Sunday, January 23, 2011

Berlin Fashion Week A/W 2011 Report

ELEMENTUM by Daniela Pais A/W 2011-12

I am now settled in again here in snow-coated Sofia, but thoughts about Berlin Fashion Week are still swirling around after last week's excursion to review local and international fashion talent in Berlin's thriving art/fashion capital.
Humboldt University adjacent to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin

Berliners definitely love fashion, despite their beloved city's industrial gray palette and bone-chilling temperatures. There was not a single cab driver who did not have something to say about the sartorial goings on, and I adored that the organizers of the Lavera Showfloor Berlin runway events opened several of their shows to the public. This was such a great way to energize a city's populus in the depths of January.



THEKEY.TO showfloor from above (photo: Abigail Doan)

My principal focus while in Berlin was to attend the GREENshowroom at Hotel Adlon and THEKEY.TO's  ethical and sustainable fashion showcase. I was also fortunate to also catch Isabell de Hillerin's runway show in an amazingly renovated transformer station, as well as having appointments with several movers and shakers on the local scene.


ELEMENTUM permutations by Daniela Pais via Vogue Italia


I concluded a few key things during a three day span that seemed way too short to absorb the energy and creative spirit that was surely just revealing itself to me:

  • People love fashion, and we should not assume that they do not want to be a part of or participate in current initiatives. If we really want to create a 'conspiracy' in (sustainable) fashion, then we should continue to find revolutionary ways to democratize fashion and future fashion week events.
  • There are indeed new markets for creating pieces that do more, while also looking genuinely chic and original. The European-made label, ELEMENTUM by Daniela Pais, is proof perhaps that six pieces can indeed by cleverly transformed into totally wearable ensembles. One simply needs to take the time to play with and accessorize one's wardrobe. Garment construction that aims for zero waste can also be extremely sexy and performative, see video below.
  • In addition to recycling garments and textile waste materials, we have now entered an era where every single scrap counts. Designers can create the most remarkable and innovative designs out of seemingly useless bits and pieces that fall to the studio floor. This requires supreme technical artistry, though, not just a desire to be 'thrifty' or 'crafty'. The phenomenon of studio materials being factored in from start to finish is upon us. See my previous post on KM/A studio in Vienna.
  • As the conversation about storytelling in clothing and the development of personal style continues, sustainable fashion designers are increasingly thinking and working as modern day anthropologists who now consider every aspect of how their design is used, interpreted by the wearer, and then continually updated to fit with each person's lifestyle. As street style blogs also continue to proliferate (though perhaps they have reached their peak?), we are more than ever considering what impressions we make and what narrative journey we embark on as we walk out the door. Knowing and working with your personal style is as vital to (sustainable) fashion as knowing what options there are for environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible designs.
  • And perhaps this is obvious, but there is never a substitute for quality. Several of the designers at this past week's event have been working for years to create an ideal design equation that combines impeccable tailoring, innovative pattern cutting, attention to detail, the highest quality sustainable fabrics available, as well as a mission that addresses sustainable living and design. Collections by Camilla Norrback, Magdalena ShaffrinRianne de Witte, Isabell de Hillerin, and Reet Aus will never go out of style, and we should continue to support these refined fashion efforts and unique creative explorations. Fashion will reach the people if the story is a shared experience.
(ELEMENTUM video courtesy of Daniela Pais)

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