You are viewing imomus

click opera - Berufskleidung, bear-strong
February 2010
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 11:45 am
Berufskleidung, bear-strong

Berufskleidung is the German word for working clothes. I love to buy them. They're bold, durable, and odd -- paradoxically, practicality gives these boiler suits and gloves much more interesting shapes than any fashion designer would dare. They're garish yet severe, flamboyant yet macho, pragmatic yet decorative. They use unusual, innovative materials -- rubber! plastic-sealed paper! -- and have lots of pockets everywhere. For tools, you understand.



The Berufskleidung part of any secondhand store is usually my favourite rail. "Now I can dig the street!" I exclaim, certain that the street will also dig me. These garments are, of course, particularly wonderful in Japan. But here in Berlin they're pretty great too. A latter-day August Sander would be able to capture some fine full-length working men's photographs at the airport or a dug-up stretch of road, featuring bright yellows, oranges and reds.

Claudia's Berufskleidung, at 67 Karl Marx Allee, sells Berufskleidung which are "bear-strong". Claudia has been there on the windswept, Stalinist boulevard since 1992. I buy my clogs there, and flowery housecleaner aprons for my girlfriend. In the world of Berufskleidung a man is still a man and a woman a woman. Oh yes!

To the right, you see a poster on Claudia's wall featuring two German friends wearing their Berufskleidung. They are not homosexuals, nor Village People impersonators. They are healthy German men, perhaps amateurs like myself who simply value Post-Protestant utility value (for instance, they may well prefer Gebrauchsmusik -- useful or utility music -- to other kinds of music, made simply for pleasure) or perhaps working class professionals. I think the black suit is some kind of drinking costume -- the bearded bear wearing it has won many medals for his industrial-strength drinking abilities at Oktoberfests. Note his serpent-shaped fat black stick, with dead leaves speared on its pointed end. His white-suited friend is a dandy disco plasterer. There's nothing more satisfying -- as he well knows -- than getting a pristine cream flared disco suit quickly filthy. In the bucket and sack behind the pair are either cement and plaster or (more likely) the tubs of cash they've saved thanks to shopping at Claudia's.

I came away from my visit to the store yesterday with a chocolate-brown apron (€10) and a pair of bright red rubberized gloves (€2,90). (Click the picture above to see a bigger version.) I have no idea what profession my uniform might suit me to. A fishmonger, perhaps? A cacao plucker? But, delighted with my purchases, I couldn't resist slipping them on (with a little help from Cheung Lik, who purchased two pairs of gardening gloves, one grey, one white) right there on the platform of the U5 line at Strausberger Platz. Standing under Claudia's pragmatic emporium, wrapped in practicality, chocolate and blood, I did indeed feel "bear-strong".

37CommentReplyShare

petit_paradis
petit_paradis
erik
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 12:10 pm (UTC)
hand in glove

what is the (desk-top?) image at the background of your photo-strip of naricissism?


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 01:11 pm (UTC)
Re: hand in glove

We cacao pluckers cannot be narcissists, for we stand in solidarity one with the other, as far as the eye can see, clad in our uniform of brown and red. If you kill one of us, the next will step into his shoes and kill you.

The image in the background is a still from some art school degree show or other. They too are interchangeable. If you kill one, another will spring up with Helvetica graphics and nice little booklets hung on a washing line.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 12:12 pm (UTC)
my janitor suit

i love my two-piece janitor uniform made of fire-proof grey fabric. i found it at the "Berufsbekleidung" department of Humana at Alexanderplatz in the early nineties when they sold there lots of workwear from the perished DDR. workwear was also quite fashionable among the techno kids in those days... and obviously for some it still is (q.v. the unspeakable neon-orange roadmen vest at the Loveparade)
the janitor uniform would be my favorite suit if it wouldn't be so loose. unfortunately these working clothes are not designed for us skinny technical losers...
eRiC


ReplyThread

(Anonymous)
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 01:01 pm (UTC)

yawn...


