This week, UrbanMeisters was LIVE for you at the Berlin Fashion Week to check out the latest sustainable fashion trends and brands. We met leading Green Influencers or Greenies as we fondly call them and rubbed shoulders with fashion insiders. UrbanMeisters caught up with not only fashion designers, fellow bloggers and journalists, but also the ‘Big Fish’ from politics and industry! Like Renate Künast (pic below left), a member of the German Parliament. And Thimo Schwenzfeier (pic below right), Marketing Director at Messe Frankfurt Exhibition, who even gave us a « Only for UrbanMeisters » introduction to the German Sustainable Fashion scene. The Fashion Week was pulsating with green energy and ideas and we loved being in the middle of the melting pot bringing you live action through the week on social media.
But have no worries if you missed it. We’ll be giving you the complete lowdown on what went under in two parts to keep you updated on any noteworthy green fashion we trend-spotted in this incredible week:
- This feature n°1 on #MBFWB will take an in-depth look into the question buzzing in everyone’s head- Is Berlin the international capital of sustainable fashion and maybe even the citadel of the future of fashion?
- Feature n°2 will bring to you our TOP5 cherry picks. To discover the Green fashion brands to know from #MBFWB, read here.
So let’s jump in the first one. Now I know I might have miffed my fellow ethical entrepreneurs and bloggers from Paris, London, New York, Milan etc with my question on Berlin being the beacon of green fashion but before those raised eyebrows hit the ceiling and you say « How dare she say that?! », read on to let me explain why I say what I do.
1. Nowhere in the world, do sustainable and conventional fashion go hand in hand as much as in Berlin.
When I arrived to my hotel in ‘Mitte’, it was immediately clear to me that it was fashion week as the entire international fashion scene had descended on Berlin. The city known for it’s « chill » vibe and « the best label is me » attitude was deluged in Valentino, Celine, Vuitton and Chanel bags! Yes Fashion Week was definitely here. But even the Green Fashion scene was not far behind. Sustainable fashion was heavily making it’s presence felt.
Indeed the two fashion trade fairs ‘Green Showroom’ and ‘Ethical Fashionshow’ are a part of the Berlin Fashion Week which guarantee maximum exposure and visiblity of Green Fashion to all sorts of influencers and media.
The Green Showroom was the high-end home of the sustainable fashion scene during the Berlin Fashion week: 35 high-end designers and labels from all over the world presented their new SS 2017 collections.
The Ethical Fashionshow, the streetstyle and casualwear version, was celebrating its 10th anniversary and for this special occasion 133 sustainable labels participated.
The two sustainable fair trades had teamed up at the club of the Postbahnhof, a scenery as hip and as Berlin as you would wish for this event. This allowed the trade fairs to gather 168 sustainable labels which topped the record of the Fashion Week in January 2016. The Green Fashion story came out very strong with special highlight on the different styles from edgy to elegant at different price positioning to suit all tastes, just like the conventional fashion scene.
In general it seemed that in Berlin, slowly but surely, sustainable is becoming a non negotiable aspect of fashion like style and functionality. Another example for this was given by Thimo Schwenzfeier in our interview. He explained « Conventional and sustainable are no oppositions any more but interconnected. Lanius, the German pioneer in Eco fashion, exhibits for example at both Premium, the conventional high-end fair trade, and Green Showroom, the Sustainable high-end sister.” According to Thimo numerous conventional Fashion buyers visited the two sustainable trade fairs and considered integration into their retail offer.
In the interview with Thimo we discovered another important advantage of the two trade fairs: just like UrbanMeisters, the Green Showroom and the Ethical Fashionshow make ‘Sustainability’ easier and more accessible. In the case of the two fair trade events, they apply a strict and complete catalogue of criteria that labels have to pass to be admitted to the fair trade show. There are a lot of brands that apply but do not make it to the show because they do not fullfill the key criteria. While you have some brands that are what we call ‘light green’ and others that are ‘deep green’ depending on whether only a part or the entire supply chain is green/ sustainable/ ethical, you do not need to fear any greenwashing but let yourself be seduced by the creativity of the designers.
2. Berlin’s Green prestige is renowned world-wide
To be a capital, the events in Berlin have to be internationally renowned and attract buyers and exhibitors from all over the world. This was actually true for the two trade fairs more than ever before. This time the Green Showroom and Ethical Fashionshow attracted 30 nations and every continent was represented. We even spotted some that we’ve brought to you in past features like our dear friends from Australia- Mighty Good Undies – super quality and super fun organic cotton underwear. Here’s a refresher on our coverage of the very charming two entrepreneurs Hannah and Elena and their label.
