It wasn’t too long ago that people justifiably questioned whether Berlin’s runway and trade show offerings had sufficient critical mass to fully interest a professional audience. Now, as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin enters its sixth season of runway shows Jan. 20 to 23, flanked by a booming Bread & Butter, Premium, five additional trade shows and assorted presentations and parties, the most critical challenge these days may be managing the sheer mass of goings-on about town.
This story first appeared in the January 12, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Berlin is a pretty big city, as visitors will discover as they attempt to get from point A to point B on an ever-widening map of trade events. Indeed, it’s about 15 miles from the Berlin fairgrounds, the home of 5elements.berlin, to Jam in the Rathenauhallen, though retailers interested in 5elements.berlin’s lingerie offerings are less likely to be in the market for Jam’s midmarket denims. Curtailed service on the S-Bahn, Berlin’s elevated train line, some construction breaks in the U-Bahn (subway), plus snowy streets won’t make getting around any easier, but show organizers have taken greater pains to organize shuttle services. It may not be possible to do it all, but with a bit of pre-planning, visitors should be able to get where they need to go during Berlin’s busy run.
To help guide the way, here’s a breakdown of the main shows and events.
1. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, Jan. 20-23
The winter edition of MBFWB stays in centrally located Bebelplatz. A mix of about 30 established and new designers is on tap for the location and some prime off-site venues such as Boss Black at the Hamburger Bahnhof and Joop at the Neue Nationalgalerie. Scheduled shows in the Bebelplatz tent include the Berlin runway premiere of Rena Lange; Kilian Kerner’s new gig with No Ifs; Designer of Tomorrow award winner Sam Frenzel’s first full show; German contemporary market stalwarts Schumacher and Strenesse Blue; emerging Berlin designers Michael Sontag, Mongrels in Common, Frida Weyer and Penkov, and such international guests as Custo Barcelona and Italian Designers — The Next Generation, featuring the winners of the Camera Nazionale della Moda’s third Fashion Incubators competition.
MBFWB Tent and off-site venues
Bebelplatz/Unter den Linden
U-Bahn: U2 to Stadtmitte or Hausvogteiplatz
Bus: 100 and 200 to Staatsoper
Shuttle service to all official MBFWB events, Premium and Bread & Butter
2. Bread & Butter Berlin, Jan. 20-22
The trade show for selected street and urbanwear brands made its much-heralded return to Berlin last July, finding a dramatic base at the historic Tempelhof airport, the airstrip included. This season’s edition will feature a newly designed Denim Base, which in addition to a good 90 denim oriented brands will see Boss Orange, Desigual, G-Star Raw, Levi’s and Diesel moving into new megastands as part of an architecturally creative winterizing of the runway. Also new this season: the Original Sin Saloon, home to the opening party and other concerts and events. Other areas include Sport & Street, Street Fashion, Style Society, Urban Superior Women, Urban Superior Men and Fashion Now, as well as The Source, Bread & Butter’s fabric fair.
5 Platz der Luftbrücke
Wed.-Thurs.: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri.: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
U-Bahn: U6 to Platz der Luftbrücke
Shuttle Service to Bebelplatz (MBFWB) and Premium
3. Premium, Jan. 19-22
The international fashion trade fair for the premium retail sector kicks things off a day early with Premium Men, a special men’s section premiering this year with around 100 high-quality men’s collections. The cutting edge Seek area, introduced last July, combines contemporary brands like Cheap Monday, Dr. Martens and Libertine-Libertine. This season’s Premium will also feature an enlarged accessories section, the Green Luxury area, and seminars ranging from fashion bloggers to new materials.
4-6 Luckenwalder Strasse
Tues.: 2-8 p.m. (Premium Men only);
Wed.-Thurs.: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri.: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
U-Bahn: U1 and U2 to Gleisdreieck
Bus: 129 to Schöneberger Strasse
Shuttle service to Bebelplatz (MBFWB), Bread & Butter, and ProjektGalerie (Hof 96 and Torstrasse)
4. 5elements.berlin, Jan. 19-21
In Berlin for its second season, the trade show 5elements.berlin is now Germany’s only specialized intimate apparel fair. The show brings together intimate, beach, spa and fitness apparel, cosmetics and accessories under the Funkturm, located in Berlin’s old fairgrounds. Exhibitors include Joop Bodywear, Marlies Dekkers, Vanity Fair, Hanro of Switzerland and Nina Ricci. This year, the fair adds a 2,150-square-foot “Concept Store” where exhibitors can show off their point-of-sale concepts and buyers can pick up tips on communications and display.