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 01:15 pm (UTC)

Quick, slip a ball gag into that! It's the uniform worn by a yawn!


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC)



ReplyThread
iloveacomputer
-
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)

I went to a store in Graz, Austria last summer which was rather unfortunately named "Gummi Neger" (I'm told this means Rubber Nigger). It sold amazing arrays of rubberized everything, and I bought a pair of royal blue jelly sandals in adults shoe size! They had beautiful but very pricey swimming caps much like my gran might have worn if she had been a synchronised swimmer, but I couldn't justify buying one.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)

I don't remember us wearing these outfits on stage together ever...what show is this from? My hair looks alot thinner and darker in these pics and yours looks...different too. Who's that ugly girl in the red, did she tour with us too? I guess my memory is failing me today.
-John Flesh


ReplyThread Parent
agoraphiliac
agoraphiliac
agoraphiliac
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC)

There's a DDR film, Spur der Steine, in which a rowdy team of construction workers wears exactly the Berufskleidung shown on the right: the black suit and buttoned vest and broad hat. That doesn't mean it's not a drinking uniform.

http://www.deutsches-filmhaus.de/filme_einzeln/ba_be_einzeln/beyer_frank/spur_der_steine.htm

In your own B-kleidung, you look like maybe you could work at the fish farm in Cronenberg's Existenz. So a fishmonger, yes, but of mutant fish parts meant to meld with computer hardware.


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 01:30 pm (UTC)

Profession: Monger of Mutant Computer Fish (since 1984).


ReplyThread Parent
jluke
jluke
jluke
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 07:30 pm (UTC)

It is the traditional uniform of the itinerant journeyman on his Walz.


ReplyThread Parent
agoraphiliac
agoraphiliac
agoraphiliac
Thu, Feb. 22nd, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)

thanks. I always just thought it was because they were construction workers (in that movie), or that it was some Brandenburg-isch regional thing.


ReplyThread Parent
akabe
akabe
alin huma
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC)

practicality gives .. much more interesting shapes than any fashion designer would dare.

berufskleidung, yes, that's about all i ever buy. but also some army stuff and some sports stuff. the swedish army have some true masterpieces. Similar but in a sense at the other extreme is stuff made in the old PRC. the mao suit etc is cool but i'm talking about more basic stuff like tshirts etc. they were designed with practiclity in mind but a practicality of the material and of the making process with total disregard for the human body and ergonomics. the results were very interesting to say the least. pretty hard to come across nowadays.

how i miss the vitality of 90s belgian fashion designers who blended all this with beauty.

the japanese stuff is very interesting because you do have a layer of what marxy would call orthopraxic design (say square or rectangular things) but then on the other hand you have ergonomics that someone like say 'the north face' will never reach. check out these socks, materialized perfection .


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)

Yes, I always think of Matthew Barney as "The Entered Apprentice" when I think of German and Japanese workwear. There's this fascinating combination of the ritualistic and the practical. Pracritual?


ReplyThread Parent
lemur_man
lemur_man
crunchy jazz
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)

The two guys in the poster look like a pair of Lutheran pimps.


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 02:16 pm (UTC)

Pimp My Bible!


ReplyThread Parent
pay_option07
pay_option07
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
Lutheran Pimps!

Now that should make the NewArt standup
vocab! Ha Ha Ha!!


ReplyThread Parent
desant012
||||||||||
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC)

Reminds me of the outfits I see on the last remaining Chemical Brothers fans coming in from Bushwick on the L train. Who knows, maybe with the whole approaching 90s drug retro thing (I swear, is there a set date on the calendar or something) this type of workwear style will come back. PLUR out maaan.


ReplyThread
fireflesh
fireflesh
fireflesh
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC)

I was surprised by how many people in Köln the other day were wearing harardous waste crew and electrician crew suits as team costumes.


ReplyThread
pay_option07
pay_option07
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
nouveau humorous

Could it be the new Kitsch or another Black Hole of the desperate?