3. Sustainable fashion is one of Berlin’s USP
Being a capital of someting means not being a one hit wonder, but having a unique and sustainable competitive advantage that others will take time to catch up. Thimo confirmed to me my impression from the very beginning “Sustainable fashion and the integration in the conventional Fashion Week are clearly a USP for Berlin. There is no other metropolis that is doing this currently.”
But a competivie advantage is only an advantage if it is sustainable. To keep this momentum going and in fact take it a step further, Berlin is already preparing for becoming a multi stakeholder melting pot of sustainable fashion.
A multitude of GREEN designers & exciting GREEN moments from the ramp
Of course the fundamental part of the Fashion Week are the fashion shows that are spotlight the collections of the designers as well as the trade expositions where you meet the brand one on one and take a closer look at the clothes.
At UrbanMeisters we love it when entrepreneurs, designers and creative people prove that the old prejudices about sustainable lifestyle and products(read ugly, boring, itchy, cheap looking, expensive …)wrong. This was totally the case at the shows we assisted. The high-end Green Showroom as well as the streetstyle Ethical Fashionshow organised one show each and both were power packed with suprises. Some highlights:
- The label Camille Boillet Couture was awarded with the LVMH CSR Young Talent award. Camille’s masterpiece was a bride dress that was tailor-made for the needs of handicapped women. While the materials that she uses are the one of conventional fashion, her creation opens the discussion on an important aspect of ethical fashion that is till date missing in conventional fashion- after all isn’t fashion for everyone? More power to you Camille!
- The label Heartcouture showing that sustainable materials can make way for damn sexy lingerie! We love this red hot sustainable lingerie label.
- Label C. Pauli from Germany created the « Ohhhh » moment of the day having a mini model walking the catwalk in a matching outfit for the Mum. The company produces sustainable baby and kids clothing and also offers an impressive range of dyed and printed organic cotton fabrics.
A multitude of Politicians and Industry experts talking GREEN
But at the Postbahnhof it was not only about watching beautiful men, women in gorgeous clothes walking up and down the ramp while zipping organic smoothies. It was a full fledged “fashionathon” with stimulating lectures and panel discussions from the crème de la crème of influencers and stakeholders. At UrbanMeisters.com, we’ve explained in our previous articles how complex and obscure the fashion supply chain is and how this is responsible for not only unethical issues like inhuman working conditions etc but also pollution and waste. To understand read articles 1, 2, 3, 4.
Thus we were super happy to see several events and discussions organised to analyse current progress and discuss future developments and solutions:
- The Dialogs Textil-Bekleidung (DTB) is a German non-profit network connecting various players of the textile industry in Germany and installing a constructive dialogue between them to improve how things are being done. They organised a full day of discussions and presentations on « Responsible Management of Supply Chains » to inspire all actors in Fashion.
- But the view was not limited to Germany only as was proved by the live-wire discussion with Renate Künast, Member of the German Bundestga and Chair of the Committee on legal affairs and consumer protection. Together with other top influencers from industry and business she discussed on how to increase the sustainability in the fashion supply chain at a European level. She emphatically explained that we should not be naive enough to think that unethical and non-sustainable practices were a part of the process only in Asia but present in Europe as well. She highlighted the case of the Prato region in Italy which she described as the European Bangladesh.
You can watch the live videos from the discussion here.
Renate Künast is pushing the European Union for more transparency in the fashion supply chain and a stronger regimentation at a European level so as to not leave sustainability to the willingness of the industry alone. Mrs. Künast in her conclusion gave a very precise and pointed advice to fashion labels on how to build an important USP for the future:
A multitude of fellow Bloggers & Greenies
Finally it is also Ground Zero for meeting bloggers, journalists and diverse Greenies that bring the message out to the world. Without them Sustainable Fashion would remain just a ‘feel-good’ moment of a fashion show and would not reach almost immediately the fashionistas out there. I thank the fair fashion magazine Noveaux for gathering the Sustainable and Ethical blogger community that helped tremendously in exchanging ideas, helping each other, kicking-off cooperations and generally strengthening our close knit greenie community.
So now you know why I say Berlin clearly is the Sustainable Fashion Capital. Here, there was perfect harmony between conventional and sustainable fashion at a key fashion moment of the year- the Fashion Week. Already the metropolis attracts not only german but international fashion talent as well as multiple influencers who get together to continue implementing change not only in Germany but world-wide.
But if you feel there is another city and not Berlin that raises the sustainable fashion stakes then challenge us! We welcome you to a duel whole heartedly 🙂 Send us your arguments here and believe you me, we will give it an objective consideration. So let’s see you change our mind!
For those who agree and think it is going to be difficult to close the gap for another metropolis, be assured UrbanMeisters.com will be the first to keep you updated on any key green development in the fashion stakes so that we all learn and profit from it.
And now read our wrap up of the Berlin Fashion Week Part 2 and discover our fav top 5 labels here.