- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
Tommy Hilfiger has been named the official apparel partner for Formula One world champions Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, which will see the brand’s logo featured on the team’s race cars for 2018.
In a multi-year strategic partnership, Tommy Hilfiger will supply race and travel wear for the drivers, which includes British racing driver Lewis Hamilton, who won his fourth World Championship title in 2017 and Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas, as well as factory, office and hospitality clothing for the whole team.
As part of the deal Tommy Hilfiger’s logo will be emblazoned on the team’s 2018 race cars, which will be official revealed later this month at the Silverstone track in the UK. The Tommy Hilfiger logo will also be features on the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport pit garage and other trackside assets.
“From the first time I attended a Formula One race, I was completely fascinated by the world of motorsports,” said Hilfiger. “To be re-entering this arena with World Champions Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport and their number-one team is an incredible way to fuse fashion and Formula One.”
Hilfiger added: “I recognise the passion, spirit and drive that the entire Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team shows at every race, and these shared qualities are why I’m excited to partner with them for the upcoming seasons.”
Tommy Hilfiger re-enters Formula One arena with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport deal
Daniel Grieder, chief executive officer of Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe, said: "The exciting partnership with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport is a celebration of our shared commitment to keep technology and innovation at the core of our business.
"We take pride in partnering with organisations that are the best in their industries and share our passion to attract and retain the best-in-class teams. We are excited to leverage the incredible reach that Formula One has worldwide as we continue to build on our brand's global recognition and bring Tommy Hilfiger to new audiences.”
Toto Wolff, team principal and chief executive, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, added: "We are delighted to welcome Tommy Hilfiger to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport and back to the world of Formula One.
"It is always exciting to embark on a new partnership, particularly when it touches such a key area of our team's image; I am positive that it will energise our brand and bring a new spin to how we are perceived from this season. We are excited to see how Tommy Hilfiger will dress the team this season and to showcase their exciting plans to the fans of Formula One.”
Tommy Hilfiger previously affiliated with Formula One from 1991 to 1994 sponsoring the Lotus team, and in 1998, sponsored Ferrari, creating uniforms for the team, which included seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher and British racing driver Eddie Irvine.
Images: Courtesy of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
The Commonwealth is to celebrate fashion across its 52 countries for the first time with the launch of the Commonwealth Style Exchange, an initiative from Liv Firth’s Eco-Age that aims to highlight the power and potential of artisan fashion skills to deliver new networks, trade links and sustainability.
The initiative will see fashion talent and artisan producers from 52 countries coming together in London, ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London this April, as a way of showcasing the wealth of design and artisan fashion talent across the Commonwealth.
Design talent set to take part includes Burberry and Stella McCartney, who will be representing the UK, Karen Walker representing New Zealand and Bibi Russell for Bangladesh.
The first looks from the designer-producer partnership will be showcased at a special reception set to take place at Buckingham Palace during London Style Week in February, which will be attended by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and HRH The Countess of Wessex.
The looks will then be displayed at Australia House in London from February 21, and in other locations across London, where the exhibition will be open to the public in the run-up to Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in April.
In addition, the Commonwealth Style Exchange will have a dedicated platform on Google Arts and Culture, giving a global audience access to the looks in an online exhibition along with the stories of these extraordinary partnerships and a directory full of extra resources.
Commonwealth Style Exchange launches to promote fashion talent and artisan producers
The Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, said: “The modern Commonwealth is young and creative. It represents a third of the world’s population, 60 percent of whom are under the age of 30. So fashion, alongside music and sport, represents a powerful common language and platform through which to influence young people around key issues.
“The Style Exchange has collaboration and partnership at its heart, forging new networks and making the Commonwealth Summit themes of prosperity, sustainability and fairness very real and tangible.”
The Commonwealth Style Exchange has been launched in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and Matches Style, who will launch an edited collection in September this year, while Firth’s Eco-Age will manage the initiative.
Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco-Age, added: “This is a project rich in partnerships and creative co-design. For example, one of our very talented designers from India is paired with an artisan group in Tuvalu. As someone who is passionate about joining the threads of global fashion and creating real partnerships you can imagine how exciting it is for us to be involved.”
