Overkill Shop Berlin
Berlin is known for its urban street culture and massive graffiti presence, typically referred to as one of the most bombed European cities. As Germany’s capitol city state it houses a variety of skate, graf, and hip hop shops throughout it’s different districts, however one in particular sticks out as being quite memorable.
Overkill Shop in Berlin is located near the Schlesische Tor U-Bahn station in Kreuzberg, a young, hip, and somewhat rugged and raw part of the sprawling city. The shop boasts a large banner on the corner, but it’s actually one building down, and can’t be missed with it’s giant glass window chock full of kicks against reflective, mirrored surfaces. Sneaker heads can stroll by to pick up releases from adidas Originals, such as high tops, classic running silhouettes, and old school football trainers. Stairs lead customers to the second floor which acts as a museum and showroom for various vintage and rare items.
Next door to the shoe shop is a second space where Overkill stocks and sells it’s graffiti supplies; cans of spray paint, various markers, and whatever else one might need for some late night masterpieceing. The owners also run a graffiti magazine called “Overkill”, which has been in publication since 1992.
Eatmoreshoes sat down with entrepreneur Robert Schultz, one of Overkill’s young owners, to get to know him and the shop a bit better.
So Robert, tell us what you’ve been doing for the last three decades?
I started to DJ and do graffiti in 1994. I toured Germany as a breakbeat and drum and bass DJ untill 2001. I was also promoting parties since 1997. One the biggest event series I did was between 2001 and 2005, entitled Kintango. I started Overkill Shop with Thomas Peiser in 2003 with a budget of ten thousand euros. I’ve done a lot of street promotion coordination for major brands such as Red Bull, Carhartt, adidas, Nike, Reebok, Universal, Warner Music. I also participated in a marathon in 2007. Lastly I’ve been attending Humboldt University since 2010 to study sport science.
Wow, you’ve done a lot and don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Tell us more about Overkill, what inspired you and Thomas to start up the shop?
Basically the passion for sneakers and graffiti, two hobbies that will last forever. I guess it’s everyone’s dream to make a living out of what you love.
No doubt. And how big have you grown since 2003?
We’ve got 10 employees, run one location, and a well known online shop. Still no big player but a solid rock in the sneaker biz.
Quality over quantity, as a lot of collectors would say. How do you see yourself fitting into the graffiti, sneaker, and urban culture scenes in Berlin?
As Thomas is into graff since 1988 and internationally active and known you can truly see him as one of the originators of the German graff scene. We don’t like the term urban art too much as “streetart” is, in most of its aspects, stupid bullshit done by guys looking for quick fame by gluing twenty posters in their neighborhood. We hope that we are recognized as a trustworthy source of graff culture. We’re open for everything that is new and weird, but we’re set in stone if it comes to the basics and the history of this global art form.
Overkill really is all about graffiti, so how did you step from slingin’ Montana to selling shoes?
Sneakers have always been a part of the hip hop culture. It’s just a must-have accessory. But it wouldn’t be right to say that sneakers had a big influence on the culture. Even if all the major brands put it like this. We just felt a strong need in Berlin for good kicks and did our best to solve this problem.
That makes sense. Speaking of kicks and major brands, how are you involved with adidas?
We did a few releases with adidas such as the Star Wars collabo in 2010 and the Equipment / Torsion exhibition in Spring 2011. Besides that adidas was our main partner for our film festival Rhythm of the Line.
What’s next for Overkill? Any exciting releases or parties coming up?
An adidas Equipment cushion would be a dream… but there will be limited LA Trainer colorways coming up soon. Some new David Beckham stuff as well and who knows where all this Consortium hustle will lead to. As for events, for concrete stuff check our blog. Other than that, we’ll just be helping to make the world a better place to live in!
Solid Robert, seriously thanks for your time and gusto, any parting words for graf and sneaker heads around the world?
All you heads of the world: collecting sneakers and painting graff is a funny thing but does not lead to higher consciousness! Spend time with your friends and kids, protect mother nature and try to be a good human being. This is what it is all about. And of course feel free to wear a box fresh pair of kicks while doing this. One love!
written by Dylan Cromwell
photography by Harold Kohn