Tour of HTW – University of Applied Sciences

University Logo

(By: Grace Lynne Haynes, HTW Berlin, Wilhelminenhof campus)   I am always curious as to how the universities internationally operate, especially in Germany since I will be here for 2 months. HTW – University of Applied Sciences – is a university campus with an excellent Culture & Design Department based in the outskirts of South Eastern Berlin along the Spree River. Their program consists of Fashion Design, Illustration, Communication Design, Graphics and Interaction. HTW had a stunning arrangement of work pertaining to Fashion from the students that ranged from Fashion Illustration, Photography and Clothing. The tour of HTW definitely gave our group a close look at how new and upcoming designers based in Berlin first being their careers.

Johanna Michel

Prof. Johanna Michel



Study, teaching and research at the HTW Berlin are performed at two locations: the Treskowallee campus in Karlshorst and the Wilhelminenhof campus in Oberschöneweide. Both locations have a long and varied history: the listed buildings on the Treskowallee campus previously served as a school and during the GDR, as the College of Economics. The Wilhelminenhof campus is famous for its long and rich tradition as a centre of industrial innovation. Located in Berlin’s South-East, it hosted two famous companies, the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG) and the Kabelwerke Oberspree (KWO). For history and historic images –

At first glance the University was beautiful with stunning architecture, something we are familiar with in Berlin in general. The school was large, with a building specifically dedicated to the Design department. We met up with our lovely tour guide Professor Johanna Michel, who was kind enough to give us a detailed tour of the entire department. The first thing we noticed about the University was that it had a similar appeal to Art Center. Between the long hallways, and the gray undertones we thought we were reliving the Art Center experience. However, similar in appearance we definitely noticed the differences that make this University the unique place that it is. We knew we were not at Art Center anymore when we saw Fashion students carrying their mannequins down the long stairways to class. We then stumbled upon a collection made by some of the students. The majority of the collection has beige and crème undertones, which along with black, we have observed to be popular in Berlin everyday fashion. It was amazing to see the work in progress to the final products.

As an Illustration student one of the highlights of my trip was seeing the Illustration and Textile work. I really enjoyed seeing the screen-printing room and the beautiful designs that came from there. It was interesting comparing the differences between the works in Germany versus the USA. There was such a broad range of colors, details and designs, which we were surprised to see since Berlin is known for its minimalist style and typically beige, black, and crème colors. We realized that the younger generation of Fashion designers exists to change the Fashion world, introduce Berlin to new trendy ideas, and set the new standard.

Another highlight of my trip was the knitwear collections and samples the school had. There was such a broad range of colors from salmon pink to jet black. The designs were gorgeous, and I found it amazing all the fashions they created with knitwear. It was also great to see the many different fabrics and textures the school had stocked up.

After gawking over the knitwear’s, we came across the sewing lab room. The room was filled with endless sewing machines ranging all across the room. We saw tons of students working on their final creations, finishing up the last touches on a final piece or starting up a completely new piece. It was great to witness how serious the fashion department took their students, and all the resources the school offered to make sure the Fashion students had what they needed to make their vision come true.

When we were about to leave we stumbled across one of the draping teachers who showed us her studio. We were amazed by her denim collections. The amount of textures she was able to create with denim was stunning and something we have never seen before. She was also kind enough to show us some of her students’ work which consisted of different draping styles of a beige jacket.

We realized that the younger generation of Fashion designers exists to change the Fashion world, introduce Berlin to new trendy ideas, and set the new standard. We also noticed that there were plenty of immigrant students studying in Berlin who were bringing parts of their cultures to the Fashion world. We met a very talented young graduating student named Dana Kanin, who was kind enough to show us her upcoming collection that will be a part of Berlin Fashion Week. Dana was great to talk to because she gave us insight on her process and the different types of materials she uses and how she gets to her final Fashion product.


As we were walking through the hallway we stumbled across one of the Communication Design teachers who explained to us the amazing work that came from that department. It was interesting hearing her perspective since Art Center has many programs similar to Communication Design. We also came across one of the Interactive Design professors who showed up the different videos that the students were making as well as showed up the website they were working on for their on-line magazine BRUTAL.

There was such an abundance of work, and a large variety we couldn’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed. However, seeing all the work gave us ideas for our own projects in Head to Toe Berlin and we came out feeling inspired. I am very pleased with the class trip to the University. Overall we had a great learning experience. I can now say that I have been to a university in Berlin and was given special insight into international student design. We are very thankful for our tour guide Professor Johanna Michel and hope to keep in contact with her as well as the students and faculty we met along the way.

Heading back to the train station

Heading back to the train station


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