July 22, 2024

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Berlin Fashion Week during Corona: shows, dates, parties?

Playful and surreal: Tom Van Der Borght opens this year's Berlin Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (archive image from Fashion Week in Hyeres, France)

Playful and surreal: Tom Van Der Borght opens this year’s Berlin Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (archive image from Fashion Week in Hyeres, France)

Source: Getty Images / Arnold Jerocki

D.he gray clouds part, a horse appears. In a meditative gallop, it glides past mountainous landscapes, accompanied by billows of fog and melancholy synthesizer sounds. A sun shines over the horse, the brown and white piebald fur covered with splashes of green and red. At its core: the logo of the Mercedes-Benz automobile group.

Surreal – this is how you could describe not only the invitation video for the opening show of this year’s Berlin Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (MBFW), but also the entire Berlin fashion week, which this year had to be moved to the digital sphere due to Covid-19. From January 18 to 24, the fashion industry will be celebrating its autumn and winter collections in front of the screen.

3.5 million euros for the digital fashion week

The relocation of the Berlin Fashion Week to the digital takes place at a time when Berlin as a fashion location has long been wavering. In June of last year, the trade fair organizer Premium Group announced that it would be leaving Berlin after 20 years and wanting to establish a new fashion week in Frankfurt am Main from autumn 2021. This decision should also be due to the economic support that the city of Frankfurt had promised.

In December, the Berlin Senate Department announced that 3.5 million euros will be made available for the realignment of Berlin Fashion Week for 2021. For comparison: The city of Frankfurt, the state of Hesse and the trade fair company have pledged ten million euros for the next three years of support for the coming fashion weeks in Frankfurt, this was confirmed by Frankfurt city treasurer Uwe Becker (CDU) in June.

Frankfurt as the new fashion capital

Bye Bye Berlin: Fashion Week is moving from Berlin to Frankfurt in 2021

The conversion into a digital event could bring more attention to the Berlin Fashion Week, because not only invited guests, but all fashion lovers can watch the fashion event via freely available links. “Without digital transmission, access to German fashion would only be reserved for an exclusive group. However, we would like to involve the public interested in fashion, ”says Marcus Kurz, managing director of the Nowadays agency, which organizes the MBFW. The event, which will take place from January 18th to 20th, is considered to be the heart of Berlin Fashion Week.

Mercedes-Benz is presenting a “hybrid show format” made up of physical live shows without an audience, discussion groups and film presentations. All physical events, such as the catwalk shows, take place without an audience in the Kraftwerk in Berlin-Mitte and are streamed from there. In addition to the MBFW, there are a few other events such as the Reference Festival, a “Phygital Festival” made up of digital and on-site events in the Zeiss Planetarium, which aims to promote young creative people.

The Reference Festival takes place for the second time this year.  Here you can see an installation from last year

The Reference Festival takes place for the second time this year. Here you can see an installation from last year

Source: Frederik Heymann / Sebastian Reuter

Among others, the Newcomer-Label GmbH and the magazine 032c will be there. The streetwear blog Highsnobiety is also represented with the digital format “Berlin, Berlin” at the Fashion Week with Berlin creatives such as the Anekdot label, the live streaming platform United We Stream and the concept store Voo Store. These events can also only be followed in the live stream.

One of the highlights of the MBFW is the opening show by designer Tom Van Der Borght. The Belgian won the Première Vision Grand Prix of the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography last year. The collections by Lana Müller, Danny Reinke, Marc Cain, Rebekka Ruétz, Kilian Kerner and Eli by Elias Rumelis will later be presented in and can be followed via the live stream.

In order to allow this year’s MBFW to take place this year despite the pandemic, the organizer Nowadays developed a hygiene concept, which measures include ventilation systems, special tracking software, compliance with minimum distances and its own test center, in which all those involved must be tested in advance , belong. It is mandatory to wear a mask, models are only allowed to remove mouth and nose protection on the catwalk and while maintaining the minimum distance.

Berliner Salon returns

Not only the financial support of the State of Berlin shows that the capital has not yet given up the fight for Germany’s fashion location. The organizers themselves demonstrate that they are not simply defeated from the field. To achieve this, the initiators of the Berlin Fashion Week relied on two aspects: promotion and responsibility. The latter is made clear by the return of a well-known participant at the MBFW: The Berliner Salon, a funding initiative for young fashion talents and discontinued in 2019, is back.

The Berliner Salon was founded by the departing Vogue editor-in-chief Christiane Arp and Nowadays managing director Kurz. “With the departure of the trade fairs, the Berliner Salon can finally fit into the international calendar, we are convinced of that,” says Kurz. It is hoped that Berlin designers could use the departure of the trade fairs as an opportunity to redefine Berlin as a fashion location.

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In a group exhibition, the Berliner Salon shows over 35 German design labels from the disciplines of fashion, jewelry and accessories. They include Kaviar Gauche, Lala Berlin, Odeeh and Marina Hoermanseder. “The group exhibition at the Berlin Salon is the heart of Berlin Fashion Week and promises a creative and forward-looking look at German fashion labels and creative talents,” says Ramona Pop, Senator for Economics, Energy and Companies.

For the first time this year, the Fashion Open Studios in collaboration with the organization Fashion Revolution, which is about more responsible fashion practices. Here, too, the focus is on promoting up-and-coming talent. Five Berlin designers – Anekdot, Emeka Suits, Buki Akomolafe, Church of the Hand, and Karen Jessen – as representatives of the Berlin fashion scene, give an insight into the manufacturing processes of their collections. In the livestream you will be able to meet the designers either in the power plant or in their studios. These ideas are complemented by panel discussions on topics such as the responsibility of the luxury fashion industry and the compatibility of activism and fashion. Also on the 202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit topics such as sustainability, innovation and creativity in fashion are discussed online.

Relocation to Frankfurt

This is what Fashion Week looks like: Marina Hoermanseder (front center) at her fashion show in January 2018

The Berlin Fashion Week wants to present itself this year digital and future-oriented. “A digital orientation of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is necessary and contemporary,” says Kurz. And yet, being all alone in front of the screen instead of the champagne glass in front of the catwalk could make one or the other wistful. Nevertheless, the Nowadays managing director Kurz is behind the decision to move the event to digital instead of canceling it completely. “We see it as our task to offer those talents and companies a communication and marketing platform that have been badly affected by the crisis,” says Kurz.

Fashion designers had to cope with severe financial losses in the past year because the shops, studios and showrooms were closed for many months due to the corona measures and are currently closed again. In an open letter That is why Berlin fashion designers turned to the city of Berlin last spring to request financial support. The city reacted: In October it announced that 1.5 million euros would be made available for the fashion industry.

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