Introducing Berlin-based streetwear label TRUE DIE
Born amidst the streets of Berlin Kreuzberg, the streetwear label True Die entwines Berlin’s culture with the heritage of the Middle East. Enis Efe and Muhammed Dogan, the visionary founders who grew up in the corners of Kreuzberg, founded True Die to embed their heritage in modern street fashion. The brand is not just a reflection of fashion — it’s an homage to the memories created in the streets of their neighborhood. The brand’s journey, rooted in authenticity and community connection, celebrates the past, present, and future. Beyond the fabric and stitches, the brand resonates with its audience by staying true to its roots. The T-shirts, born from a vision to celebrate local talents, are not just garments; they are symbols of authenticity, embodying the spirit and stories of Kreuzberg.
The name True Die carries profound significance, rooted in a Turkish proverb: “Ölüm bir köprüdür, dostu dosta kavuşturur” – “Death is like a bridge connecting true friends.” This philosophy encapsulates the essence of True Die, emphasizing the unbreakable bonds formed within the community. It reflects the cohesion and enduring connections among childhood friends and artists who call True Die home. Enis and Mo are drawing inspiration from the city’s energy and Berlin’s unique vibe. Simultaneously, they pay homage to their roots, infusing Middle Eastern culture and traditional elements into the creative direction. The prints became a visual narrative of Kreuzberg’s cultural heartbeat. The signature styles range from oversized hoodies and T-shirts with graphics prints of Mo’s and Eni’s families in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Looking back in time, the history of the Berlin Wall is closely interwoven with Turkish Berlin. Its construction spurred labor migration from Turkey, and its fall reverberated through the structures of West Berlin after nearly 30 years. Enis’s Turkish heritage serves as the cornerstone for True Die’s prints. Some of his family migrated to Berlin back then, seeking a better life. Enis’s father united the 36 Boys in the late ’80s and early ’90s—a gang era that has faded in modern Berlin.
In the era of the 36 Boys, a shrill whistle echoed, summoning members from houses across Berlin. The gang, active from the late ’80s to the mid-’90s, comprised over 100 individuals, representing various nationalities. They marked the area around Kottbusser Tor and neighborhoods from Naunynstraße to Waldemarstraße, up to Görlitzer Bahnhof, naming themselves after the former Berlin postal district SO 36.
Graffitis scattered across Berlin immortalized their presence, with Kreuzberg becoming a canvas of their mythic riot event on May 1, 1987. Today, left-wing revolutionaries still reminisce about the anarchy in Kreuzberg36—a moment of street barricades, anger against the state, and even looting at the Bolle supermarket. The echoes of those turbulent times still linger in the streets, where True Die, with its roots in the 36 Boys’ rebellious spirit, creates a contemporary expression bridging the past and present in the vibrant canvas of streetwear.
True Die seamlessly weaves the gritty charm of Berlin into its DNA. The brand’s designs echo the eclectic nature of the city, mirroring the vibrant graffiti-covered walls, the rhythmic pulse of beats, and the bold, unfiltered expression of individuality found in Berlin’s street art. Each piece tells a story, embodying the dynamic spirit of the city.
“Our catwalk are the streets” – Enis, founder of True Die
What’s your vision with True Die? Where do you see your brand and community going in the future?
“Berlin is the cultural center of Germany, where many ideas and creative people come together. We would like to take the opportunity and tell a long-lasting story. Our vision and goal with True Die is to create a large and strong community, grow together, and create individual and special memories together. First in Europe – then worldwide. We also want to continue collaborating with artists and brands, let’s see what 2024 brings.”
The latest drop was the collaboration with Germany’s largest sweetshop House of Sweets. The collection launched in November on www.truedie.de, www.house-of-sweets.com, and in all 15 House of Sweets stores across Germany. The collection was shot with the renowned producers Ghana Beats and Geenaro creating a buzz around the white-stripped 90s-inspired baseball jerseys.
True Die’s new collection will be released in 2024.
Creative Director @esmapatt
Graphic Designer @habibuhh
Illustrators @customby.dils & Batuhan Aras