Berlin’s fashion landscape has seen a seismic shift in recent years. With the news last year that the trade shows would move to Frankfurt, the city has welcomed the readjustment to establish itself as a main player within the sustainable sphere by showcasing emerging talent poised to bring change to the industry. However, the continued unfamiliar territory of combining physical and digital events beg many a question. Will an audience be able to authentically connect to the clothing through a digital lens, or will digital broadcasting democratise the fashion week experience? Can the ever-increasing importance of sustainability be translated through a screen? And finally, what is the future of the fashion industry in a city constantly shifting, but with so much appetite for creativity?
From September 6 to 12, Berlin Fashion Week will host a series of events focused on tackling the aforementioned questions and raise awareness around environmental issues within the fashion industry. Through a combination of live and online events: talks, presentations, award shows and virtual studio visits; experts will come together to forecast a future for the fashion industry, both inside the German capital and across the international landscape.
Fashion Open Studio
Fashion Revolution – the organisation set up by Orsola De Castro and Carry Sommers in 2013, founded in the wake of the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster – established a showcasing initiative in 2017 to exhibit emerging, young talent in the fashion industry. In Berlin this week, Fashion Open Studio is hosting a series of virtual and physical events in order to “highlight innovative new ideas and solutions to the systemic challenges facing the industry” (Fashion Open Studio). Fashion Open Studio hopes to inspire those who are looking to consume responsibly, encourage transparency within the supply chain and showcase sustainable designers looking to make a difference. Organised in collaboration with Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, on the 7th September Fashion Open Studio presents virtual studio visits with sustainable brands FADE OUT LABEL, NEW BLUE, and Priyanka Muniyappa, and Anugrah Samuel Phillips, founders of the Bangalore-based brand Grandma Would Approve. Alongside a glance into the creator’s studios, FOS will host a number of engaging discussions including: “Will Technology Save Us” and “Catalysts and People Who Inspire Change”, host an interactive upcycling session with the Berlin-based brand ANEKDOT, and a present virtual fashion show showcasing the work of 15 local and international sustainable designers.
“I’m delighted Fashion Open Studio is collaborating once more with the Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Giving aspiring designers a space, at both a local and international level, and taking inspiration from their sustainable innovations showcases what is truly new. Our hand-picked designers are the pioneers of change. Each designer has their own particular way of demonstrating this.”
– Orsola de Castro, Creative Director Fashion Open Studio & founder of Fashion Revolution.
See here the full list of Fashion Open Studio events for registration.
Neo Fashion Graduate Presentation
One of the eagerly anticipated aspects of each fashion week is the young designers to emerge onto the scene. Whether Central St Martins or Parsons School of Design, graduate shows spotlight new talent, ready to embrace change. Neo Fashion, a platform for recent graduates in Germany, presents the work of 13 universities and over 80 graduates across Germany, as part of the Berlin Fashion Week. With the support of the Berlin Senate, Fashion Council Germany and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Neo Fashion is able to showcase cutting edge designers who present a new perspective on creativity and a fundamental belief in transparency. The “Best Sustainability Concept Award” will be amongst the three awards offered to the graduates; with the judging panel including the Harper’s Bazaar’s Editor in Chief, Kerstin Schneider, and the Berlin-based designer William Fan. aware_ sat down with the founder of Neo Fashion, Jens Zander, to hear about recent shifts within the Berlin Fashion Scene and the importance of promoting young designers:
“The German Fashion Scene is currently reorganising itself and building on its most creative talents. For this reason, Neo.Fashion, with its Best Graduates’ Shows and the new Award, is exactly the right platform to bring together these talents from all German Fashion Schools with the best labels, as well as with the press and associations such as the FCG Fashion Council Germany. This is our motivation!“
– Jens Zander, Founder of Neo Fashion
202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit
This September marks the second edition of the 202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit. Established together by the Berlin-based creative strategy consultancy Studio MM04, the innovation agency Sqetch, and the Beneficial Design Institute, the summit “is a cross-disciplinary platform, where avant-garde creatives meet industry stakeholders for constructive critical debates on the future of fashion” (202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit). Centered around three main topics: circular, local and valuation ecosystems, the summit will host discussions between interdisciplinary experts on the potential to transform the fashion industry and assess the industry’s need for “pragmatic deadlines” (202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit). Divided into two parts: a think tank between experts, followed by an informed, considered, three-day presentation to the public; the summit aims to provide an in-depth discourse within the creative context of Berlin Fashion Week.
“We’re known as advocates of a post-waste fashion industry that transitions its activities from physical to digital, so it’s great to see the 202030 Summit’s dedication to creating conversations around how fashion can transform to create a positive impact on our world.”
– Amber Slooten, Co-Founder/Creative Director, The Fabricant
Alongside these events specifically oriented around the sustainable subject matter, the Berliner Salon will showcase Berlin-based sustainable designers such as Julia Leifert and Karen Jessen, with Highsnobiety and Reference Studios also bringing their own concepts to Berlin. With Berlin Fashion Week no longer overlapping with Paris Men’s Fashion Week, both Berlin institutions are able to focus on presenting their take on this new chapter for the city. The continued unfamiliar territory of combined physical and digital events, and a post-pandemic fashion week, poses many a question. Can an audience authentically connect to the clothing in a digital sphere, or will digital broadcasting allow many more to connect? Can the ever-increasing importance of sustainability be translated through a screen? And finally, what is the future of the fashion industry in a city constantly shifting, but with so much appetite for creativity?
Click here for the complete timetable of events, organised in collaboration with Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.
by Eliza Edwards