Berlin Fashion Week is unique in its ability to influence the discourse around sustainability. Unlike the “Big Four” – Paris, Milan, London and New York – Berlin’s fashion calendar is not limited to the schedules of luxury designers, who have, until recently, dominated the fashion landscape.
With the freedom to move away from a rigid timetable of catwalks and showcases, the German capital is once again hosting the 202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit and Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Open Studio during the upcoming Berlin Fashion Week (14th-20th March).
202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit @ Berlin Fashion Week
After two successful editions, experts from interdisciplinary fields will come together during Berlin Fashion Week for the 202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit to discuss and implement innovations and solutions for a more sustainable fashion industry. The focus of this edition is on regenerative fashion structures and questioning how positive impact can be implemented in already existing systems. The topic will be looked at from a global as well as a local perspective. The aim is to work out regenerative mechanisms for the planet, the economy and society and at the same time to strengthen and promote local fashion actors and innovators worldwide.
The 202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit with the theme “Regenerative Fashion Systems – Implement Positive Impact” will be digitally and physically hosted by studio MM04, in collaboration with Sqetch and the Beneficial Design Institute.
“I am very pleased that formats like the 202030 Summit are taking place here in the capital during Berlin Fashion Week. This year’s content promises a constructive exchange between participants to provide an impetus for sustainable development within the textile and fashion industry. An event that puts the focus on important topics of today”
– Stephan Schwarz, Senator for Economy, Energy and Enterprise
202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit Programme:
15/03/22 – on DAY #1 we will take the Global Perspective and ask our speakers and panellists: How might we create fashion that includes repair mechanisms for the planet, people, culture and the economy?
16/03/22 – on DAY #2 we will take the Local Perspective and ask our speakers and panellists: How might we strengthen local fashion communities, businesses and innovators to strive for a regenerative future?
17/03/22 – on DAY #3 we will look into Implementation Guidance and explore with our speakers and panellists:
How might we create trust through holistic regenerative quality standards for product, design and production processes?
Fashion Open Studio @ Berlin Fashion Week
Fashion Revolution Germany is welcoming 15 designers to take part in the Fashion Open Studio showcase from 15th to 17th March as part of Berlin Fashion Week. Through a series of designer open studios, short films, exhibitions and talks, Fashion Open Studio is challenging how we think about our clothing, highlighting real solutions and creating a safe space in which to exchange valuable ideas and information.
“Fashion Open Studio Berlin is giving exclusive insights into the work of upcoming international and local designers who pursue a sustainable approach to fashion.
In hybrid formats, we take the audience directly into the studios and open the dialogue between industry experts and consumers.”
– Carina Bischof, CEO Fashion Revolution Germany e.V.
Emeka Suits, the eponymous label founded in 2019 by Sydney Nwakanma based between Berlin and rural Kenya, is amongst the brands selected for this year’s showcase. After documenting the critical amounts of clothing waste in Dandora, one of Africa’s biggest landfill sites, Nwakanma and his team embarked on creating clothing to challenge existing ideas that surround clothing landing in Africa as a product of western consumption. A far cry from the piles of clothing surrounding Nwakanma strewn on the wasteland, the suits luxuriousness highlight the very real potential of reimagining trash. The handwoven pieces move away from the DIY aesthetic that has seen a surge in recent years. Emeka suits are on a mission to bridge the gap between luxury and sustainability, with a richness emerging from a narrative, not a price tag.
Alongside a selection of innovative Berlin-based brands, British designer Patrick McDowell has been invited to showcase his work as part of Fashion Open Studio showcase. At the beginning of his career the 23-year-old Liverpudlian, whilst doing a placement at Burberry noticed the vast quantities of material wasted in production, and wrote to Christopher Bailey (then the chief creative officer of Burberry) to see if he could make use of the excess of offcuts. His first collection, firefighting aunties, was an ode to recognising the parallels between the work of his father and the powerful women at the epicentre of his family. Since, McDowell has collaborated on collections with the likes of Burberry, Swarovski and Depop and recently became the sustainability design director for Italian brand PINKO.
Fashion Open Studio Talk Programme:
15/03/22 – @MBFW Kraftwerk Fashion Open Studio Berlin presents: Talk: FASHION – Repairs and Restoration (11am-12pm CEST)
16/03/22 – @202030 Summit Fashion Open Studio Berlin presents: Talk: POWER – Who’s in control? (5pm-5:30pm)
16/03/22 – @POOL Berlin Space Fashion Open Studio Berlin presents: Talk: MONEY – How do we value our clothes? (6pm-7pm)
– By Eliza Edwards
This week at aware_ we’re thinking about how to keep active, whilst considering the well-being of our planet. Traditionally, brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma have dominated the sportswear market but as consumers become more conscious of their purchasing power, sustainable activewear brands are on the rise. It’s not just recycled fabrics that are getting a look in here – whether it’s the development of bean fibres or incorporating natural dyes, these sustainable activewear brands are thinking firmly outside the box.
aware_ presents 5 ethical brands here for your comfort, and for the future of our planet.
