Age is just a number and there is no clear definition of being what is an adult and every person is different. We can’t define it, so everybody is looking for their own answers in life. 14 is a sensitive age. It’s when you start thinking about your own future, so we wanted to make a series of age 14. After the Tokyo and New York issue, we selected 15 people in Berlin who have very diverse background, different ages and professions for 14 Issue in Berlin.
Thirteenth interview is with “ANDREAS MURKUDIS” the owner Andreas Murkudis. Since 2003 he opened his first store and now there are four stores in Berlin. The expertly curated space is reflective of it’s his experience within the art and fashion, design world. How did he discover fashion and get into it with his brother / fashion designer Kostas Murkudis. We listened to his teenage stories and the policy of a store owner in an interior store “ANDREAS MURKUDIS 77”.
—Could you tell us about yourself when you were 14 years old?
Andreas: I was born in Dresden, East Germany. We moved to the West when I was 11 years old because we wanted to go to Greece where my family came from. We went to the Greek embassy but it wasn’t possible. There was no possibility to go to Greece and neither go back to Dresden. Suddenly we had to stay there even if we didn’t know anything about West Germany because normally we wouldn’t get any information in the East… Also we didn’t have enough money but had to find the place to live and so on.
—It sounds like a very hard time for you.
Andreas: For me everything was horrible and I wasn’t happy at 14. In 1973, I entered the Gymnasium. I looked very strange to the others because all my clothes were made in East Germany and I had a very strong accent, so everyone laughed at me when I said something in my class at school. In the end my brother and I didn’t say anything anymore at school for two years. We couldn’t get good scores because it’s important to speak in class in Germany. After that we tried to speak German and everything was fine. I was around 16 then. In 1974, a school doctor told me that I needed to wear glasses immediately. I got them but the all glasses looked really horrible in those days. I started a new life in Berlin with those glasses.
—What did you do in those days?
—What did you think about at age 14?
—Please tell us your most memorable moment at age 14.
Andreas: In the summer of 1975 my family went to Italy. When we went for dinner I discovered the Italian fashion magazine “VOGUE”. That was my first fashion magazine. I bought it together with my brother and we fell in love with fashion. It was 4000lira in Italy but 20DM in Germany. Very expensive. I probably still have it. It was important for me and my brother.
—It sounds like a great discovery for the Murkudis brothers!
Andreas: Also I remember working at the supermarket in the early morning from 4 to 7AM in my school days. I had to wake up at 2AM. It was 5DM per hour and I did for almost half a year. Then I bought a yellow Versace leather jacket. I know it was expensive, but I was really into it.
—What did you want to do when you were 14 years old?
Andreas: Honestly I had no dreams. I was always thinking about how I can manage our difficult life. As I told you it was a really hard time for us.
Murkudis brothers in Italy (1975)
—When did you start your career?
Andreas: I was always close to my brother Kostas and we did everything together. In the early eighties, we went to Italy for a holiday and were talking on the beach. We already decided the shop concept then and wrote down which brands we were going to need and everything. When I stopped working at the museum I wanted to do something else. At the time Kostas lived and worked in Munich so I visited him every weekend by car. He was already a fashion designer and started his own business since the early nineties. I came up with this store idea from these weekend trips. A Small museum shop, but on a bigger scale including fashion. I started to prepare the store but I had no business plan. I hate making business plans, haha. Step by step we opened the store. I had 3000 euro, but spent most of it for the renovations.
—What good and hard things have happened to you since you started your work?
Andreas: I’m also a buyer, so I can do what I want and decide by myself. There are no limits and no business partners. It’s also important to mix commercial and unknown brands.
On the other hand I am responsible for everything. But in the end it’s fantastic for me. Because we carry so many brands which no one knows really. I don’t know if we can sell them, but only commercial brands are boring and it’s very important for us to work with small ones which have a good policy and ideas and so on.
—Do you have any advice to people aged 14 who want to open their own store?
Andreas: You have to believe in your concept. You have to think about what your concept is and who your clients are etc… You don’t need a business plan. It was same things for me when I opened my store. I had no business plan and I decided the store space during a five minute viewing. I asked my architect and we needed to put an alarm system and floor heating and so on. It’s all expensive. I never thought how difficult this project could be. I asked the bank about money, then they immediately cut my credit card. However I really believed in my concept even if I didn’t have enough budget. In the end the customers came and we were able to pay all invoices. I know the rent prices are increasing in Berlin, but it’s always easy to open a new business here. It’s hard to find a good space in Tokyo or Paris, isn’t it?
—It’s very straight with a strong idea and message. What inspired you at age 14?
Andreas: I needed a lot of time to find myself because it was a hard time for me from age 11 to 15.
After that I started to go to clubs and to travel. There was a very famous Berlin discotheque called “SOUND” which was featured in the movie “Christine F”. I went there with good friends from school every second day in the late seventies. There was a cinema, a dance floor, a shop, an ice cream shop and so on. I was watching some movies and danced for 4 or 5 hours. After that took the bus back home. I never used drugs, only ever drunk coca-cola, haha. It actually wasn’t a big part of my life. I became a punk after that. It was a really fun time.
—Do you have any upcoming news that you want to share with the readers?
Andreas: We would like to renovate the inside of an interior store. I love Japan, especially Tokyo which is my favorite city. It’s one of my dreams to open my store there. Hopefully I could do it next year because the Tokyo Olympics will be held.
photography Chihiro Lia Ottsu
text Yukiko Yamane