It’s undeniable that Schwarzer Reiter is one of the top addresses in Berlin when it comes to getting ready for a visit to the club. Not so far from Soho House, in Mitte, all dreams can be fulfilled and a new self can be discovered. Having recently pulled looks from the store for the upcoming issue, Numéro Berlin spoke with founder Sabine Schwarz about the role of fetish, the beginnings of her label and times before terms like choker and fetish became trendy.
Hey Sabine! Tell us something about the store, what is the idea behind Schwarzer Reiter? How long have you been around?
Hey hey! The basic idea can be summarized as fetish meets fashion meets lifestyle. Schwarzer Reiter combines these worlds in its now tenth year. Our customers are fashionistas, trendsetters and all those who like the wicked lifestyle. Whether it’s stylish accessories and toys for the private use or a look for the dancefloors of Berlin’s fetish and techno clubs. Those, who come to Berlin from all over the world appreciate the club scene here and want to dive into it. Then, they also have Schwarzer Reiter on their mind and visit the store – to equip themselves for the nights ahead.
You actually come from the distribution sector, what made you open a fetish store?
Markets have always been an exciting topic for me. That one day, I would start a fetish label and from that idea a company was not immediately predictable. But this particular niche caught me for various reasons. With reference to the question posed at the beginning, I come from sales and had a desire for change. To struggle as a woman in management floors could definitely not be my path. Through private visits to sex stores, their fetish departments and trips to trade fairs, it became quite clear to me that there was – and still is – a lot to do here: A huge market yet little stylish offer. That was before choker and fetish became trendy terms and even before Instagram, Fifty Shades of Grey and online retailers claimed to have invented the erotic lifestyle. There were few high-quality accessories to tie up and play with. The looks were cliché occupied rather than something to feel sexy, modern and special in. The stores were hidden away due to heavy curtains and the displays were not very appealingly presented. Modern online retail still is in its infancy. But the need for stylish and playful equipment had to be satisfied. In this case, the only possible way, at least for me, was the creation of a label. What does not exist, must be designed. Schwarzer Reiter – luxury fetish lifestyle! It was my goal to create this wonderful world for myself and others. The way led to a first online offer and the launch of the first Schwarzer Reiter website. Then followed by the opening of the Schwarzer Reiter flagship store at Torstrasse 3. But my label should also grow with its own signature look, not be comparable or replaceable. Products and collections that come from our own house, that bear our own signature, should form another important pillar. Our Berlin studio, under the creative direction of Edin Desosa, takes care of exactly this task.
How would you describe the style of your label BLCKLBL?
BLCKLBL is provocative, but stylish, trendy and consists of fashionably cuts. Its looks can be for fashionistas, trendsetters and all those who like the wicked lifestyle. BLCKLBL’s products are made of high-quality textile leather, transparent materials and glamorous sequined fabrics. From design to manufacturing, from the first draft to the selection of materials, the utmost care is taken to make the final product fit, fashionable and sellable. In order to guarantee this high-quality standard in all production steps, Schwarzer Reiter works together with long-term partners. Our products are created and designed in Berlin as well as manufactured in Germany. We really take the slogan “Devoted to Style” seriously.
What products would you recommend for people who don’t necessarily come from the fetish scene? Any must-haves?
Especially accessories, like chokers, harnesses and cuffs have arrived in the “normal” street style. They can be combined with an everyday look and add that special twist. A cool harness pimps a classically cut jumpsuit in a modern direction. Looks can be subtly dominant or submissively reinterpreted with the right pieces/accessories. And thus, quickly become a stylish eye-catcher that attracts attention.
Thank you, Sabine!
Picture courtesy of Schwarzer Reiter.