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NEW YORKER Time travel: Opening of the first branch in the new federal states 30 years ago
After the opening of the Berlin Wall, Claus Reese, a long-standing NEW YORKER employee and current Buying Director, moved to Dresden and worked there as division manager for branches in Saxony and Thuringia. During this time he was also jointly responsible for the first NEW YORKER store in the new federal states, which opened in Dresden in 1990. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the German reunification, we are going on a short journey through time with the likeable Dane.
What is your memory of this special day?
I still remember it as if it was yesterday. This particular opening was really impressive and a key highlight in my long NEW YORKER history. We opened our first store in the new federal states in Dresden, in the former Kurhaus Bühlau am Weißen Hirsch, which was a dance hall in GDR times. A C-location with a restaurant in the backyard. We presented our goods on a 500 square metre dance floor. And that was the start; we opened up and then almost never closed again. The customers ran into the store. We were open every day, including Sunday, every morning from 9am to 8pm, and frequently sold out of goods. There weren’t any fixed opening hours yet. We only handed out big shopping bags every day!
The truck with the new goods arrived in the morning, was emptied and drove back in the evening. And it was like that every day! There was a huge amount of demand in the new federal states. Our only advertising was temporary posters which we hung up at the branch. And a small advertisement in the Dresdner Morgenpost, which we had placed as a job ad, because we wanted to open immediately.
That's why we didn't go through a long application process, but instead attracted interested parties straight into the shop. And we were all surprised at the amount of people: suddenly there were 100 people in line, old and young, all of whom wanted to shop at our store. I then turned up the music a bit and said: "It’s going to be like this all day long". Then some of them left again. In the end we really managed to hire only NEW YORKER-Like staff. Simone Augustin was the branch manager, I remember.
It was all an absolute experience. What I'm particularly pleased about is that three of the first employees I helped hire are still here today.
The opening at the Kurhaus Bühlau was a real highlight. After that we opened the branches in Prager Strasse and Papendorfer Strasse.

Which NEW YORKER outfit was trendy back then?
Carrot jeans were very popular in the 90’s. At that time we only had Rescue as our own brand of jeans and in addition we had Edwin and Wrangler. And the 90s style is back in fashion 30 years later! Now our design department and purchasing department are working on the same cuts and patterns again. We sold Levi's 501 without end, and the Edwin "Louisiana", at that time for 100 marks. And our Rescue branded jeans sold like hot cakes for 69 marks. Every day we sold out!
In addition to that, 5 packs of tennis socks and 5 packs of boxer shots. That did not even exist at that time.
Sampled viscose shirts with Hawaiian and Paisley prints were also in fashion at the time, because of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice - the first white rapper with the hit "Ice Ice Baby". The music of the 90s also had a decisive influence on fashion. I can also remember fabric trousers with pleats, or blousons in silk - in rich mahogany and in natural and brown shades. Turtleneck jumper were also in at the time - and it's all back again now! We didn't supply shoes back then and there was no lingerie for the women. It was not until around 2000 that this changed.
For the girls, cycling shorts with floral patterns were very trendy, and microtops. Everything from our old brand Ragazza, (Amisu did not exist then.)
What were the customers of that time looking for?There was a huge backlog of demand in the new federal states and we had the hottest fashion. NEW YORKER was the first jeans designer in town. There wasn’t any cool fashion in the GDR. Our styles were very well received and we played the current charts in the shop all day long - That was also new. We also had ten large screens  on the sales floor, the top hit was "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, and the customers stood in front of the monitors and marvelled. Entertainment in the shop mattered even then. We were one of the first.

Dear Claus, thank you for talking to us!