Berlin Fashion Week convinces with collective reorientation

© Getty Images for Der Berliner Salon
© Getty Images for Der Berliner Salon
The city of Berlin underscores its claim as the most relevant stage for creatives in Germany.

The visionary and sustainable realignment of Berlin Fashion Week as the European Capital of Creative Industries has been a success: The first and highly acclaimed edition of Berlin Fashion Week with a new concept (January 18-24) was a complete success for all those responsible and participants and is considered a trend-setting event for the entire creative scene.

With a program consisting of experimental, creative formats, classic fashion shows and group exhibitions, as well as groundbreaking panel talks with established design greats and many international up-and-coming talents, the German capital is emphatically asserting itself as the most important venue for national and international creatives in Germany.

In total, the eleven formats of the 29th Berlin Fashion Week attracted around 300,000 digital participants from Germany and abroad on their various online platforms and livestreams. In addition, more than 5 million users followed the events of the week-long event via the Berlin Fashion Week social media channels alone; a further 500,000 users tuned in via livestream on the Berlin Fashion Week website.

"I am delighted about the great success of this Berlin Fashion Week. It's great to see that everyone involved is united behind Berlin and our repositioning, filling it with life and relevant content in a variety of ways," says Ramona Pop, Senator for Economic Affairs, Energy and Labor. "Our efforts have paid off and I am sure that Berlin Fashion Week will very soon be part of the international must-attend program of the creative industry."

Berlin Fashion Week focuses on the forward-looking key themes of sustainability, innovations and digitalization. This focus is to be further expanded with the coming editions and strengthened with corresponding formats and programs.
Due to the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Berlin Fashion Week took place primarily digitally.

First digital MBFW restaged fashion trends
The exclusively digital Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (MBFW) united German fashion designers and internationally renowned young talents under one roof and presented around 65 designers and brands in the form of live streams, individual show formats and group exhibitions.

The MBFW was opened by Tom van Der Borght, the Belgian designer and winner of the "Grand Prix du Jury Première Vision" at the 35th International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessoires in Hyères. The latter showed his designs in an impressive symbiosis of performance and fashion show. In addition, the collections of Lana Mueller, Danny Reinke, Marc Cain, Rebekka Ruétz, Kilian Kerner and Eli by Elias Rumelis were presented.

The accompanying Designer Dialogues, Talks and Screenings focused on the topic of sustainability and thus strengthened Berlin's efforts to position itself as a leading platform for sustainability.

Under the title TRANSIT, selected collaborations from the fields of fashion, performance and design appeared together in a new format. Designers such as Lou de Bètoly, Michael Sontag or Belize x Klaesi Holdener moved away from staging in the form of a classic fashion show and presented their collections in the form of a live staging.
"For us, the implementation of MBFW in January 2021 was considered an important sign of the cohesion of the German creative industry," explains Marcus Kurz, CEO of NOWADAYS. In total, the live streams of MBFW recorded more than 80,000 hits.

BERLINER SALON looks back on a successful comeback
After a two-year break, the BERLINER SALON returned to Berlin Fashion Week as one of the most important industry events and presented designs by all participating designers for the first time as part of a highly acclaimed BERLINER SALONS Editorial Films.

The renowned BERLINER SALONS group exhibition focused on the staging of 38 design labels from the disciplines of fashion, jewelry and accessories - many of them with a special focus on sustainability.
Participating designers included: Aeyde, Antonia Zander, Benu Berlin, Dawid Tomaszewski, Gabriele Frantzen, Horror Vacui, Isabel Vollrath, Julia Leifert, Julia Zimmermann, VeeCollective, Margova Jewellery, Marina Hoermanseder, Maximova Jewelry, Michael Sontag, PB0110, Peter O. Mahler, Rianna + Nina, Saskia Diez, Sminfinity, Steinrohner, Stiebich & Rieth, Vladimir Karaleev and Working Title.

At the BERLINER SALON TALKS, fashion experts such as Christiane Arp (initiator of the BERLINER SALON), Inga Griese (editor-in-chief of ICON) and Philip Weber (object designer) exchanged views on current events in the fashion industry. In stimulating double interviews with designers such as Marina Hoermanseder, Dawid Tomaszewski or Michael Sontag, the values and developments of the industry were discussed.

