Every year, a tightly packed fashion calendar takes the fashion elite ‘round the globe for glitz and glamour in New York, Paris, London and Milan. Berlin is not yet on that famous roster – though that might well change soon. Where the “big four” are still busy preserving old-fashioned traditions, thwarting much-needed change (think, for example, the revival of the heroin chic body image or the increasingly questionable use of real fur at last year’s Hermès show in Paris, prompting a PETA cameo), Berlin, unrestrained by long-standing customs, is free to look ahead, to be daring and to experiment.
With a fashion identity rooted in the city’s DIY spirit that is slowly but surely building a reputation for pioneering real change, Berlin’s players, from small businesses to established designers, are taking a stance on societal issues like global warming, inclusivity and gender identity. What our city lacks in prestigious fashion houses like DeLorenta, Balmain, Westwood or Gucci, it makes up for in vision and innovation. And where our innovation truly shines is sustainable fashion, starting with the city’s first-rate flea markets and ending with the ever-growing community of creative upcycling designers, turning textile waste into fashion fit for the runway.
Berlin Fashion Week testifies to this twice a year, with a vast majority of labels who haven’t just hopped on the eco-friendly bandwagon but whose very founding principles are rooted in sustainability. Collections put forward seasonally by the likes of Haderlump, LML Studio and Avenir are made from deadstock fabrics, recycled materials and even showpieces from previous years, resulting in fresh designs that set the tone for contemporary fashion worldwide.
Imbued with the city’s spirit, and putting further emphasis on pillars like equality and inclusivity through genderless designs and a diverse cast of models, Berlin Fashion Week is quickly shaping up to become the premier destination for reforming fashion practices worldwide. Who would’ve thought that it’s Berlin’s very underdog spirit that will propel the city (fashion) forward.
- Berlin Fashion Week 2024 runs February 5th – 8th, details