Interview with Marcus Kurz: "Talent needs to be supported and made visible."

© Ben Moenks
© Ben Moenks

Marcus Kurz has long been a cornerstone of the German fashion and events landscape. This season, under his (co-)leadership, more than 50 design talents are being supported during Berlin Fashion Week through the NEWEST and Der Berliner Salon formats. Marcus is also a founding member of the Fashion Council Germany (FCG) and has placed Berlin and Germany on the global fashion map by co-founding the Berlin Fashion Week in 2007 with his pioneering creative agency, Nowadays Berlin. He also initiated Der Berliner Salon, a sophisticated showcase that celebrates Berlin design, providing international visibility and recognition for German fashion brands. We spoke with Marcus about his passion for fashion, Berlin, and nurturing talent.

NEWEST is a significant yet relatively new part of Berlin Fashion Week. Could you elaborate on what NEWEST entails and how it supports designers?

NEWEST is a fashion showcase for winners of the Berlin Contemporary Competition, supported by the Berlin Senate. This format offers participants exclusive and unique venues, complete with the necessary infrastructure for fashion shows. In partnership with Museum&Location, we have facilitated fashion shows in some of the city's most striking museums for two seasons.

Why are the location, setup, and organization of a fashion show crucial?

A fashion show has evolved beyond a mere event for physical attendees; it's now a complex content production and a direct communication tool. The visuals created are disseminated instantly with the show and utilized over an extended period for the brand’s communication and marketing channels. Media coverage and influencer posts are "the images" that circulate globally and shape the brand's image.

"A fashion show is a complex content production and a direct communication tool."

The collection, show, and staging forge an emotional connection between the brand and attendees during the event. Naturally, a well-organized fashion show enhances this experience from behind the scenes and beyond.

"The collection, show, and staging create an emotional connection between the brand and the guests."

Which location has been one of your personal highlights from recent seasons and why?

The Pressecafé at Alexanderplatz was a significant challenge in production but undeniably one of the last season's highlights. This location not only provided a dramatic backdrop in the city center for our fashion shows but also uniquely represented Berlin's dynamic energy.

"The Pressecafé at Alexanderplatz was undeniably one of the last season's highlights."

You also co-curate Der Berliner Salon. Could you describe the concept behind it?

Der Berliner Salon is a curated exhibition format that showcases emerging design talents in fashion, product design, and accessories. Designers are selected by a committee and present two looks from their current collection in a group exhibition. This event is limited to three hours, and this season, in collaboration with the Bode Museum, the collections will remain on display until July 7.

What motivates you to support young designers at the start of their careers?

Supporting young designers has always been crucial for us. They shape the future of the industry and act as tomorrow's trendsetters. Talent must be supported and made visible. Often, a designer's initial steps into the market can dictate the future of their brand and career. I'm pleased that our formats have provided more than 50 designers with the opportunity to showcase their work during Berlin Fashion Week.

“Often, a designer's initial steps into the market can dictate the future of their brand and career.”

What is your observation of today's talent in terms of professionalism, standards, motivation, and craftsmanship?

In recent years, there has been a noticeable improvement; designers are now highly organized and methodical. Craftsmanship is vital for all and has become an integral part of their collections. Without significant motivation, none of the designers would endure the pressures and challenges of producing a seasonal collection.

You've been a pivotal figure in Berlin's and Germany's creative industry for decades. What do you love most about your work?

I relish the opportunity to initiate projects and see them through to successful completion after three to six months, which allows me to turn to new challenges and ideas. Developing innovative approaches, connecting people, and tackling new challenges energizes me.

How has Berlin reinvented itself as a fashion destination with the support of the Senate?

In recent seasons, Berlin has significantly evolved as a fashion location, thanks in large part to the active support of the Berlin Senate. This support has created optimal conditions for young designers to showcase their work, changed the dates of the BFW, invited international guests, and facilitated networking with local designers. The BFW has been repositioned and is gradually regaining attention in the industry with a clear focus on nurturing emerging talent. The repositioning as a fashion hub for young international design talents aligns perfectly with Berlin's organic impulses from the arts, music, and subculture.

What are the strengths of BFW?

The Senate has a genuine interest in establishing designers and their studios in the city for the long term. All the initiators are working towards a common vision and mission. BFW has long sought its positioning. I believe that its positioning as a fashion hub for young international design talents perfectly matches Berlin's DNA, with its organic impulses from art, music, and subculture.

“The positioning as a fashion hub for young international design talents perfectly matches Berlin's DNA.”

What are you particularly looking forward to this July?

I am eagerly anticipating the exhibition at the Berliner Salon, which this season will be presented throughout the Bode Museum under the theme 'Bode meets Mode.'

What is your favorite place in Berlin?


And where can we find you after Fashion Week?

Hopefully, at the stadium for the German team's semi-final match (laughs).

DER BERLINER SALON moves to Bode-Museum

While DER BERLINER SALON has been held at the Kronprinzenpalais in recent seasons, this year marks a location premiere: for the first time, the group exhibition is hosted in the impressive halls of the historic Bode-Museum. Here, visitors can discover contemporary creations in the fields of fashion, interior design, and beauty by 44 designers amidst art history and marble statues as part of Berlin Fashion Week.

“Since the founding of DER BERLINER SALON, our goal has been to sustainably promote German design and create a platform where designers can present themselves through the group exhibition. Germany has many talented, innovative, and emerging designers who deserve to be supported and promoted,” said Christiane Arp, Chairwoman of the Fashion Council Germany and curator of DER BERLINER SALON.

This summer, the looks of the finalists of the FCG/VOGUE Fashion Fund will also be part of the group exhibition. The global initiative, announced during the last BFW in February and taking place in Germany for the first time, also aims to support young emerging talents and give them more visibility.

After nearly ten years, DER BERLINER SALON has become an absolute fixture during Berlin Fashion Week. The group exhibition not only provides a stage for emerging talents but also fosters interdisciplinary exchange between different areas of the creative industries. “As an established institution for industry exchange, DER BERLINER SALON serves as a long-term platform, uniquely highlighting the importance of Germany as a fashion location. We are very pleased to be represented with the group exhibition at the Bode-Museum this season,” said Marcus Kurz, co-initiator of DER BERLINER SALON and managing director of the organizing agency Nowadays.

DER BERLINER SALON continues to be supported by the Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Energy, and Public Enterprises.

Opening times:

Opening DER BERLINER SALON, by invitation only: 2. of July 2024, 12 until 3 pm 

Öffnungszeiten: 3. bis 7. of July 2024, 10 am until 5 pm

Entrance above Monbijoubridge 
10178 Berlin