When the founder of the sustainable activewear brand Girlfriend Collective, Ellie Dinh, struggled to find ethically-manufactured activewear, she decided to jump on the gap in the market and found a brand herself. Together with her husband, Quang, the pair founded a brand that embraces size inclusivity and ethical manufacturing – you guessed it, perfect pieces to wear with your girlfriends. From day one Dinh has prioritised transparency. Fatigued by the headlines flashing empty promises of sustainability, Dinh persevered to develop products with substance.
Girlfriend Collective incorporates a number of recycled materials in its design process. For their t-shirts and tank tops, Girlfriend uses Cupro: a delicate material created from waste leftover from cotton production. The brand’s signature LITE leggings employ ECONYL® yarn: a fabric made from recycled fishing nets. Choosing the right factory to build a partnership with was a crucial element of the transparency journey for Dinh, each piece of activewear is manufactured by a family-owned factory who have been in the textile trade since 1931. If you’re hungry for more tasty eco information, we recommend having a scroll through their website, where you’ll find a treasure trove of information.
The slow fashion activist, and founder of Berlin-based brand The Slow Label, Anna-Laura Kummer is guided by her grounding principles. An advocate for conscious consumption and prioritising a transparent supply chain, Anna-Laura and her team create tactile, carefully-made pieces to get you moving at your own pace. Whilst the other brands tailor their sustainable activewear for high-intensity workouts or a long Sunday run, The Slow Label pieces provide relaxed styles, keeping you comfortable for a stretch on the yoga mat or an hour of gentle pilates. The unisex sweatpants are made from 100% organic cotton, manufactured in one of their partnering factories in Lithuania.
A quick scroll through the website takes you to a detailed article by Anna-Laura on the factory in question, complete with a healthy list of information supporting the brand’s efforts in transparency. This particular factory’s sustainability achievements include being powered exclusively by green energy, recycling 100% of its wool pattern wastes, and managing to save 60% of its water use in the last three years. Another area of the website takes you to its brand page in which The Slow Label also showcases the work of other sustainable brands such as Girlfriend Collective and Organic Basics, if that isn’t true collaboration, we don’t know what is.
The Swiss sustainable activewear brand Seela Studio was founded by holistic health promoter Ida Skarp. Driven by a desire to create covetable workout pieces using bio-textiles, the founder launched a brand that prioritises both comfort and aesthetics.
‘I wanted to create a brand that reflects the modern woman’s activewear needs: functional, sustainable and timeless. Seela is the activewear you want to live in and gift to your best friend.”
Founder of Seela Studio
Each piece of Seela sustainable activewear is manufactured with the castor bean fibre Ricinus Communis, a wildly grown and sustainably certified fabric. Next to this, Seela only works with natural, botanical dyes which require low waste and energy consumption for the dyeing process. Manufacturing in northern Italy and employing only compostable packaging, Seela Studio is one to watch.
Tim Brown, the co-founder of New Zealand brand Allbirds, is not afraid of asking questions. A native of the country notoriously home to more sheep than humans, Brown couldn’t help but question why merino wool – a remarkably powerful material – had no place in the footwear industry. Teaming up with co-founder Joey Zwillinger, an expert in renewables, the duo created a pair of shoes crafted from natural, breathable materials. In the years since launching the first pair, Allbirds has become a firm favourite amongst champions of the sustainability movement. A quick scroll through your top 5 eco-influencers on Instagram and trust us, a pair will have a look in.
After painstakingly narrowing the supply chain, developing a tight-knit relationship with their factories and investing in the development of renewable materials, Allbirds began to explore the world of sustainable activewear. Offering a versatile range of both men’s and women’s sportswear, the brand incorporates fabrics such as TENCEL, hemp and organic cotton in their designs. And it doesn’t end there, by 2025 Allbirds hope to double the lifetime of each of their products and reduce its carbon footprint of raw materials by 25%.
Organic Basics is a firm favourite amongst the aware_ team. The Danish underwear and activewear brand founded by Christoffer Immanuel, Mads Fibiger, and Alexander Christiansen is an attempt to address one of the fashion industry’s biggest issues: a dirty reputation. The three sustainability enthusiasts wanted to create sustainable activewear that employed thoughtful, considered design, without compromising the wellbeing of our planet. From recycled nylon to breathable materials, Organic Basics activewear exists both in harmony with the wearer and with nature.
For those wary of greenwashing, an impact index is provided for each piece on the website; for example, their signature style, The Active Crop, prevented 1.6kg of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, conserved 25 litres of water and prevented 15 grams of waste from being generated.
(Header Image Courtesy of Allbirds)
– By Eliza Edwards