Danny Altenbach, Store Manager & Partner of the concept store theflashgib in Stuttgart, Germany, talks about innovation, sustainable ideas, highly intelligent products and an experimental store concept. Interview by Lena Elster

Why do you love denim and which denim brands do you offer?

Denim is an all-time classic, one of the collectables everybody should appreciate and have. Be it a denim jacket, a buttoned shirt or a pair of jeans. We love sustainable products and denim is one of them! I mean consider the historical value of it. Brands like Levi’s, Lee and Wrangler were the first major denim brands on the market. That was a century ago!
So for sure those brands play a big role in our store. We carry the Lee 101 - which endured over a century of history and is now more than ever an icon for the future. And in 2011, the collection was reborn and is a huge success and one of the must-haves! What else? We also carry Levi’s for sure - excellent quality and an all time classic and Edwin, the first denim brand of Japan. But we are open for new players as well. K.O.I (Kings of Indigo), for example is a new brand mixing the American authentic heritage with a fresh Japanese eye for detail and quality. We discovered K.O.I this year during the fashion show in Berlin. K.O.I is brand new at theflashgib. I also put a strong focus on organic cotton and environmental friendly and sustainable products, because I feel that this is the future.

What are your current bestsellers?

Nike is a true champion when it comes to sneakers, but also Alife is going really well. Obey is another strong brand in our store and definitely Urbanears headphones - one of our most popular accessories. In terms of jeans - we don't really see a difference between Levis, Lee and Edwin - our three biggest denim brands.

Do your clients prefer to buy single pieces or complete looks?

People are looking more and more for outfits. They visit the shop and look for inspiration, the latest styles and outfits. When we order new products, we always think in outfits. For us, it is great to equip a customer with one of those.

Where do you buy the collections? What are your inspirations? How important is communication with customers?

We buy our items in Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavia and the USA. But also tradeshows like Capsule, Bread & Butter and Premium are a great place to get inspired, meet friends and brands and check out new products. For the final order, we visit the showrooms, take our time to see the whole collection and select outfits. I travel a lot and get my inspiration from different cities around the globe. And we are digital natives and work closely together with many creative people and artists. Most of our customers work in the creative industry and we enjoy talking to them and getting a feedback from them. That is important for us, as theflashgib is about sharing, and being open-minded. 

What’s the most important item for s/s 2012?

Definitely a slim, long chino and pants made out of Chino cloth. Colorwise - rust, brown, light blue, yellow and red will be the trend colors.

And the most important trend in general?

theflashgib is a concept store focusing on different product categories. This ranges from accessories like headphones from Urbanears and Marshall to bags for Mac books, iPad and iPhones like incase and unit portables. Regarding apparel, we believe in Scandinavian brands like Wood Wood or Norse projects. And definitely our strong focus on sneakers, where Nike is the Number One.

Do you have new labels in stock? How risky are you with new looks?

Our whole concept is experimental, as working with so many different creative people from multiple countries requires an open-minded attitude. We love innovation, sustainable ideas and highly intelligent products. We are an ever-growing network and open for new brands and collaborations. That's what makes us special and interesting. And yes, we already ordered several new brands for this fall and winter - which go towards the Scandinavian look.

Your favorite brands?

Each and every of our brands is interesting in themselves. They have a history, the companies work with stunning designers and produce high-quality items.

theflashgib interior
theflashgib interior

What is the difference between theflashgib and other stores?
Our store comes to life with our awesome team, which is unique in its quality and diversity. It is fun to work with them on such a high professional level - and without a good team - you are nobody. So for me the team is our biggest asset! What stands out as well is the idea behind the store - as we are a true concept store. We are a gallery and store at the same time, a meeting point and a space for inspiration where unique-minded individuals can buy fashion, art and lifestyle goods. You can follow our world on or blogzine www.thedailygib.com where individuals from our network share their thoughts and ideas.
And for the store itself - the space of theflashgib in Stuttgart is perfect - as we have a ceiling that is five meters high and a huge window front. It is ideal for presenting art and showcasing brands. We regularly host exhibitions and work with our own curator for the exhibition. During the vernissage, our space transforms into a gallery-only space - the whole store is empty to set the art in the spotlight. I think this all makes theflashgib pretty unique.

Why do you like your city and your customers?

The Lautenschlagerstrasse in Stuttgart is a street that is parallel to the most popular shopping street in the city - but still a little bit off from the hectic shopping area. That's what we love about it. It is a popular street to cross in order to reach hip clubs, restaurants and bars or just to come and relax from the busy Königsstrasse. Our concept attracts all kinds of people, from sneaker nerds to lifestyle junkies, from fashion freaks to i-accessory fans to a creative director and the art student. This creates a great mix of inspirations and challenges. We are multidimensional - and so are our customers - we simply love it.

How important are interior, architecture and atmosphere of a store?

We operate in a highly creative industry, our brands are top-notch design brands and our customers multicultural and well-informed. To meet our own and our customers’ needs, we put as much effort as possible into our store. We have a professional light and sound system to create an artsy, warm atmosphere that people enjoy and remember.

What are the people looking for at the moment? Special items or classics?

People come to theflashgib because they are looking for special edition items that are hard to find and to get inspired for the next season’s looks. I'd say people are seeking for something special, something made with consciousness and passion. That's what they find in our store.

You just launched an online store. Is e-commerce the future?
Social / e-commerce is getting more and more important. People love to shop independent from their location and the opening hours of shops. But for us going online - next to a service thought - is also a matter of reaching a broader awareness. We have our office in Berlin and our store in Stuttgart but want to reach people in whole Europe. We are internationals, our network and friends are from all over the world and we want to expand our concept to more cities. That's why we just launched our online store www.theflashgib.com. We pay great attention to details and the look of the product – that’s why we are using the latest technology to enhance the customer experience. Just try it out and you’ll see that all product pictures are of high resolution and you can see every detail of the product.