To wrap up th
e remains of last weeks fashion week, we headed to the annual Wedding Dress fashion show exhibition in Brunnenstraße. What looks like a rather white-bread event — I mean, it’s fashion week, everyone and everything is on display right now, why bother with a dinky little flea market — is actually a continuing effort in the process of making Wedding more popular and push some diversity into this forgotten district.
I’m still torn. When I moved to Berlin, I decided to live in Wedding. It was close to everything, it was cheap, and really I didn’t have much of a choice because I couldn’t find another flat. I wanted to live in the scenesters’ heavens of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. In the end I got something much better: I found a piece of Berlin that would’ve been hidden from me if it weren’t for Wedding.
It’s dirty, it’s poor, it has nothing of the urban chique its counterparts Kreuzberg and Neukölln have. Seriously, it feels empty and ugly but that’s actually how most of Berlin feels like. I wonder if people have ever even crossed East Central and Mitte to discover what else Berlin has to offer? I wonder: would I have ever crossed those invisible borders if I hadn’t learned to love it? Would I have ever seen that Berlin is not only dirty and poor and hip but also tragic and sad and loving and beautiful because it has so many different more stories.
And what’s there to love, you might ask. Well here’s one: I love that it’s authentic. There’s no scene, there are only families and hard working people, along with the real poor and the real fucked up junkies. Nobody is trying to pose. Nobody is taking your picture. You have all the freedom you want here (you might get beaten up enjoying your freedom here though, so take care). Those who couldn’t help living here (like me) go to the other districts to act out their rockstar (or socialite) lives. In Wedding, ‘multicultural’ does not mean the best falafel or a new African percussion band; it means people from all over the world who barely speak your language and try their best to make a good living. Some failing, some succeeding.
All those positive things aside, Wedding has a shit hole image for a reason, and I appreciate every step towards a more inviting and friendlier posture. If it takes a flea market and a fashion show to achieve that, then hell, sign me up. A first step was taken with the artful usage of the Stattbad, and now slowly, clubs, bars and events are spreading. I like it, I hate it. I love Wedding. I’m scared of it, too, sometimes. I think it’s got character. Do I want it to shine, do I want to show everyone how great it is? Yes. But do I want to share and risk having it changed? No.
See. I told you I was torn.