BERLIN — The mood at the Berlin trade shows was upbeat as the German economy remains robust and consumer sentiment continues to rise.
After last season’s uncertainties around the restructuring of Berlin Fashion Week, the eight trade shows running from July 3 to 5 provided some stability for the local fashion industry. They remain a focal point for brands that want to establish a market in the D-A-CH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), the Benelux countries, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.
Premium Group further defined the profiles of its four platforms: Premium for men’s and women’s premium apparel; Show&Order as an immediate order point for lower premium women’s wear with a focus on accessories set up as an example department store; Seek for streetwear, and Bright for skater culture.
Messe Frankfurt’s Ethical Fashion Show for sustainable apparel and Greenshowroom for sustainable premium clothing, Panorama for commercial men’s and women’s wear, and Selvedge Run for denim and heritage brands also homed in on their niches.
While traffic was much lower than in past seasons, buyers appeared focused and exhibitors noted that their clients were much better informed.
“The buyers who come are extremely well-informed. They know exactly what they’re looking for and which brands can deliver to their needs and understand how to speak to the end consumer. We are very happy with the fair. Our new collection is colorful, inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and we received fantastic” feedback, said Vitus Overgaard, head of international sales of Danish brand Samsoe & Samsoe at Premium.
“The frequency was lower, but all our important buyers were here. The buyer really is much better informed and very focused,” echoed Michael Kramer, chief executive officer of Herzensangelegenheit, who presented a colorful collection that was popular with German buyers.
“The fairs are important for us because we plan our budgets and meet the brands. We wished the big denim brands would return to the trade shows as we sell a lot with those. We’re always looking for new trends. This season we look for more colors, more chinos and a little less jeans,” said Martin Stehr, owner of S18 stores, which operates a network of six stores and a website in Saxony.
Besides the return of color and maximalism in the premium segment, the lifestyle aspect is growing stronger, with all fairs exhibiting more accessories, beauty products and tech and mobile gadgets.
The shift of sportswear and outdoor brands into fashion continued. While Red Bull presented its fashion brand Alpha Tauri at Premium, Swiss heritage brand Mammut globally launched its new urban line Mammut Delta X offsite during Berlin Fashion Week.
“Functionality and fashion are growing together and we’re definitely looking into this development. We discovered a French ath-leisure brand at Premium that we are very much interested in working with,” confirmed Markus Höhn, executive partner at Lodenfrey, one of Germany’s biggest department stores, located in Munich.
As the economy remains robust and consumer sentiment is rising, more young international brands from countries like China, Korea, Thailand and Russia exhibited at the fairs this season.
“We can gain more attention here than in Paris, and heard positive things from other young Thai brands who have been to the Berlin fairs,” said a representative of Bangkok-based The Parrot.
“I launched my brand in 2015 and the D-A-CH market is relevant for me and Berlin the go-to-point for Middle European and Scandinavian countries. And while slightly too early in the season, it’s better than too late like Tranoi, where I was last season. I also think that the clear profiles with clear product and price proposals are much appreciated by buyers and exhibitors alike, as you know exactly what to find where at which price point,” said Laura von Hagen of Swiss bag brand Lahara.
Highlights from the fairs:
Brand: I’M Isola Marras
Designer: Antonio Marras
Inspiration: A journey from the countryside to the cities of Sardinia with a poppy flash of American road-trip imagery à la Jack Kerouac set the scene for the resort 2019 collection, citing Sardinian folklore elements alongside American rock ’n’ roll. Italian country girl femininity meets motorway pop culture in this playful collection with plentiful contrasting colors and shapes.
Key Styles: Girlish blouses and dresses with Sangallo lace, floral prints and volants reflect the Sardinian influences while T-shirts with prints, wide dungarees, biker jackets, mechanic’s uniforms with denim and leather embody the American pit-stop and motel culture.
Retail Prices: Prices range from 70 euros for T-shirts, 199 to 485 euros for pants and jeans, to 1,017 euros for denim jackets.
Designer: Lydia Maurer
Inspiration: The third edition of Lydia Maurer’s body-positive swimwear line is a homage to Salvador Dalí’s muse Gala Dalí, with a color palette of red, burgundy, copper and notes of blue, reminiscent of French elegance as well as the summer colors of the Spanish coast of Cadaqué. The additional collaboration with Rita in Palma is a crochet collection made by refugee women in Berlin’s Neukölln.
Key Styles: Phylyda’s concept is based on tops and bottoms that can be easily combined, made of Lycra, textured jacquards and Swiss cotton for a better fit. Among the bestsellers are high-waist bottoms, wrap tops and halter-neck tops.
Retail Prices: Bikini bottoms start at 49.99 euros, tops are sold for 99.99 euros, swimsuits for 129.99 and beach caftans for 199.99 euros.
