Tis the season to…panic? Choosing the right gift for your loved ones can be daunting, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this list of travel essentials by Berlin’s sartorial guru to the city’s fashion-forward creative set, Andreas Murkudis. At his eponymous concept store, Murkudis showcases an impeccable selection of brands, spread over a 1,000-square-meter industrial space in a back courtyard off Berlin’s gallery-packed Potsdamer Strasse, including a few big names, like Dries Van Noten and Yohji Yamamoto, but mostly independent designers and labels that, despite their extraordinary quality and style, are relatively unknown. “The thing is, there are a lot of brands in the store that are perfect for traveling, but hardly anyone knows them,” says Murkudis. From Paris-based Catalan designer Isaac Reina to Choya, a 130-year-old Japanese shirt-maker, Murkudis favors brands that produce beautiful, classically stylish items that are built to last. “These people are real control freaks,” he says of the designers he carries. “They only want to put things out that are perfect—and this is really rare.” So, with these 10 items, says Murkudis, you can never go wrong.
“The thing is, there are a lot of brands in the store that are perfect for traveling, but hardly anyone knows them.”
1 — Mackintosh
This classic navy rubberized Mackintosh coat (top image) with a removable wool lining was made using a method developed in 1823. “Whenever I’m traveling I have it,” says Murkudis. “Mine is not in the best condition anymore but I’ve had it for 20 years. It’s a really nice product for traveling.”
2 — Oyuna
Textile designer Oyuna Tserendorj set out to transform the extremely soft cashmere wool of her native Mongolia into something firmly contemporary. The result is Oyuna, her brand of womenswear, scarves, and homewear made with attention to sustainability and the protection of the unique Mongolian steppe, threatened by overgrazing and desertification. “She’s based in London, but she comes from Mongolia, so she has a connection to the herders there,” says Murkudis, who recommends travelers bring along one of Oyuna’s high-quality cashmere shawls (below left).
3 — Mey Story
Mey Story, the premium range from German heritage manufacturer Mey, was established in 1928. The company sources the finest Pima cotton from trusted Peruvian farmers, who traditionally pick the cotton by hand. Then the fabric is knitted at Mey’s small factory in southern Germany, where experienced craftspeople tailor the garments (below right). “The regular Mey line you can buy at German department stores, but Mey Story is only sold in a few places,” says Murkudis. “The quality is so high that it keeps its form for a very long time.”
4 — Secondskin
This selection of sustainable, organic, unisex loungewear and botanical products by Tokyo-based company Secondskin, is “the most important collection for travel,” says Murkudis. “Everything is especially made for flying. It’s really light; you don’t feel the fabric.” Included is a t-shirt made of highly processed, machine-washable cotton that went through 40 steps of production to obtain its ultra-soft texture. There’s also a toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, body wash, bath salts, and scented paper sheets that can be packed between clothing for freshness (below). Murkudis was at a fair in Florence when he discovered the company, which was founded by the Japanese creative director and aromatherapist Yindigo A. Mochizuki. “It’s just one person, but she spends so much time to produce these things,” he says.
5 — Isaac Reina
Isaac Reina’s understated, geometrical, immaculately rendered leather goods bear the imprint of his training in architecture back home in his native Barcelona as well as his time at the legendary fashion house Hermès. The Paris-based designer’s N°575 Bis Pilot Tote (below left) in thin calf is “perfect for traveling,” says Murkudis, who uses the bag himself, along with an Isaac Reina leather laptop folder that is “15 years old and in perfect condition.”
6 — Aspesi
Another Italian brand that goes back half a century, Aspesi has earned a cult following for its classic, simple forms, impeccable cuts, and exceptional materials. Located in Legnano, in northern Italy, the company updates and tweaks an arsenal of its favorite materials each year, just as its iconic models are re-featured each season and gradually added upon as needed. The brand’s stylish and versatile Thermore Shirt Alvaro Wool (below right) is “one of our biggest sellers,” says Murkudis. “It’s between a shirt and a jacket—so nice for winter, and you have wool inside and a lot of pockets. It’s perfect.”
7 — Choya
Founded in 1886, Choya is one of Japan’s oldest shirt makers, said to supply the imperial family. The innovative company helped cultivate its own hybrid cotton seed and introduced industrial spinning to Asia. The interchangeable collar (below left), which can be switched between Western and Eastern styles, makes it particularly nice for traveling, says Murkudis. “I think we are their only client in Europe at the moment,” he adds, “but we sell them very well.”
8 — Seya
Paris-based Seya sources and produces their collection of artisanal, sustainably made clothing and objects during yearly trips to far-flung locales, from Bangkok and Laos to Argentina to Peru. Murkudis particularly loves the brand’s incense sticks (below right) from the Palo Santo tree, a relative of frankincense, myrrh, and copal, that grows on the coast of South America. Not only does it smell amazing, but Palo Santo repels insects—perfect for off-the-beaten-path adventures—and it is said to bring good fortune and enhance creativity.
9 — Marsèll
The handmade, artificially aged leather shoes (below left) of Venice-based Marsèll, a family label established in 2001, evoke the style of bohemian travelers stepping right out of a Fellini. “The quality is extremely high,” says Murkudis. “We’ve collaborated with them on 25 colors especially made for us, and they are one of our best sellers.”
10 — Felisi
Founded as a small workshop in the Italian town of Ferrara in 1973, Felisi produces high-quality leather goods crafted by talented local artisans with each design bearing a unique number. “They have in their archive around 5,000 different products,” says Murkudis, who travels with the 02/28 (below right). “It’s really minimalistic, and the thing is, you have the number always … so say you bought this one 20 years ago and then you want another color or a different leather, a gold zipper instead of silver, you just give them the number and they can produce it for you.”
The preceding article is excerpted from the 2019 edition of Directions, an annual magazine by Design Hotels that looks at movements underway in art, design, food, wellness and fashion, and how they affect the way we live and travel. This year’s issue explores the New Sanctuaries, spaces both physical and figurative, natural and designed, where we find renewal, shelter, communion, and expressions of the sublime. Buy it here!