Fashion Open Studio focused on sustainability, mentoring and transparency
For the first time and in cooperation with MBFW, the Fashion Open Studio took place as part of the sustainability initiative Fashion Revolution. Fashion Revolution is a global movement founded after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 with the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes. For the organization, it is the first ever comprehensive collaboration with a Fashion Week.

Part of the program were three panel talks, 20 presentations by sustainable local and international designers and a mentoring program on sustainability by and with Orsola de Castro for the five Berlin labels Soup Archive, #Damur, CRUBA, Fade Out Label as well as the pioneers in social entrepreneurship, People Berlin.

As a special highlight, the Fashion Open Studio invited visitors to a behind-the-scenes look at five designer studios to showcase the people, collections and processes behind their sustainable business models. Labels included Emeka, Anekdot, Church of the Hand and Karen Jessen.

Another component of the partnership was the staging of ten Berlin designers as well as ten international designers from the 35th International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessories in Hyères, as well. Among them People, Buki Akomolafe, Fade Out Label, Anekdot and Karen Jessen.

Berlin Fashion Film Festival - A Retrospective of the Best Fashion Films
For the first time, the Berlin Fashion Film Festival (BFFF), in cooperation with MBFW, complemented Berlin Fashion Week and presented a retrospective of the best fashion films of the past decade in the form of exciting conversations and interviews with designers and filmmakers. Among them Kids of The Diaspora, Per Se, Amirah M. Tajdin of Radical Media, Elena Petitti di Roreto of REKORDER, Metz+Racine and New York's creative powerhouse Kidsuper aka Colm Dillane. 

"The Berlin Fashion Film Festival is all about fashion storytelling. That's the reason why we teamed up with Berlin Fashion Week. It's an invitation to our experts from the fields of conceptual brand communication and filmmaking to be part of it," explains Philipp Ulita, Managing Director of the Berlin Fashion Film Festival. "With the Berlin Fashion Film Festival, we have created a platform where the most exciting players in the industry meet to exchange ideas and visions."

BERLIN, BERLIN by Highsnobiety
Highsnobiety's new format BERLIN, BERLIN, a multi-channel showcase, featured some of the city's most relevant, cross-genre creatives. As part of Berlin Fashion Week, Highsnobiety highlighted the space where Berlin's fashion, music, art and design worlds intersect.

Highlights included a preview of Jonas Lindstroem's new "BELIEVE" project, exclusive behind-the-scenes images from GmbH's fashion show, a poster campaign of 8,333 posters that conquered the streets of Berlin, London and Paris, an instantly sold-out BERLIN, BERLIN merchandise collection, and digital after-show parties with Berlin's best techno DJs streamed from the Boros Bunker and Grand Theft Auto video game.

One of the main events was BERLIN, AUGMENTED BERLIN, a group exhibition curated by Anika Meier and Highsnobiety. The augmented reality platform, created especially for the exhibition, featured a number of Berlin-based artists, including Manuel Rossner, Cibelle Cavalli Bastos and Ruohan Wang, as well as designer Errolson Hugh with his label Acronym. The immersive platform invited visitors to use a smartphone or tablet to place the AR artworks in public spaces or in the safety of their own homes. "In our opinion, Berlin is one of the cities, if not the city, which allows any diversity and opportunity for development creatively. We have clearly demonstrated this with Berlin Fashion Week in January 2021," explains David Fischer, founder and CEO Highsnobiety.
In total, around 148,000 international and national digital guests visited Highsnobiety's formats.

202030 - The Berlin Fashion Summit with around 1,500 workshop participants.
202030 - The Berlin Fashion Summit, founded by Magdalena Schaffrin and Max Gilgenmann from Studio MM04, also celebrated its debut at Berlin Fashion Week. At the new, non-public format, high-ranking experts recommended actions and guidelines on the topics of sustainability, digitization, fashion and culture, which were presented digitally in public presentations. Orators included: Ulrich Plein (Green Button), Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart (Braungart EPEA - International Umweltforschung GmbH), and respected lifestyle journalist and sustainability activist Bandana Tewari of Craft Diplomacy.

In an interim statement, Max Gilgenmann, founder and CEO Studio MM04, shared, "We are pleased with the lively and curious exchange within the interactive community and the many questions from the chat that are taken up via the moderators."

Wear It Berlin with more than 400 international experts
The digital event series "Wear It Live" celebrated its anniversary, with its tenth edition focusing on the theme of "Fashiontech" and attended by more than 400 international experts from fashion and technology. As a highlight, Oliver Lange, Head of H&Mbeyond, announced the new collaboration with NeXR Technologies SE. Antje Hundhausen, Vice President Brand Experience at Deutsche Telekom, gave exciting insights into their brand new Heatable Capsule Collection, created in collaboration with AlphaTauri and Schoeller.