Daniel Hatton, chief executive and founder of The Commonwealth Style Council, said: “The Commonwealth Style Exchange is the beautiful result of cultures coming together. This project has provided a common sustainable ground which broadens networks and allows for the discovery of new friendships and processes, which enriches creativity.”
Image: via Eco-Age website
- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
European payments provider Klarna has announced a UK partnership with the London College of Style (LCF) to support the next generation of fashion tech innovators.
The partnership with see Klarna joining forces with the Digital Anthropology Lab at London College of Style, which is one of the UK’s foremost research hubs dedicated to making smarter technology for a better human experience, to support and tap into the visions of future fashion tech talent.
The industry disruptor will work closely with selected students, which are all undertaking Masters studies at LCF, who will work in teams to devise innovative solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing fashion retailers, such as personalisation, sustainability, issues in the supply chain and brand experience.
Klarna will support students as they work with a team of experienced designers, educators and technologists at LCF to develop a conceptual response to an issue. Students will then share their progress in a series of blogs before unveiling their final projects in an end-of-term showcase.
Luke Griffiths, UK general manager of Klarna, said: “We understand the power of technology in unlocking innovation across every industry. That’s why we’re proud to be partnering with LCF on this exciting project to help the next generation of fashion tech innovators realise their potential.”
Wojtek Tusz, LCF project lead and acting director of the Digital Anthropology Lab added: “The convergence of fashion and technology has the power to drive change, build a sustainable future and dramatically improve people’s lives. This partnership is a brilliant opportunity for our students to work with an industry innovator like Klarna and explore new frontiers in fashion tech.”
Klarna works with 89,000 merchants, including ASOS, Topshop, Arcadia Group and JD Sports in the UK, and offers payment solutions to more than 60 million users in Europe and North America.
The partnership has come together following Klarna’s research that reveals that fashion is now the UK’s largest online retail market segment, worth around 10.1 billion pounds, and this growth is only set to continue. By 2020, fashion will represent 28.8 percent of UK online spend. With Klarna adding that 94 percent of retailers are investing in new technology to meet the needs of younger customers, opportunity for innovation in the sector has never been greater.
- Regina Henkel |
In 2016, Berlin company momox made a whopping 150 million euros in sales with used goods alone; an increase of 30 percent while profits rose by more than 50 percent. A considerable achievement for a re-commerce company that employs more than 1,000 people.
Second-hand articles are in vogue; a fact that was already known at momox 14 years ago when the company started with buying and selling used books. Till date, books take up the top position with a 60 percent share in sales. Other categories like movies, CDs, games and - since 2014 - clothes as well were added. Today, clothing is one of the company's most important growth drivers. And by now, momox is the largest supplier of used goods on Amazon and eBay in Germany and ranks second in the world as the most successful Amazon dealer.
The unique thing about momox: Whoever wants to sell used clothes via momox first enters them on the website and then immediately gets a quote for them for a price that momox would pay. Shipping is free and the amount mentioned will be automatically transferred to the seller's account. Close to 400 parcels with clothes reach the warehouse every day and have to be evaluated, photographed and prepared for momox' sales website ubup. About 350,000 articles are currently online on ubup. That is an enormous effort and to make it worth momox' while financially, every process has been perfected to the last detail, helped by specifically developed price algorithms. Momox CEO Heiner Kroke has spoken with Yankeemagazines about the the success story that is momox.
Mr. Kroke, currently, there is the sales platform momox, online shop ubup for fashion and medimops for media like books and movies. Why do you use different brand names?
Our customers come from both sides - buying and selling; momox is our brand on the buying side and ubup is our sales sites for fashion. The name ubup was the idea of our founder's wife.
You brought trading used clothes to a whole new level. How do you buy used articles on this scale and re-sell them successfully? What has been your biggest challenge?
That was certainly establishing the processes and scaling them up. We do not just have a simple website after all; we physically buy goods, have to unpack them, check their condition, determine the size and material and take pictures - after all, we cannot work with stock photos. Theat means we cannot photograph a pair of pants and then sell it 1000 times as the classic fashion stores do. Every single product has to be photographed individually. Then we have to store the goods of course and of course, ship them out again. With books, this is easier, as we can work with image databases. But for clothes, the customer wants a real photo of the real product the way it looks today.
