nothing but a fragile identity. One minute you’re wearing JNCO Jeans and the next you’re running around open meadows flashing peace signs. It’s a constant process of evolution and self-realization. I was terribly curious to see how teens overseas navigated this slippery slope of adolescence, growing up against the backdrop of the cultural mecca that is Europe. And once again, I found hints of home in my search.
To see how the media maneuvers and works it’s way to the impressionable is absolutely compelling. Identities change with culture. Cultures not only change but reform, alter and twist with a whole new outlook. This doesn’t always turn out the most favorable results, but sometimes it can produce the most unique trends, ideals and style.
Things usually seem much cooler in Europe because well, it’s Europe. And in relation to its fashion, there’s no doubt they’ve got an edge. Without question, Berlin is ahead of the game. Their motto, “poor but sexy,” speaks total truth. The level of confidence people omit there is fierce and this is clearly mirrored in their fashion.
The style exemplifies the perfect marriage of trends new and old. The clashing of colors, the layering of jewelry — it’s soft but edgy and a bit bewildering, really. But somehow it all works. The Berliners take what they can get and run with it. Flea markets have never looked cooler.
There’s no better way to show off your threads than hitting Germany’s infamous nightlife scene. Let me tell you, all the clichés you’ve heard about Germans and their techno music are true. For anyone who enjoys the electronic scene, Germany is where you want to be. Not only is it in abundance and with serious range, it is actually good.
Germans know how to party. If there were one area where I saw bits and pieces of Milwaukee shine through, it would be our party scene. Not really a stretch now is it though? Milwaukeeans definitely know how to throw back a few and kick it.
Here, drinks are incredibly inexpensive and yes, in most cases, beer really is cheaper than water. Beer IS water in Germany. A cold brew with breakfast? Why not!
And as for the wonderful, delectable German wines: Robust, tannic, velvety and smooth; perfection in a glass. I have indulged myself in Deutschland’s finest grapes and when a quality label only costs about five Euros (which equates to about $6 and change U.S.), it’s been hard to stay away. Now that is what I call happiness.
My days of strolling in as the sun is rising are coming to a close (there’s probably an upside to that). I have enjoyed every second of it. The people, their personalities, styles and presence, the music and the incredible aura of the German youth that is rejuvenated, embellished and relished every day is remarkable. You cannot help but be completely captivated by this.
*I can confidently say the punk scene has not taken its course on me — no absurd piercings or tattoos. Nor have fishnet stockings and platform shoes entered my wardrobe.