The panel was moderated by Thomas Gnahm, Managing Director of Wear It Berlin GmbH, and featured top-class participants. The panelists agreed: Berlin is the ideal place for a reorientation of the fashion industry. According to Antje Hundhausen and Oliver Lange, the start-up culture and the innovation-friendly environment are particularly decisive factors. "Berlin is the like an experimental space where magic moments can happen and the scene is open to new things," says Oliver Lange, head of H&Mbeyond.

Fashion Council Germany highlights the importance of the German fashion industry in an international comparison
The Fashion Council Germany (FCG) presented the results of the first study on the "Status of German Fashion" during Berlin Fashion Week and illustrated the enormous importance that Germany has as a fashion location, both nationally and internationally. The study shows that Germany is the second largest fashion brand supplier in Europe after Italy - ahead of France, Portugal and Spain.

The study also clearly showed that the "Made in Germany" quality seal is accepted worldwide and that German fashion companies are internationally regarded as particularly reliable. partner. In addition, the strengths lie in the areas of sustainability, technology and innovation, above all textile development.

"We are delighted that we have now been able to respond to the call made personally by Chancellor Angela Merkel to analyze the status of fashion in Germany. We thank the BMWi, because without the good cooperation and support, the implementation of the study would not have been possible," said Marie- Louise Berg, founding and board member of the FCG.

Reference Festival draws more than 28,000 people worldwide into parallel realities and creates a virtual space for like-minded people
From January 21-23, the Reference Festival took place on the Reference Realities virtual platform. Under the theme "Navigating Parallel Realities," most of the activities were created in physical space and digitally enhanced.

The audience-free Zeiss Grossplanetarium in Berlin was the main physical venue for the festival, which featured exclusive one-off performances, including Die Hässlichen Vögel. Bill Kouligas' label PAN, in collaboration with Carhartt WIP, presented Anne Imhof & Eliza Douglas, 'Act 1' by MJ Harper & David Jainz styled by Stefano Pilati in Random Identities, Pan Daijing and Amnesia Scanner, whose show was enhanced with effects by Freeka Tet. All acts were broadcast live on

Predominantly detached from the location was the film for the fall 2021 collection of the GmbH "World on the Wire", which was premiered exclusively on referencerealities. com premiered, 032c's 20th anniversary activation that sent LCD-clad trucks through Berlin, an all-virtual Blue Room created by EBITTM (Enjoy Being in Transition) in collaboration with Michel Gaubert, and an experience by Lost Souls of Saturn (Seth Troxler & Phil Moffa) that premiered and was hosted on the platform's planetarium stage. Platform demonstrated seamless functionality throughout.

And the Reference Studios showroom on Potsdamer Strasse also hosted an interdisciplinary exhibition showcasing respected artists and emerging brands alike. Among them Tobias Spichtig for Balenciaga, Chapel Petrassi x Mowalola, a curated selection from ENDYMA's world's largest Helmut Lang archive, an installation by the collective Treffpunkt, an exclusive film screening of COLRS, the brand of emerging designer PunkZec, and a presentation by acteTM in collaboration with Sucuk & Bratwurst.

The Reference Festival closed with the announcement of an Emerging Talent Award in partnership with Slam Jam, which will be launched in the coming weeks with more information and the introduction of the full committee. 

Neo.Fashion. also digital in the future
The Neo.Fashion. format is the largest and most important fashion graduates event in the German-speaking world, and this time eleven universities and 86 graduates took part. The designs were presented in the form of digital fashion shows and presentations, which have so far been able to generate a reach of more than 10,000 views.

"For us, the digital Neo.Fashion. 2021 was a thoroughly successful event. Our digital format has proven itself so much that we will be operating as a hybrid event in the future," says Jens Zander, founder and organizer of Neo.Fashion.

Berlin Fashion Week: digital information and content hub
The official website of Berlin Fashion Week ( accompanied the entire program and reflected the digital events. The comprehensive program overview was expanded for the January edition to include around 50 relevant and up-to-date contents such as expert interviews and insights, as well as with a strong focus on sustainability topics. In total, more than 300,000 page views were recorded from Germany and abroad. More than 5 million users were reached via the company's own social media portals.