Who checks the clothes?
We do that ourselves. We have more than 1,000 employees, of which 200 alone work with clothes. In our warehouses in Leipzig and Neuenhagen, close to Berlin, we have a storage capacity of approximately 76,000 square meters. We receive around 400 parcels with clothes daily, which have to be processed.
This is very time-consuming. How have you been able to build these processes?
Style was not the first category we started with but our fifth. That means over time, we developed standard processes that can be applied to virtually every product. Because we were already known for our book website, starting with a new category was not so difficult. That means we were in the lucky situation that we could offer our existing customers to buy their used clothing. That worked very well - we have over a million customers who sell regularly through us. However, after two weeks, we had to take the offer off the website because the demand was so huge. For the sales website ubup, we then used additional advertising to achieve a higher range of coverage - online of course but also on TV.
You do not only sell via your own website ubup. How many distribution channels do you have?
We have two distribution channels for clothes: Ebay and ubup. Everything else is too small. However, for books, we work with 15 distribution channels. Style is still lagging behind here but compared to our book business, this segement is much younger.
Can you tell us something about the development of sales in recent years?
In 2016, we generated 10 million euros in sales with clothing. Given that we have been offering the category for a few years only, this is a decent development.
The process for buying clothes has been set up extremely simply. Why don't you ask for much more information about the articles in the forefront, maybe then you could determine better prices?
We consciously ask very little when buying - we want to make it as easy as possible for our customers. Most of the information gathering work takes place on our end. We even measure sizes ourselves if we have doubts. Even colours and materials - we have to enter all this manually for each product. Thus, our processes are very cost intensive. That is why, above all, our core competence lies in setting up and scaling such processes cost-effectively. We receive 100,000 articles per day. We do not offer the highest price that can be achieved in the market - those who sell their clothes on Ebay may get a little more - but we make the work easier for the customers. Many like to sell; for others, it is simply too much work, too little money, and there is no assurance that the product will ever be sold.
Is there a company like yours abroad?
There is no role model abroad. Certainly in the area of e-commerce, but not in the area of re-commerce. Our business model has been developed, so to speak, by momox itself.
What companies do you compare yourself with then?
On the sales side, we compare ourselves with other e-commerce retailers. That's what our customers do. Maybe we cannot be as emotional, but we do not have to - the price is important. Photos with a model, for example, are not possible for cost reasons; also, we cannot offer consultation services.
In how much time does a product have to be sold?
There is not limited time frame but of course, our warehouse does not have an unlimited capacity. Our prices are based on algorithms and these calculate the potential that a particular article has to be sold again. About 50 percent of the clothes that we buy get re-sold within four weeks. Only about three percent of all articles do not get sold at all.
How exactly do you determine the price for a particular garment? Does its retail price play a role as well?
We do not take the retail price into account; that is not the deciding factor. We work with esperically developed, automated algorithms that determine the price at which we buy via a set of variables. Most importantly, the price is determined by supply and demand, i.e. how much stock of a particular article do we have in our warehouse and how strong is the demand for it when reselling it? Our own experiences, namily the prices on our website that were previously realised and the demand for an article on our own sales platforms are taken into account as well. For clothing, the brand is important as well and if it is a seasonal product. It is quite complicated! We have more than 10 million prices on our website, which get adjusted constantly.
What are the top brands when re-selling?
Basically everthing that we have in our own closets: Esprit, s.Oliver, Mexx, Zara, Boss, Adidas and Marc O’Polo.
How high is your profit margin?
It is a bit different for each article. When we assume a longer time for an article to be sold, we also assume a higher margin. On average, this is around 70 percent. This works because we are more cost efficient in many areas than a typical online retailer.
How high is your return rate?
It is not more than 50 percent as is the case for a typical retailer but between 20 to 30 percent.
Why is it so low?
Because of two factors: First, the price. That means, when someone buys something at a good price, he or she is more willing to keep it even if it does not meet their expectations 100 percent. Secondly, we offer a much smaller choice of comparable articles, even when it comes to size. Thus, a customer cannot order different colours and sizes for comparison and then return half of them.
Do you also buy remainders from brands and retailers?