Unter dem Funkturm
Berlin Fairgrounds: Eingang Süd (South Entrance)
Tues.-Thurs.: 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
S-Bahn: S75 or 9 to Messe Süd
Bus: 349 to Jafféstrasse
5. Jam, Jan. 20-22
Denim and sportswear trade fair Jam takes on Berlin for the first time with a show in the barely-in-town Rathenau Warehouses made (in)famous by last year’s dramatically far-flung Boss Orange show. Jam planners say there will be double-decker bus shuttle service to the other Fashion Week locations, as well as an Internet lounge, magazine spots for picking up the latest publications, food bars for snacks and complimentary coffee corners for meetings and pick-me-ups. Labels like Akademiks, Outfitters Nation and Broadway will show in the massive space, and seminars on marketing and point-of-sale are on offer, as well as an exhibition of designs from Bernhard Wilhelm. Jam’s Area 20-10 is for emerging designers and brands; those featured include Berlin-based Franzius, Thu Thu and Niconé.
Wed.-Thurs.: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri.: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
S-Bahn: S8, 45,46, 47 and 85 to Schöneweide
Shuttle service to Bebelplatz (MBFWB), Premium and Bread & Butter
6. Spirit of Fashion, Jan. 20-22
Spirit of Fashion goes cosmic at the former Kosmos cinema in East Berlin. The underground and alternative trade show will present four fashion shows and a range of punk, Gothic, glam, hot-rod, hippie and other subculture brands in a DJ-fueled lounge atmosphere, as well as a spirited after party. Free admission for fashion professionals.
131a Karl-Marx Allee, Mitte
Wed. – Fri.: 11a.m.-7p.m.
U-Bahn: U5 to Weberwiese
7. Projekt Galerie Showrooms, Jan. 20-23
A blend of art and fashion, Projekt Galerie Showrooms kicks things off Wednesday with an opening and book launch of “My Fashion Diary” by Marc Schuhmann and night shopping until 1 a.m. Expect a mix of avant-garde and young contemporary looks from 30 international designers of men’s wear, women’s wear, accessories and shoes.
HOF96/Lucas Carrieri Art Gallery
Wed.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
U-Bahn: U8 to Rosenthalerplatz
Tram: M6 and 8 to Rosenthalerplatz
Shuttle service to Premium
8. TheKey.to, Jan. 20-23
This offbeat green fashion and lifestyle show launched last July and has returned in partnership with The Swedish Institute of Stockholm, which will present an Eco-Chic exhibit. Fifty up-and-coming international eco-labels will be on hand in Kreuzberg, including Knowledge Cotton Apparel from Denmark, Itsus from Canada and Komodo and People Tree from the UK. The venue, an old bakery, will also host a comprehensive series of forums and organic textile workshops in English and a fashion restyling-recycling event.
Magazin in der Heeresbäckerei
Wed.-Fri.: Noon-9 p.m.; Sat.: Public Day: Noon-8 p.m.
U-Bahn: U1 to Schlesisches Tor
Shuttle service to Bread & Butter TCTC
9. Showroom-Meile, Jan. 20-24
The fourth annual Showroom-Meile asks, “How nice without you?” The public event, sponsored by Berlin’s Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Women, in conjunction with local businesses and institutions, will present fashion-oriented activities in various spaces in Mitte. Designers and artists will show their collections, retrospectives and photography exhibitions, with a focus on projects exploring the links among fashion, art and design.
Unter den Linden, Friedrichstrasse, Alexanderplatz, Rosenthalerplatz and other locations to be announced
U-Bahn: U2 and U6 to Stadtmitte
Bus: 100 and 200 to Friedrichstrassew