The Future of Fashion in Berlin: Innovative, Creative, Sustainable

Bread & Butter Berlin Denim Religion Show

The Bread & Butter, the largest and most significant trade show in Berlin, has declared bankruptcy. Will this be the end of this legend, the end of an era? And if so, what will this mean for Berlins Fashion Week and Berlin as an international hub for fashion business?

The Bread & Butter trade show could be connected to a lot of things of the fashion industry that are in many ways unsustainable. A “You Only Live Once” philosophy. A Bigger Bolder Better attitude. The sky is the limit and on top of that limit there will be another party waiting for you. And the fair and its founder Karl-Heinz Müller were often said to be arrogant and megalomaniac. The extraordinary trade show was also the master of producing trash. And meanwhile, there are many fairs and shows in Berlin. So, who cares? The fair played its role for Berlin and its underlying paradigm of unlimited growth and consume is getting out of fashion..

But one thing made this fair different from all the others: a strong vision. It always wanted to be more then a trade show, it wanted to merge business with celebration, show with party. And with that, the Bread & Butter brought business to Berlin and helped the city to become an internationally renown fashion capital.

Probably the show was always a bit ahead of some of its exhibitors. If you read the interviews with Müller, he has been proclaiming a “choose quality, consume less” message for quite some years now, in example in 2009 he said to Exberliner: “I think a general trend is that people will consume less, with more awareness. They’ll look for authentic products. They will look for where it comes from, what it means, what history is behind it. A pair of really well-made jeans, for example, or really good leather shoes.”

Berlin is not only risking to loose its most relevant fashion trade show, and therewith also the significance of its fashion week, it is currently also risking to drain its creative identity. There is an increasing pressure on the cities creative scene. The answer should be a bold new vision on the cities creative future, and addressed with according actions and resources. A vision that nurtures bottom up innovations, supports its creative communities and local retail market, offers them gentrification-proof spaces to develop, and truly and thoroughly invest in sustainable solutions and initiatives in the city.

Now is the time to discuss what fashion business in Berlin should be about. According to me, that future should be about those three elements: innovation, creativity and sustainability. That mixture is what makes Berlin interesting and dynamic, and will also play an ever increasing role in the fashion business.

If there is not a vision, there will not be a future. As a protest against gentrification, friends of the streetartist BLU recently painted over his piece in Berlin Kreuzberg with black paint. Sometimes you need to paint something over to make space for new things. Catharsis. Let the new things be good and the visions bold.

And maybe, there will be a phoenix rising..

blu black

Photos: Bread & Butter Denim Religion Show; Blu street art piece painted over with black paint

Banksy’s ironic attacks on consumer culture

banksy-streetart-london-lifestyle

Recently, a few new, consume-critical works by the famous street-artist Banksy popped up in the streets. With a mix of smooth irony and dark sarcasm, he’s irritating the consumer masses and those who are persuading them.. “Sorry, the lifestyle that you ordered is currently out of stock”.

Meanwhile, Banksy has become one of the most popular contemporary artists, his works are sold for hundred thousands of euros and his stencil icons used or copied in advertising, fashion and trend forecast blogs.

We’re living in a time where critical consumerism is an integral part of an urban intellectual creative socially-aware hipster lifestyle in which we like a consumer-bashing Banksy artwork on facebook and next day go shopping some cool new must-have-trousers. Where we support #occupywallstreet with our tweets and meanwhile keep our money flowing at the same old banks (yes, you can change that). Also, a time where we’re dreaming of a post-consumer-era where smart consumers reclaim power over their products again.

Maybe Banksy actually means the global mind of crisis is pushing some of the most posh swimming-pool-on-my-rooftop lifestyles to be out, out, out…

Or maybe he just provoked: “even my well-receipted radical punk-ass got sold on auctions, but as long as walls eat my graffiti people buy my art and I keep getting more famous.” It’s nothing more then the best pop-art artists like Andy Warhol have created us: a post-consumer consumer-culture built on it’s own ironic icons. That’s in line with the Kate Moss portrait by Banksy in Warhol-style. And it might just be in your digital shopping wagon tomorrow!

Happy Christmas shopping!

Via: Artschoolvets via Highsnobiety via Wooster.

More about Banksy on wikipedia, or just go shopping.

This article was earlier published on Beyond Berlin.