No, but we cannot prevent smaller retailers from sending us their remainders. We probably would not recognise them as such. We want a healthy mix of merchandise and not something that does not get sold elsewhere.
But the used clothing that you get is generally 'out of fashion'.
The clothes that we buy are not always out of fashion. Some of them are not in favour any more or simply do not fit any more but still have the potential to be someone else's favourite.
What about collector's items? Old jeans and sneakers often fetch premium prices…
Let me take books as an example: If someone were to send us the Gutenberg Bible, we would not recognize it. The same is true for valuable jeans or sneakers. Basically, we want the latest merchandise, not grandfather's stuff.
In which countries do you operate?
For clothing, we are active only in Germany but overall, we operate in Germany, Austria, France and the UK. In addition, we sell in Canada and the United States but everything is shipped from Germany.
How do you explain momox' success?
Social trends certainly play an important role: Second-hand clothing is something positive and ecologically meaningful. Many people like that. Also, there is a general vintage trend in fashion and last but not least, momox offers a simply solution for making space for something new in one's closet. That is why we think that our business model could work in other countries as well.
What are your goals for the next few years?
To grow in the counries that we are already active in, to expand further internationally and to add more categories. We know how to buy and sell used articles!
Originally written by Regina Henkel for Yankeemagazines.de; translated by Simone Preuss
Photos: momox: warehouses in Leipzig and Neuenhagen / Heiner Kroke
- Vivian Hendriksz |
Topshop has expanded its denim sizing range to include half sizes as it unveils its debut Topshop and Topman denim campaign for Spring/Summer 2018.
Topshop will now offer half sizes in its denim range online, including W25, W27, W26 and W31 across its key denim styles Jamie, Joni, Mom, Straight and the Crop in black and blue washes. The size expansion comes as consumers continue to cite fit as one of the main issues when shopping for jeans. In addition to expanding its sizing range, Topshop has also launched three new jean styles for SS18, namely the New Boyfriend, Cropped Straight and Wide, with prices beginning at 36 pounds.
To mark its new denim push, Topshop and Topman teamed up for a dual-branded campaign which was shot by Oliver Hadlee Pearch. The new SS18 denim campaign also includes a short film, directed by Jonny Lu. Denim remains a key range for both Topshop and Topman, with Topshop selling one pair of jeans ever five seconds globally and Topman selling one pair of jeans every 18 seconds.
Photos: Courtesy of Topshop
- AFP |
Ahead of New York Style Week the industry is unveiling new professional guidelines to combat the kind of sexual harassment and assault allegations plaguing some of the world's most renowned fashion photographers.
Designers, show producers and photographers are asked to provide spaces "where models can change in privacy" at runway shows, according to recommendations sent by Council of Style Designers of America president Diane von Furstenberg.
The text, released Thursday, referred those who have "in any way felt threatened or unsafe" to resources compiled by the Model Alliance, which combats sexual harassment.
"The current climate has been marked by brave women and men and their revelations about an unacceptable culture in politics, sports and entertainment, as well as in fashion," von Furstenberg said in a message accompanying the guidelines.
The CFDA's move ahead of Monday's Style Week kick-off comes amid the #MeToo movement and the wave of sexual misconduct accusations that have accompanied it, targeting fashion figures including photographers Terry Richardson, Bruce Weber and Mario Testino.
All three once widely celebrated photographers are now barred from collaborating with Vogue and Vanity Fair publisher Conde Nast. Conde Nast recently unveiled a "Code of Conduct" that seeks to "safeguard the dignity and well-being" of workers.
It has namely banned the use of unaccompanied models younger than 18, and all shoots involving nudity or sexually suggestive poses must be approved by the subject in advance. Alcohol and illegal drugs also have been barred. The group extended the policy to its entire stable of publications around the world. (AFP)
- Kristopher Fraser |
New York-based fashion designer Reem Acra has gained worldwide fame for her luxurious collections worn by red carpet actresses and her whimsical bridal collections. While she's been a staple at New York Bridal Style Week for many years, next season she will be taking her show on the road and showing at Barcelona Bridal Style Week.
