Regenbogen-Zehensocken | Unter Palmen

Rainbow Toe Socks | Under Palm Trees

Rainbow Toe Socks | Under Palm Trees

Aïcha Abbadi

CW 21-24

“Eeew, those toe socks, with such li<le fingers, I don’t like this at all.”

“Have you ever tried them on?”

“No, actually… It is really the aesthetic that repulses me.”

(Conversation at the opening of the Dresserie)


With the borrowing-space “Dresserie” in Fuldastraße and the swap installation “En Plein Air” at Körnerpark during the Festival 48 Hours Neukölln, the limitations between artistic intervention and “customer”-oriented fashion service become blurred, engaging with the public with and against preconceived expectations. This becomes apparent in how visitors approach both settings. The Dresserie, temporarily located in an art gallery, is approached as a conceptual work by the gallery’s regulars and some neighbours familiar with its changing installations.

Random passersby are often still intrigued by the borrowing concept or in the hunt for a bargain. A woman pastor leaves the Dresserie with silver lace-up shoes. A couple disagrees in their sartorial experimentation – despite the possibility of returning the pieces, they leave empty-handed. Another couple immediately picks pieces they are eager to keep – a tailored blazer, flowing lycra pants, long Bermudas in a thick grey cotton jersey. Reactions to individual pieces are strong and clear-cut: personal preferences are well established.

A lack of sizing diversity became noticeable – the pieces discarded on the streets are often rather small. At “En Plein Air”, neighbours noticed and fixed this issue by adding larger sizes to the laundry racks in the sun, for others to swap. Found pieces from the tours paint the scene – a round in the aPernoon heat brings forward a trace of children’s sun caps. Conversations among visitors range from sustainable consumption to the value and care of clothes during the times, but also impressions of the neighbourhood itself.

An accumulation of clotheshorses under potted palm trees in Berlin-Neukölln – for some the usual neighbourhood atmosphere, for others an irritation that invites further questions: on art, the social, craft, the artisan and the found object.

While the ragpickers purposely wander to find clothes, at times, it appears that the garments find the ragpickers instead. While reorganising the pieces on the laundry racks of “En Plein Air”, Jule finds her favourite top from childhood. No longer in her possession, it may be its twin, or perhaps the very same piece which found its way back to her? With a trained eye, Stella spots a staff sweater from a cooperative supermarket peeking out from under a car. On an earlier tour, elsewhere, a neighbour had told us he had found the one he was wearing, from the same supermarket, on the streets as well and tie-dyed it with bleach for further personalisation.

A shared feeling of visitors at both the “Dresserie” and “En Plein Air” was the desire to “shop” again, post-pandemic, but without the bad conscience. A neighbour reserves a red bathrobe and blue velours sweatpants for a later swap, returning from his “palace” overlooking the park with a bag of shirts and jackets, as well as a tray with coffee. The accumulation of wealth breeds misery, he muses about an acquaintance of his – what he pursues instead is less ownership and more neighbourly exchange.

Aïcha Abbadi in company of a festival visitor // all photographs ©paolo gallo

Spiel und Ordnung

Play and Order

Aïcha Abbadi

CW 18-20

Play and Order


You told me that you make hats.
Peaked caps.

And how long have you been doing this?
3 years.

Did you once have longer hair?

And since when are they not as long anymore?
Since 3 years. (laughs.)

Aïcha Abbadi in dialogue with Hatim Alyafi

While the caps were not the reason behind Hatim’s separation from his hair, the decision
was certainly facilitated by them. They had over the years become a permanent but
transformative headdress, something to play with to alter outward impressions.
Something that immediately catches the eye, yet unfortunately doesn’t cover the ears in cold weather, the reason why
even Hatim swaps them for knitted hats from time to time.

What is the quality that makes a piece of clothing a cherished plaything
and when is playtime over? As Franceska goes through the pile of clothes selected for loaning
at the Dresserie, she feels an instant attraction to more than one piece.
A yellow dotted dress with a light blue soft knit jacket.
With antcipation, she envisions them as complete looks which she could see herself wearing every day,
combined with hand-made accessories and perhaps some rubber boots?
Playful materiality and a sense of cheerfulness are important,
an elegant functionality and overall positivity.
Even more than the visual impression alone it is the imagination that leads to the play with
clothes, what emanates from individual pieces.
In the storage room as well there are different categories, with some pieces allowed to leave the space with committed STREETWARE
wearers, while other pieces are expected to return. Still others are prepared for further processing.
One of these piles is made up primarily of dark grey, blue and black pieces,
much cotton and polyester, coats, trousers and cut-up thights,
but also a bikini top. There are pieces in many sizes, but apparently they do not qualify
anymore for play.
The processes of STREETWARE are a continuous alternation between play and order,
enthusiast discovery and careful selection and planning. As the laundry racks
the walk through the streets becomes a performance with intrigued public.
Before the big staging however, they remain in orderly rows,
as the clothes themselves, ironed and folded, waiting for
their grand entrance.
Auszüge der begleitenden Forschung: STREETWARE im erweiterten Mode-Kontext

Selections from the embedded research: STREETWARE in the expanded fashion context

Aïcha Abbadi

Selections from the embedded research: STREETWARE in the expanded fashion context

The garments and interactions of STREETWARE contain a wide spectrum of complex connections, personal thoughts, feelings and memories. Aïcha Abbadi  accompanies and documents these processes, exploring multi-layered meanings of textile and fashion experiences, from personal perception to global, historically established structures.What is being overlooked? What do we remember? What do the garments themselves and our interactions with them tell us about commonalities and differences, convictions and contradictions?

Fashionable rags are an exchange between past and future, here and there, ephemerality and timelessness. They are a response and a questioning of the complexity of our collective social fabric, juxtaposing arbitrariness, personal philosophy, structural inevitabilities and moral dilemmas.

For the duration of this project, selections from the research will be presented here: personal impressions of the different participants, observations on the found pieces and interactions, their relevance and position in the wider, expanded fashion context.

Quotation by Jan Markowsky

Some people often want to wear only black. But I was always rather a friend of bright clothes.
[…] Once I got a white, still shrink-wrapped shirt from the donations clothing store - because I always stay clean - not everyone got that.
[...] But then I once accidentally spilled pea soup all over my light-colored clothes.' 


Aïcha Abbadi

CW 16



 'I was always attracted by that box of costumes, carnival costumes.

And most of the time my choice was actually for the princess costumes,
with these beautiful embroideries and shining colours.

[…] we didn’t have the mirror in that school during that playground hour.

[…] It was this sense of beauty of the flowing from my waist down to the ground.

[…] how I could change my shape by moving with that costume.

[…] Maybe I was still keeping the trousers underneath.

[…] I think we were not allowed to undress totally.'


'Some people often only want to wear black. But I was always a friend of lighter-coloured clothing.
[…] Once I got a white, still shrink-wrapped shirt from the donations clothing store - because I always stay clean - not everyone got that.
[...] But then I once accidentally spilled pea soup all over my light-colored clothes.'



„I pick only things in the right size. Things that match my gender, practical items I can wear on a bike.
[…] The first item I found were very comfortable trousers/sweats – my favourite, long, grey, – very German!
I wear them all the time. How it feels is important. But I would never otherwise have chosen them in a shop.
[…] When I wear them I turn into a grey person.“



 'After a performance, I put on these grey knitted things. To get back to myself.'


'I was missing something to black the outfit'

[…] Now I feel comfortable. With the black and white over it.“


'I didn’t understand myself in that Mickey Mouse T-shirt.'