When the final curtain of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week came down in the sold out tent at Branderburger Tor under the roaring applause of the audience last Saturday, everyone agreed: the fashion metropolis Berlin has made another giant leapforward.
On the days leading up to the event, thousands of trade visitors from all over the world converged on Berlin to take in the collections for next spring at the numerous functions and shows. The focus on the most important tradeshow for denim and streetwear on an international level - Bread & Butter - where more than 600 labels were exhibited and 90’000 visitors were expected, was even greater than usually, because it was celebrating its 10-year anniversary. For this reason, Berlin’s residents were invited this time as well. Not to the tradeshow itself, but to the concerts and parties taking place on three evenings. As well, the two “Shopping Nights“ organised by the tradeshow in the trendy neighbourhood Mitte helped the mega event grow even further. Meanwhile, tradeshow director Karl-Heinz Müller is already thinking about the future: the lease agreement for the area of the former airport Tempelhof is valid for eight more years and Müller has the option of extending it by 10 more years after that. And he is definitely inclined to stay for that long. During the current tradeshow he was talking about the “best event in Berlin to date“.
The Premium show featuring more than 1‘000 collections from the couture and ready-to-wear segment was again very well frequented. However, for many years Berlin’s Fashion Week has not been shaped by the two major events alone any more. A number of smaller tradeshows and showrooms around them are now covering a host of special areas. They include Bright, presenting skate and sportswear as an addition to the portfolio of Bread & Butter or the Project Gallery Showroom specialising in budding international avant-garde designers which has once again expanded with more than 50 collections and the relocation into larger premises. It was sharing the large area of Alte Münze with Capsule, a fashion collection represented in Berlin for the first time after taking part in New York, Las Vegas and Paris, showing off almost 60 collections in the segments premium denim and premium streetwear. Young designers were occupying the Collect Showroom. They were already taking part for the third season and are evolving into a fixed institution of Fashion Week.
Indeed, the eco fashion segment had to do without its major representative “The Key.to“ this summer – the organisers decided to take time out on short notice to dedicate their time to developing a new concept for next year – but it had a strong presence nevertheless. Aside from the established Green Showroom, presenting high-class green fashion at the luxury hotel Adlon, Munich’s fashion tradeshow In Fashion celebrated the premiere of its first event in Berlin, with a focus on brands produced according to ecological criteria.
Berlin is slowly becoming aware of the fact that the fashion industry has evolved into a solid economic factor in view of the growing success of Fashion Week – a factor not to be underestimated for a city still considered “poor but sexy“. This is also supported with figures. A study conducted by the Investment Bank Berlin concluded that the Fashion Week visitors alone infused close to 119 million Euro into the city. The general public also benefits from this money: the bank estimates that “the public income of Berlin increased by 16.6 million Euro thanks to the additional value added effects“. But fashion in Berlin is not only important during Fashion Week: the study states that the number of fashion enterprises in the city has increased by 29.4 percent since 2000 with approximately 3’7000 companies employing 11’5000 people obligated to pay social insurance contributions. No other city in Germany is even remotely capable of achieving similar growth rates. The times when Berlin could be discounted as more hype than substance may irrevocably be over.
From our correspondent in Berlin