This year's Barcelona Bridal Style Week will take place from April 23 to 29. Her spring 2019 bridal collection will be showcased as part of Barcelona Bridal Night on April 25. "I'm excited to present my bridal spring collection 2019 in Barcelona , a place of beauty and culture like the women who embody my designs," said Acra.
Barcelona Bridal Style Week is preparing for its first major and most international edition to date. Style shows are planned by around 25 designers of bridal and evening wear. More than 300 exhibitors are expected, including 60 percent from abroad, presenting their 2019 collections to shoppers, media and guests from all over the world.photo: via PR Newswire
- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
Over the past few years fashion has seen a number of changes to the traditional fashion week, with some designer’s switching it up by going direct-to-consumer, combining women’s and men’s collections in one show, producing a fashion film over the catwalk, and some have even moving to a different fashion capital. With all these changes and the rapid-evolving media landscape, the Council of Style Designers of America (CFDA) has teamed up with Launchmetrics to examine the relevance and value presented by fashion catwalks in the current landscape.
According to research by Styleista from 2014, the average cost of a show is estimated to be around 200,000 dollars, whereas larger, more notable shows can cost upwards of more than 1 million dollars. With these events lasting only 10-15 minutes, it begs the question of whether the investment in a fashion show is worth it or not, and in today’s digital era, are they still a necessity or just “nice to have”?
For the ‘Front Row to Consumer’ report, Launchmetrics developed a unique proprietary audience-driven “Media Impact” algorithm that studied nearly 400 runway shows and presentations in New York, London, Paris and Milan, and measured their impact on all channels - online, social and print, and found that some brands received 800 percent more mentions in the online and social channels during fashion weeks than in the entire year, reinforcing the value of fashion week.
CFDA president and chief executive Stephen Kolb, said: “The fashion landscape continues to evolve. To help the industry navigate this change, the CFDA worked with Launchmetrics to identify and evaluate the impact the show audiences have. Although many designers are choosing new ways to show, fashion week remains one of the most effective ways for them to bring their collections to market.”
CFDA teams up with Launchmetrics to discover media impact values of catwalk shows
The report also notes the differences in the fashion weeks across four key media impact values (MIV) - consumer, media, influencer and owned, for instance consumers represent 42 percent of the media global impact in London, whereas in Paris it was 28.7 percent, while in Paris and Milan it was media leading the way with 32.4 percent and 28 percent respectively.
A more detail look at the designer impact of consumer voices is shown in its Alexander Wang case study that notes his approach to engaging fans at two public stops during New York Style Week helped his show receive over 12 million dollars in total MIV, while 10 million dollars MIV was generated through media and influencers, owned and consumer voices accounted for another one million dollars each. While consumer voices only accounts for 11 percent of the total MIV, it generated 90 percent of the total mentions in consumer-generated articles and posts, highlighting the brands power to captivate fans.
The five leading brands benefiting from consumer generated MIV were Coach, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Gucci and Calvin Klein, while Topshop was the highest ranked brand during London Style Week in sixth place.
In New York, it was the new voice of influencers that generated the most global media impact with 36.1 percent, of which the report notes that 71 percent were celebrities who are able to engage with a mass global audience. Launchmetrics notes while New York brands rely on macro-influencers to obtain an immediate and global impact, in European capitals it is found that collaborations with micro-influencers are more prevalent, recognising their ability to reach a more segmented and niche audience.
The growth of influencers whether a celebrity, reality TV star, model, journalist or blogger is one of the biggest changes to the fashion week landscape and one designer brand who leverage their followers was Calvin Klein, who generating 2.7 million dollars in MIV, 12 percent of its total MIV, by having a blend of micro, medium, macro and celebrity at its show. Basketball player Russell Westbrook generating the most MIV for the designer, posting 3 posts valued at over 250,000 dollars MIV.
Topping the leader board for MIV generated by influencers was Oscar de la Renta with 68 percent of its voice generating 8.1 million dollars. Closely followed by Alexander Wang, Alberta Ferretti, Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren.
However, the report also adds that traditional media still plays a key role and is fact still the most powerful voice for many brands such as Tom Ford and Fenty x Puma, where traditional media sources contribute approximately 23 percent to 32 percent of the global media impact generated during the four international fashion weeks, said Launchmetrics.
