With superstar fashion designer, stylist and streetstyle photographer, Yolanda Ng, at the helm, we took to the streets of Munich to seek out fashionable people – and talk to them about their clothes, lives and slow fashion.
“When I was young, I was a tomboy. I hid myself. I would go to school in big pullovers, sweaters and put on baggy pants. Stuff like that. Then, at sixteen, I changed completely,” Bertile, a model we stopped at Munich’s historic Odeonsplatz, tells us.
It’s hard not to notice Bertile. Her smile is big, bright and dazzling enough to just about blind you. But there is something else; an air of confidence, a quick wit and a sense that she constantly sees the bright side of life – something to smile at. It’s infectious.
“I remember the first outfit I wore. I actually had heels on for the first time – I went to school with heels for the first time, “ she grins. “And all the teachers and everybody was like, “Oh my God, Bertile, you look so beautiful!” I think that was the moment I gained more encouragement, sort of. That’s how it all started out.”
“Everyone was so surprised to see me that way, because they were so used to seeing me dressed like a dude. But people actually saw me then,” she says a little wistfully. “I had the impression that when I walked down the hall, people would actually notice me. And that totally changed my personality.”
“I have two completely different personalities. I’m actually really shy and easily intimidated but, when I dress up, I feel like a boss,” Bertile says. “I would have loved to be like that earlier. But I wasn’t bold enough. When I was younger, I was insecure. I wasn’t sure how people would react. Now, I know fashion and that I can rock any outfit and look badass in it.”
“It was a slow process, but I’ve reached a place where I really don’t care what people think anymore. I like being colourful. I like contrast to my skin, and I like standing out. It makes me feel seen. When I dress up, wear makeup and have the impression that people would actually turn back to look at me, I feel really comfortable.”
“During the corona pandemic, I had a lot of time to inform myself about topics like slow fashion and the climate. So, for the first time in my entire life, I tried second-hand shopping. It was really cool.” she says. “Sometimes you have it at the back of your mind that these are things people have worn before. Used clothing. But you know what? The clothes are like new. You don’t see any difference. And they’re unique.”
This suits Bertile, who tells us that when it comes to style, she’s a fashion chameleon. “I don’t have any particular style. I’m a mixture of everything,” she explains. “Today, I’m going to be all glamour in a dress. Tomorrow, I’m going to be all black in leather. The next day, I’m going to be all comfy, but stylish. I try out different looks. To keep my looks timeless, I just try different combinations, mix and match.”
“When I go shopping, I don’t think about other things in my wardrobe. If I like it, I’m taking it! But I’ve realised that, often, I don’t like certain outfits off-hand but when I put them on, they look great. So, nowadays, I go to the store and pick out the things that I would normally never buy, because seeing them on makes them look completely different. With fashion you have to be bold. I wasn’t bold enough to wear colourful things before but with my skin, the contrast is there – and I love it.”
- Try new things – You won’t know what you like, unless you try it, so explore new combinations in stores and your wardrobe
- Be bold – Don’t hold back and express yourself
- Try second-hand – the pieces are unique and colourful
- Shop with your heart – buy the things that make you happy. If you love them, you’ll wear them
- Mix and match – try different combinations, patterns and colours. See how they look on you
Header image: ©Yolanda Ng
Image of Yolanda Ng: ©Markus Burke
Image of Yolanda Ng and Bertile: ©Markus Burke
Image of Bertile: ©Yolanda Ng
Image of Bertile: ©Markus Burke