Over the past twelve months, Œ has applauded Berlin’s best graduate shows and had the pleasure of catching up with some the most promising labels. As we begin the year, we would like to take some time to celebrate the collections that have graced the Berlin Fashion scene. A bold and bright editorial captures pieces from nine promising talents, forming our “Class of 2018”. We had a chat with them to learn about their accomplishments and the challenges they face.
Often fashion designers are perceived to have glamorous careers and to be surrounded by beautiful people. But is this really the case? Few know that our saturated fashion industry often relies on young designers working for little or free. Most interns working for fashion brands have ambitions of their own, but the financial pressure on emerging brands makes it hard to brake the chain. How do young brands and designers put up with these dynamics in the industry?
Weisenßee MA graduate Regina Weber, has interned for the likes of Vladimir Karaleev and Goetze . Reminiscing her time with these designer, Weber exudes positivity. “They really taught me and gave me the possibility to learn”. And we are pleased to discover that, while exploiting young designers might still be a popular vice among leading forces this was not the case of these Berlin brands, allowing Weber to grow and develop into the promising designer she is today.
“Know their values and not take fashion too seriously”
Upon the birth of her first child, fellow MA graduateLina Phyllis Falkner, undertook an internship in Antwerp “moving my whole little family out there”. Once her second child was born in 2016, Lina embarked on her MA, recalling her collection to be the highlight of 2017. Aware of the fashion industry’s ongoing issues and having been confronted with them, she advises young designers to “know their values and not take fashion too seriously”.
“Berlin is very inspirational for big fashion houses, it’ an impactful city”
Traditionally, fashion is associated with capitals such as Paris London, and Milan. How does Berlin compare? Weber, looks back at her time with Berlin brand Goetze and recalls “Berlin is very inspirational for big fashion houses, it’s an impactful city”. A hub of creativity and residence for designers and artists. However, having lived in Japan and France, this young designer is set to return to Paris later in 2018 to start her career.
“It is important not to surrender, not to copy others and to think for yourself.”
Denis, the designer behind Berlin label TASKIN believes that it’s the “spirit” of the city that gives designers freedom, relieving competitiveness among artists. However, this apparently appealing environment doesn’t necessarily ensure success. The influx “attracts a ton of creative people, making it harder to stand out”. He later adds “As a designer you must consider that you may be contributing to a very harmful industry. It is important not to surrender, not to copy others, and to think for yourself.” Denis, still an undergraduate, is developing his brand, with the aim to “bring something new and beautiful into menswear”.
On the other hand, recent BA graduate Maria Miottke claims that “there is no real buying power to support designers in this city, which pressures them to seek it elsewhere”. Maria, however, is not intimidated, and is planning the launch of her label, and first out-of-school-collection in 2018. She hopes others will enjoy her garments as much as she enjoys creating them.
The spectrum of forward thinking designers and brands currently residing in Berlin is ever flourishing. However, to truly appreciate these designers we must be supportive of a healthier fashion environment. Falkner summarizes that designers today must be “extremely flexible, transportable, and willing to work for little”. Despite Falkner’s analysis, things might be changing for the better. Over the past years, we have witnessed the improvement of many aspects of the fashion industry, most recently the implementation of better casting conditions for models. However, there is still work to be done! Here at Œ we’d like to start by congratulating our “Class of 2018”, celebrating their hard work, and contribution to the Berlin fashion scene. We can’t wait to see what this brand new year will bring!