Kitchener is a fashion store and a gift shop as well as a long-lived trendsetting Bernese institution with a rich history. Founded in an old town basement in the turbulent ’60s, the shop supplied the hippie movement with then-provocative clothes, artsy posters, psychedelic records from London and all kinds of ethno stuff from the hippie trail. The store supplied, supported and inspired the transformation from the boring city of bureaucrats to one of the country’s most open-minded and progressive cities. The hippie groove is long gone though, as well as the skate and surf era that followed it in the ’70s and ’80s.
But until today, Kitchener has been a very well-curated concept store I want to come back to over and over again. And just how many times I have returned to buy a sweater, a drybag, a backpack made of old truck tarps or a pair of jeans can easily be counted by the number of “Kitchenersäckli” in my collection. Since you’ll get one of these iconic bags for free when you buy something, it has become a stylish icon not only for the store itself but also a symbol for the city and its inhabitants.