Brand: Horror Vacui
Designer: Anna Heinrichs
Inspiration: “Horror Vacui” translates into “the fear of emptiness,” and, in psychology, is related to the urge to fill empty spaces with all kinds of decorations. The brand name alludes to the opulence of color and frills for her pajamas, which are inspired by 15th and 16th century nightgowns.
Key Styles: Besides the pajamas in Liberty London fabric, the collection carries blouses and dresses with Impressionist floral prints, embellished with plentiful frills in Horror Vacui’s signature historical nightgown look with details like piped buttonholes and boutonniere loops, so vibrant they can be worn day and night.
Retail Prices: Blouses retail between 295 to 495 euros, dresses are sold for 595 to 1,195 euros and pajamas start at 349 euros.
Brand: Vee Collective
Designer: Lili Radu
Inspiration: Featuring bright colors and feminine styles, Lili Radu’s handbag brand was a success story among aspiring German accessories brands. Her second line, Vee Collective, is venturing into a lower-priced segment — and already attracted more than 150 retailers, among them Tomorrowland, David Jones and KaDeWe.
Key Styles: Think multifunctionality in geometric shapes and bright, metallic colors. The unisex fanny packs, tote bags and backpacks in minimalist shapes are made of lightweight, water-repellent ripstop nylon with geometric patches and come in small, medium and large sizes, suitable for work and leisure.
Retail Prices: Fanny packs start at 129 euros, backpacks are sold for 199 euros.
Brand: Alpha Tauri
Inspiration: Red Bull has been in the apparel business for the past 20 years with its athletes collection and merchandising, hence the launch of its own fashion brand Alpha Tauri in 2015. The collections are based on innovation and functionality, aiming at using the newest technologies to create everyday apparel, suitable for office and outdoors.
Key Styles: Among the newest technologies are basic seamless cashmere and merino knits made-to-measure with Shimaseika knitting machines at the 3DKnit-Design-Lab. Along with Swiss textile innovator Schoeller Textil AG, Alpha Tauri developed Taurex, a technology that maintains the body’s heat.
Retail Prices: The prices range from 39.90 euros for tank tops and 59.90 euros for T-shirts to 369.90 for a parka.
Designer: Design team based in Madrid
Inspiration: Launched with the idea to reduce ocean waste with clothes made of plastic waste, Ecoalf expands further into sustainable materials, incorporating more natural low environmental impact fabrics like hemp and cupro. Among the new items this season are swimsuits made from ocean waste collected in Thailand.
Key Styles: With a trend-based outlook, the collection is more urban and reflects the general trend in sustainable clothing to go more fashionable: Basic T-shirts, chinos, light dresses with minimalist shapes and a natural color palette add to the sportive core collection of Ecoalf.
Retail Prices: Prices range from 40 euros for T-shirts to 200 euros for light summer jackets.
Designer: Sebastian Thies
Inspiration: Germans are known as brilliant engineers — and these shoes are made through an engineering mindset rather than a design approach. Thies is a sixth-generation shoemaker and, with sustainability in the back of his mind, explores natural resources like mushrooms, woods or coffee grounds for his sportive styles, reminiscent of Eighties and Nineties street culture.
Key Styles: As is typically German, Bauhaus meets nature at Nat-2. The Rugged Line offers classic boots made of sustainable materials. The classic sneaker comes in different materials: Wood, fungi, hay, coffee grounds or even different kinds of stones. The Futurism line features waste materials like bubble wrap, aluminum and cork.
Retail Prices: The sustainable boots line ranges from 120 to 150 euros and sneakers are sold for 299 to 899 euros, depending on the materials.
Designer: Siu Hung Huynh
Inspiration: “User-based approach” is normally a term associated with apps and computer programs, but in the case of Teddyfish, this applies to backpacks. Thinking of a bag as an everyday companion that is functional and durable, yet elegant, Teddyfish developed a small collection of pieces based more on product design than on fashion.
Key Styles: The hollow shape backpacks made of Cordura and nylon are lightweight, water repellent and highly resistant but are elegant enough to work in a business context.
Retail Prices: Backpacks are sold for 150 euros.
Brand: Mammut Delta X
Designer: Adrian Margelist
Inspiration: Swiss heritage mountaineering brand Mammut is taking its high performance outdoor products into the city with its urban line, launched during Berlin Fashion Week. Delta X refers to the altitude difference between Mount Eiger summit close to the brand’s headquarters and the highest point of the city that inspires the collection. This season, it’s Berlin, next up will be Beijing.
Key Styles: Established in 1862, Mammut draws on a history of performance clothes. The new collection brings the functionality of outdoor clothes into an urban context — think getting off the bike and going straight to the office in functional, yet elegant shapes and colors.