The report shows that Tom Ford successfully generated nearly 7 million dollars in MIV from traditional media, which accounted for 41 percent of the total MIV. However, when Launchmetrics looked closer at the media content it saw that celebrity influencers such as Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian and Cameron Dallas, were all huge drivers for the designer’s coverage, with Kim Kardashian alone mentioned in 600 online articles about Tom Ford’s show.
Tom Ford generates an average of 800 percent more online media impact during Style Week than any other time of the year.
Leading the pack of the top 40 brands who received their MIV generated by the media were London Style Week designers Christoper Kane and Erdem, closely followed by Paris Style Week designer houses Chloé, Saint Laurent and Céline. The report reveals that Christopher Kane generated 1.3 million dollars in MIV from media, accounting for 71 percent of its total voice.
When it comes to owned media, which despite generating the least global media value during the four fashion weeks, the report adds that it is still a very important voice for brands such as Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs, whose efforts in building powerful digital strategies have added great value to their brands.
According to Launchmetrics data, 44 percent of the Michael Kors’ social MIV came directly from its owned media, accounting for over 5 million dollars MIV with over 200 social posts that ranged from pre-show interviews with style icons to post-event street-style coverage, all aimed at helping to enhance the consumer experience. MIV generated through owned media was 5.3 million dollars, representing 33.9 percent, more than consumer, media and influencer.
The top five brands that leveraged their own media were Victoria Beckham, Roberto Cavalli, Michael Kors, Moschino, and Giorgio Armani.
Launchmetrics chief executive Michael Jais, explains: “After analysing over 400 shows in New York, London, Paris and Milan, we see that today’s modern fashion show has helped brands transform their narrative from a product-focused story into one that leverages four key voices to drive their brand equity to reach audiences in new ways.”
The report goes onto add: “In today’s rapidly changing environment there is no one-size-fits-all solution to which voices brands should engage and how to engage them. The concept of brand equity is more critical than ever and ensuring your brand is activating the right voices at the right time is essential to your success.
“As illustrated in this report, the four voices highlighted represent each stage of the customer journey and should be targeted with a specific goal in mind.”
With that in mind Launchmetrics has identified four stages of influence and the value each brings in this acquisition process, starting with ‘awareness’, as brand awareness is critical in acquiring new audiences and helping potential customers discover your brand.
Stage two is ‘authority’ with the report noting that influencers are one of the best allies in establishing a brand’s legitimacy, as their voice remains a strong influence in the buying decision of potential customers. This is followed up with ‘Amplification’, where brands rely on word of mouth, with the goal here being to create a viral effect with the right audience to build a stronger voice for the brand. The final stage is ‘Advocacy’, where a brand can leverage their owned media channels to speak directly to their fan base.
- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
British high street fashion brand Oasis has teamed up with colour experts, the Pantone Color Institute to launch an exclusive collection of spring/summer staples in a unique colour palette of “feel-good Pantone shades”.
The six colours chosen by Pantone are an array of sugary soft pastels and peachy pink tones, including a bold ‘Pink Lemonade’, a soft pink ‘Strawberry Cream’ and a lilac ‘Orchid Petal’ hue, as well as two blue colours, ‘Forget-me-Not’ and ‘Riviera’, and ‘Holiday’ a vibrant green.
The limited-edition collection features spring separates and accessories with hero pieces including the 2-piece double denim jacket and jeans in ‘Orchid Petal’, while colour-block knits combine feminine ‘Strawberry Cream’ tones with the refreshing and bold ‘Pink Lemonade’, and the refined ‘Forget-me-Not’ blue has been used to create a slogan tee.
The 18-piece collection also includes faux leather biker jackets and mini skirts, sweatshirts, backpacks, cord skirts, and knits and is available now nationwide at Oasis stores and online.
Prices range from 20 pounds for a T-shirt to 55 pounds for a faux leather jacket.
Images: courtesy of Oasis
- Yankeemagazines |
In January 2018, Berlin Style Week celebrated its 15th anniversary. At the beginning in 2003, nobody would have thought it possible that what started with Bread & Butter Berlin and Premium in then so-called dead fashion diaspora would establish itself as a fashion location. Yesterday's prophecies of doom got belied; Berlin is set. For now.