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
Re: nouveau humorous

Who knows - people are seeming to start wearing those kinds of things in Brooklyn, too (or so I've heard), so maybe it's just another international hipster style emerging. Things are working on an international scale these days.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
Re: nouveau humorous

It's a huge emergent thing on the streets of Neukolln too. And that's just the gloves.


ReplyThread Parent
thetemplekeeper
thetemplekeeper
thetemplekeeper
Thu, Feb. 22nd, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
Re: nouveau humorous

[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<gasps!>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

<gasps!> You are indeed wearing jeans beneath all that paraphernalia! What's going on here?!


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Feb. 22nd, 2007 08:08 am (UTC)
Re: nouveau humorous

No no no, those are blue yachting trousers with two sets of strings around the ankles to keep the deck water out and an elasticated waist! They're not made of denim but a sort of thin blue waterproof canvas! Different materials, different shape.


ReplyThread Parent
thetemplekeeper
thetemplekeeper
thetemplekeeper
Thu, Feb. 22nd, 2007 10:38 pm (UTC)
Re: nouveau humorous

Of COURSE they are... ;)


ReplyThread Parent
nicepimmelkarl
.
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 06:27 pm (UTC)

puis je stain your cobblestones with wine and piss and death desire, junge frau?


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC)

There must be a little of the charm of the exotic in your embrace of berufskeidung, my day job is tiling contractor and once out of the work-a-day, I like to go thrift shop dandy (Lord Whimsy would like me but he might not like my tie).
I love the escapist reversal of the day-artist in berufskeidung and the day-worker in serge suit.
I approve wholly of the fun and practicality of this sartorial role play but I have to say those rubberised gloves can become a little uncomfortable on fine summer days.
Incidentally in connection to your 'Down with jeans' post, I cannot understand why those wretched vestments ever became connected with manual workers as the are just about the most uncomfortable and impractical trouser one could wear, I much prefer that bricklayer's white flared britches.
Regards.
Thomas Scott.


ReplyThread
lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)

Only if the tie in question is unnecessarily drab, Thomas.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Feb. 22nd, 2007 11:09 pm (UTC)

I have been accused of wearing 'fruity ties' which I hope bodes well for the pageantry of my neck-wear.
Thomas.


ReplyThread Parent
lord_whimsy
lord_whimsy
whimsy
Thu, Feb. 22nd, 2007 11:57 pm (UTC)

Just tell them, "That's nothing--you should see my underwear".


ReplyThread Parent
niddrie_edge
niddrie_edge
raymond
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)

Whip It! Real Good.


ReplyThread

(Anonymous)
Wed, Feb. 21st, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
question (?)

What do you think is a worthy bachlors degree to begin a students journey into the arts (visual and or literature or even poetry).

And if you answer such a question, what institution, of course if any would you recommend (in the USA).

xo


ReplyThread
thetemplekeeper
thetemplekeeper
thetemplekeeper
Thu, Feb. 22nd, 2007 12:17 am (UTC)
Re: question (?)

I'd say Astrophysics at Harvard; but then it is very late...


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Feb. 22nd, 2007 08:13 am (UTC)
Re: question (?)

I'm liking Hunter College in NYC for visual art. They seem to have the most talent in their degree shows.


ReplyThread Parent
turkishb
turkishb
L'dent-de-lion
Thu, Feb. 22nd, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)

i feel like this was better associated to femininity (domestic) than masculinity in the way it should be... therefore i love this post very much. it is going in my memories.


ReplyThread

(Anonymous)
Thu, Feb. 22nd, 2007 03:25 am (UTC)

momus, aren't the clothes bulky and uncomfortable though?


ReplyThread

(Anonymous)
Thu, Feb. 22nd, 2007 07:25 am (UTC)

Y-M-C-A...it's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A...

or

Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt euch!

or both. that sounds good.

michael


ReplyThread