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Express Yourself Baby, ESPRIT brings the FUNDOM to Berlin Highsnobiety

ESPRIT’s FUNDOM tour, its trans-European hunt for the fans and sub-cultures who bring their brand to life, has arrived in Berlin. Cities around the world are adorned with graffiti and street art, serving as a visual testament to both rebellion and the spirit of fun that inhabits each respective locale. In the case of Berlin, a city marked by decades of division, this dynamic form of creative expression has played a significant role in reflecting and shaping the narrative of its tumultuous history.

The Berlin Wall, a physical embodiment of the ideological and political divide between East and West, became a canvas for young graffiti artists. On the western side, it bore colorful and impassioned pleas for reunification, expressing the collective desire for a unified Germany. 

ESPRIT brings the FUNDOM to Berlin
Highsnobiety

While the Western side of the wall was all but completely covered in street art, on the East, the Wall remained utterly blank. Accessing the Wall was an impossible task, given the highly fortified nature of the structure at the time. The rebellious spirit of self-expression, however, was undamped, and a different form of rebellion emerged. Illegally importing denim, a symbol of Western fashion, became an act of defiance. This fashion-forward rebellion marked the emergence of a youth movement that saw themselves as part of a larger cultural shift.

Today, Berlin’s creative scene continues to bear the imprint of a time when artistic expression was a powerful force for political change. The city has evolved into a hub for artistic innovation, and this legacy was recently celebrated during ESPRIT’s FUNDOM tour, which made its second stop in Berlin. 

Things kicked off at the ESPRIT store in Berlin-Mitte, where guests entered a space transformed by the FUNDOM ethos of self-expression. Custom ESPRIT denim was the must-have item of the night, with those in attendance getting the chance to have jeans, jackets, and plenty of accessories to be personalized by resident spray paint proprietor, street artist Sérgio Ben Mario. Drawing on influences from Berlin’s skate culture and the heartfelt messages on the historic Berlin Wall, Sérgio used the denim products as a canvas to build one of a kind pieces inspired by the city, all infused with his own signature designs.

ESPRIT brings the FUNDOM to Berlin
Highsnobiety

ESPRIT brings the FUNDOM to Berlin
Highsnobiety

ESPRIT brings the FUNDOM to Berlin
Highsnobiety

ESPRIT brings the FUNDOM to Berlin
Highsnobiety

ESPRIT brings the FUNDOM to Berlin
Highsnobiety

ESPRIT brings the FUNDOM to Berlin
Highsnobiety

ESPRIT brings the FUNDOM to Berlin
Highsnobiety

ESPRIT brings the FUNDOM to Berlin
Highsnobiety

ESPRIT brings the FUNDOM to Berlin
Highsnobiety

ESPRIT brings the FUNDOM to Berlin
Highsnobiety

Guests revelled in the change to engage with the AR filter and witness the live creation of customized denim pieces. The event featured prominent digital artists Gabriel Massan and Tabitha Swanson, two highly inventive digital artists based in Berlin. Together, they teamed up to develop an immersive AR Instagram filter, providing guests with the opportunity to animate distinctive denim ‘creatures’ during the event. The lively interactions of these denim characters drew inspiration from ESPRIT’s Oliviero Toscani campaign visuals, whose campaigns have been steeped in the fun and mischievousness which define the brand. The playful, energetic color palette was itself influenced by the artistic style of multi-talanted Italian artist Ettore Sottsass.

In light of the powerful infusion of fun and creative expression, Tabitha gave us her views on the power of AR as a medium of expression, noting "People can experience a piece of work in a much more visceral and enveloping way. VR has been called the ultimate empathy tool, and I believe that AR also provides that."

Drawing on influences from Berlin’s skate culture and the heartfelt messages on the historic Berlin Wall, street artist Sérgio Ben Mario customized ESPRIT denim with his signature designs at the event. Reflecting on the rebelious power of applying paint to any and all mediums, Sérgio believes, "there is only one real relationship between creative expression and youth rebellion: to be with the right art at the right place at the right time."

Visit Highsnobiety to view this part of the article.

As the FUNDOM tour continues, watch our channels for more updates on where we end up next.

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