Last week up to 70,000 visitors gathered in Berlin for the thirteenth edition of the bi-annual Berlin Fashion Week. Catering to a mix of different tastes, designers showcased their Autumn/Winter 2020/21 collections at various locations around Berlin. Besides the catwalk shows, fashion lovers were able to indulge in trade fairs and conferences. Throughout the week, it came as no surprise that sustainability was a pivotal conversational issue. After attending many different shows, Œ have chosen a selection of our favourites from the week.
Although still young, Johannesburg born Rich Mnisi has already been very successful. Back in 2014, he was awarded ‘Young Designer of the Year’ by Africa Fashion International. Since then, Mnisi has spread his wings in the international field with both his fashion and furniture collections. For the MBFW Mnisi really brought the energy to the catwalk with his collection Alkebulan. As Mnisi states: “Alkebulan is the oldest name for Africa, here we reimagine our land free of pain and call to Mother to protect us”. Watching the models bounce down the runway to Djembe drums whilst wearing tailored pieces rich in bright hues and animal prints, was like being on a fashion safari. With such a collection, Mnisi has mastered the symbiosis of pop culture and his traditional African heritage.
Viviers is exemplary of how sustainable fashion should be done. South African founder Lezanne Viviers takes pride in the ethical production of Vivier’s luxury garments. Choices such as individually hand-cutting their garments and reusing off-cut fabrics to create new items are just some of the ways Viviers are actively engaging in revolutionising the world of fashion. Despite the urgent need for the fashion industry to start thinking more ethically, it is often hard to find designers who are competent and willing to find the balance between producing high-quality pieces and engaging in sustainable practices. Considering that the brand only launched in April 2019, the collection was very impressive. On the catwalk, the Viviers garments emanated an air of regality whilst also channeling radical engagement with the senses. Each piece had its own personality and story, no one similar to the other.
Neo.Fashion. certainly delivered with its three Best Graduates’ shows. Accompanied by a Live Orchestra and performers, the exhibition of the best Bachelor collections from nine of Germany’s leading art schools was far from boring. Every collection was unique and personal to the individual student, which kept the viewing experience continually enthralling. Every time a new designer flashed up on the screen the crowd was on the edge of their seat, unsure what to expect. After witnessing the eclectic designs from the front row, it is safe to say that the German fashion world has a lot of promising talent coming it’s way.
The three shows represented the following German schools: HAW Hamburg, Fakultät Angewandte Kunst Schneeberg, Hochschule Hannover, Hochschule für Künste Bremen, Hochschule Reutlingen, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin, Fachhochschule Bielefeld, Lette Verein Berlin, and Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle.
Œ has selected a handful of snaps from backstage to give a glimpse into the rich tapestry of talent that was on display. The Neo Fashion booklet provides more detailed information on individuals and their collections.
All photos in this article by Peter E. Reiche.