Despite the supposed success and the efforts by stakeholders of all stripes, the facts cannot be denied: One has to realise - without criticism, mind you - that Berlin is not what it wants to be. It took a while before I could get - and wanted to get - an idea of the last few days in Berlin, which is, of course, tinted by personal impressions and experiences. It took interactions with various industry players, a bit of distance and especially impartiality.
Berlin is mainstream. And that's great.
15 years have left their mark - on trade and thus on Berlin and its events. It is a fact: Berlin is mainstream. And that's a good thing! The different fairs reflect the German retail landscape, the median, the mainstream - is that bad? No, because it is what the local trade stands for and German retailers seek - much fashion centre, premium as an entry segment, a little bit of streetwear, a bit of heritage, a bit of fashion design. From department store via jeans shop to boutique, everything is represented. High-end? Negligible but most of the retailers do not venture here. The luxury segment meets at skilled - and traditionally established - fashion locations like Paris and Milan, as well as London and New York.
Paris… that exasperating topic! And because of the way the fashion calendar is, for many a reason to give Berlin a miss. A reason that was created by Berlin, taking a toll on visitor numbers, especially when the city's often praised sense of inspiration was the reason for the visit. But does one still find inspiration here? Walking through the streets and stores of the German capital, one has to ask: Where is that which once defined Berlin? The urban underground atmosphere ... gone! The image is hardly different from other German cities: Berlin, too, is growing up. Of course, Berlin is still worth a trip. The international fashion scene likes to frolic at Berghain but usually outside of the fashion calendar.
A German-speaking event
One can hear Italian here and there but – as various exhibitors confirm – 90 percent of all visitors come from a German-speaking country. Finding a hotel room on short notice? No problem. When looking for a room on 14th January, worried that I may find none, I could take my pick. On Tuesday evening, my cab driver – one of hundreds waiting for customers in front of Panorama's exhibition halls - complained about waiting for hours and suffering great losses. A similar scenario even at the most popular in-restaurants.
Is that all bad? Is is objectionable? Do we need Berlin? In July 2005, with only 20,000 visitors, Bread & Butter Berlin was called a failure. Today, these visitor numbers are sufficient because times have changed. Shrinking visitor numbers – as part of retail developments – are self-explanatory. One does not need to hide the fact that Berlin Style Week is turning into a German or German-speaking event; after all, Germany is still the most important market in Europe.
Sense of community and personal touch have disappeared
So, is all well? No, one thing is missing: a sense of community. And that was what Karl-Heinz Müller achieved at the time: Bread & Butter was known as an international class reunion, a firm appointment that one looked forward to – for comparing notes with colleagues, competitors and like-minded people from all over the world and yes, to go out and celebrate together as well. As much as Berlin was motivation then; today it is more of an obligation. That is quite a pity, but different times, different fashions.
Fact is, everything is in flux and this is not the end of the line yet. The new owners of Premium Exhibitions GmbH will influence the change significantly and every industry insider who can put two and two together should realise – apart from official press statements – that the face of Premium will be a different one in the foreseeable future. Simply, it won't have one any more. And thus, the last personal touch of the Berlin fashion circus will disappear; it will not be about curating any more but about selling. But: Every trend has its counter trend and what nobody wanted in the naughties is back in vogue now: fairs instead of events; profit instead of fun; prosecco instead of champagne and bockwurst instead of gourmet chefs. Those events will remain that attract enough visitors. Why not the Style Tech? This is where Germany as the leading nation in terms of technology and technic apparently scores.
The pitcher goes often to well but is broken at last. If Berlin Style Week is swimming against or with the tide remains to be seen. The stakeholders should take Joseph Beuys' words to heart: “The future that we want has to be invented otherwise we will get one that we do not want.” Let's just wait and see.
Danielle De Bie is part of the founding team of BREAD & BUTTER BERLIN. Today, she is working as a marketing & communication consultant and as a freelance journalist and translator. She also coaches retail, industry and media clients.
This article refelects the author's opinion and not necessarily that of Yankeemagazines.
Photos: Style HAB Runway Moods - Style Council Germany, Premium Exhibitions GmbH