Mike Gülal and Michael Müller are the streetwear ambassadors of Berlin’s fashionable Kastanienallee in Prenzlauer Berg. The two opened Le Gang, their first concept store, there in 2007 and have since opened Above, at number 87 and more recently their latest store, Dost, which is just across the street. Dost, which is Turkish for “friend”, sells grown-up streetwear and sneakers for men and women. The store's 90sqm stretch over two floors and emit a light atmosphere with wood panellings and raw concrete ceilings. Here, the two friends and business partners talk about their current bestsellers, inspirations and what makes their stores unique.
Interview by Maria Hunstig

Light atmosphere on the upper floor
Light atmosphere on the upper floor
Why did you open your store? Tell us the story behind it!
It has always been our dream to have our own store. When we opened up our first store, there were not many shops which we liked or which had a clear concept and we really missed that. We have always been travelling a lot and got inspired by other cities and cultures and we have seen and gotten to know so many beautiful things which we wanted to share with others. That’s where the idea to open up our first store arose from. Our concept is based on continuously re-inventing ourselves and reflecting our personal style through our shops.

What are the most important ingredients for successful retailing?
Friendliness, being close to the customer, staying true to your own style, being up to date, not stagnating and having fun at work.

What are your current bestselling labels and which are your personal favourites?
In terms of men’s clothing, we currently sell Sixpack France, Wood Wood, Obey, Supreme Being, YMC, Libertine-Libertine and Super very well. In terms of shoes, Nike and New Balance are very strong. For women, Won Hundred, Just Female, Wood Wood and Dr. Denim are best sellers. My personal favourite brands are Wood Wood, Sixpack France, YMC, Soulland and Nike.

How important is the denim segment for your business? And which cuts, colours and washings are currently the most popular?
The concept of denim will always be an important component of our shop. At the moment, we see a trend towards colourful 5-pocket jeans as well as structured denim. For women, skinny jeans are still central, both high and low waisted. For the boys, a straight cut with tapered legs and skinny jeans are important. As for washings, the used look and acid washes stay on-trend. The colours range from deep berry tones up to intensive yellows. Even boys tend to buy coloured and printed denim more and more.

Which new labels have you added to your assortment recently?
A Question Of, Vans, Tom & Hawk, Soulland.

Many customers stop by for the sneakers selection
Many customers stop by for the sneakers selection
Do customers search for their favourite brands and special styles, or do they buy spontaneously?
We have many regulars who come to the shop on purpose because of our selection of Nike and New Balance sneakers. Generally, we do observe that boys buy more brand-oriented than girls.

Where do you buy your merchandise? Where do you find trend inspiration?
We mainly buy everything in Berlin, as more or less all the brands have a showroom here. But we also write our orders at trade shows in Copenhagen and London. We find inspiration in many things: Berlin, friends, our customers and through travelling.

What do you think will be the key-pieces and trends for Autumn/Winter 2013?
Prints are really strong again and will be played in all colours and shapes. Also denims and chinos will stay colourful. We will see a lot of different fabrics with all sorts of structures and surfaces.

How do you stay in contact with your regular customers?
We have an amicable relationship with our customers. It’s important for us that everyone who comes to the store feels well and welcomed. You see many of our regulars in the neighbourhood and the surrounding cafes. They can find news and updates on our Facebook page and soon on our own blog and on Instagram.

What does your shop have that others don’t?

Good service, much personality and a diverse mix of lifestyle, sneakers and accessories. Come by and get inspired!

in the basement
in the basement

What do you like about your city and the customers in this area?
Berlin is unique; it is alive and constantly re-invents itself. On Kastanienallee you can find many young and international people, which is great.

How is buying behaviour changing – do people look for classics or specialities?
The trend is rather to go back to the classics - “back to the roots”, if you like to put it that way.

Do you have an online shop? Do you use social media?
We are not planning to have an online shop at the moment. We are present on Facebook and soon on Instagram, too. Moreover, we are just designing our own blog where you will find a lot of inspiration soon.

Store's address:
Kastanienallee 22
10435 Berlin