Simone Maurer, 28, moved to Chicago last year from her native Germany. She works as a freelance window dresser and visual marketer.
Heather Kenny: Don't take this the wrong way, but you look like a grown-up kid--you like to wear colorful clothes with things like mushrooms and bunnies on them.
Simone Maurer: That's how I feel. I can't believe I'm supposed to be 30 in two years. But as long as I can get away with it, I'm comfortable. People on the street smile at me because I'm so colorful, I guess. That's a cool feeling. I like it.
HK: You've got some truly odd stuff in your closet, like a jacket printed with weasels and a glittery silver tube top with dinosaurs on it, which is a strange juxtaposition.
SM: Exactly! I like that, the odd--what the hell were they thinking? What was she thinking?
HK: So not all Germans wear all black, like Dieter on that old Saturday Night Live skit, "Sprockets?"
SM: That must be a statement from the 80s--like with David Hasselhoff. He hasn't had a public appearance for about 20 years.
HK: So it's not true?
SM: When you go to Bread & Butter, you see so many different styles. That's a fashion convention we have in Berlin. It's where everyone goes crazy, but in a cool way, not too overdone. It's--what is lassig? Relaxed.
HK: Is it an industry event, like the big fashion shows in Paris or New York?
SM: No, it's all about urban fashion, younger labels, colors. There's nothing as serious as Prada or D&G. You get to talk to the designers at little booths. Like Blutsschwester, a real cool German brand. It means "blood sisters." The theme in Germany right now is like the "home" feeling--you see little gardening gnomes and hearts, happy images. Dirndls, stuff like that.
HK: Is it hard to find the kind of clothes you like here in the U.S.?
SM: Probably if I would look harder or have more money, I would easily find what I would like. Back in Germany I did have a job at a boutique, and those are my friends, the owners, so I always come by and hang out with them when I'm back. Then of course you see this stuff and have to have it, and somehow get to get it. The whole thing is fun for me. I like clothes with mushrooms, but they don't make very many of them here. I want more mushroom clothes to be made, pretty please!
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Saverio Truglia.