Philomena Zanetti at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin Spring/Summer 2017

BERLIN Berlin’s runway action is set to shrink next January.

Ending months of speculation, Mercedes-Benz today said it would remain the title sponsor and initiator of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin, but with a less-is-more approach, at least when it comes to runway shows. The automotive giant said up to 10 shows would be presented in Berlin under the auspices and new title of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week over two to three days a season, compared to 30 and more shows and stage presentations over a four-day period in the past.

As previously reported, Mercedes and its organizational partner IMG parted ways last July after a 10-year run. Berlin creative and production agency Nowadays, whose owner Marcus Kurz is also cofounder of The Berliner Mode Salon, will now develop, organize and produce the MBFW shows. These are also moving to a new venue: E-Werk in Berlin Mitte. Mercedes said the former power station and popular event location “offers ideal conditions for high-quality fashion shows in a central location. In doing so, MBFW will concentrate on fewer but more outstandingly staged presentations.”

MBFW will also strive to become more digitally oriented to attract a younger and more technically oriented target group, with a new web site designed to provide the latest information on shows and the designers. Further details were not divulged, but sources said the new runway show concept also includes a separate brand experience area for the participating designers. Who these might be is the big question mark, as word has it show costs will be significantly higher than previously, when “Let’s Make a Deal” was the modus operandi for Germany’s chronically cash-strapped emerging designers.

“On the one hand, there will be advertising customers, who are playing an important role in German media and who have great success with their collections,” commented Nowadays’ Kurz. “On the other hand, MBFW will be the stage for young brands who need to be promoted. Mercedes-Benz has always been an amazing supporter for designers like Ivanman, Malaikaraiss, Dawid Tomaszewski, Perret Schaad and many more. This concept will be continued and we are more than glad that Mercedes-Benz has remained true to Berlin Fashion Week.”

At least one young designer will continue to have his or her way paid, as Mercedes said it will again partner with Elle Germany to stage a show of an international designer from German-speaking Europe. At the same time, DBMS will also stage six to eight runway shows as in seasons past, plus the big group DBMS exhibition of about 35 selected emerging and more established German designers on Jan. 16.

However, the basic math currently adds up to a maximum of 18 runway shows in Berlin from January 16 to 18, a cut of 50 percent. Whether a third party jumps in to organize additional shows or Germany’s young designers work to create new alternatives themselves is an unknown factor at present.

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