“Berlin is history for Neonyt, Premium and Seek” | Interview with Olaf Schmidt, Messe Frankfurt


Frankfurt Fashion Week will be making its debut in summer 2021, leaving behind Berlin Fashion Week. The two leading tradeshow organisers –Messe Frankfurt and Premium Group– joined forces to launch this new event. Why do they move? How are they going to do it? What's happening to Berlin Fashion Week? How sustainable is going to be the new event? Luxiders Magazine interviews Olaf Schmidt, Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies, Messe Frankfurt, who explains more about this "Unexpected Unveiling." 



Why did Premium Exhibitions and Neonyt decide to move from Berlin to Frankfurt?

Premium Group and Messe Frankfurt have been working together for many years now. Together we wanted to create something new and unexpected. Frankfurt is the perfect location for that. Frankfurt has the most cosmopolitan and international community in Germany. The city has a large catchment area and an excellent international reputation as a design- and culture metropolis. The Messe Frankfurt with its 600.000 square meters fairground, the central position and the excellent infrastructure of the city provide unique possibilities for an event like this. Small distances connect the fairground with the city which is exceptional for trade fair location. We think that Frankfurt is the right place for this new project.


Is this a long term decision? Does it contemplate the possibility of an itinerary Fashion Week Berlin-Frankfurt or even a well come back to Berlin?

We are planning the Frankfurt Fashion Week of course in Frankfurt. Therefor Berlin is history for Neonyt, Premium and Seek.


In case of Neonyt is understandable, as the show belongs to Messe Frankfurt and it can use in-house real estate facilities in Frankfurt. But what does FFM offer Premium and Seek to change the exhibition location?

Our aim is to create a Frankfurt Fashion Week ecosystem for tradeshows, conferences, runway shows and events. The industry demands shorter distances and more connection – Frankfurt is providing that. We will be connecting the fairs Premium, Seek, Neonyt and the conferences FashionTech and FashionSustain. This way we will bring the industry closer together. We have enough space to welcome the international fashion- and design-community and we are looking forward to host the community starting next summer.



What about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin or Panorama, will they move to Frankfurt too?

The Panorama is insolvent; We are currently under discussion with different partners and potential sponsors. We will be announcing more information in the next few weeks.


Where are the fashion fairs going to be located? Will they share same location at Messe Frankfurt Exhibition Center?

The fairs, conferences and events will be located at the fairgrounds of Messe Frankfurt, as well as in the city itself. We are planning to include the whole city for the Frankfurt Fashion Week: local restaurants, hotels, clubs, museums, festivals and retailer will be integrated.


Being Frankfurt Fashion Week propriety of Messe Frankfurt, who will be the director of Frankfurt Fashion Week?

We have an advisory board with Messe Frankfurt, Premium Group, Stadt Frankfurt am Main and Federal State of Hesse involved. Further partners and also the structure will be announced soon.


Sustainability and Digitalisation will be the overarching themes of Frankfurt Fashion Week, can you give us more details on the Sustainability theme applied to the Event?

We want to make sustainable innovations and business models accessible to a wide market. We want to be part of the change towards a more sustainable fashion industry. We offer state-of-the-art companies a stage and support the development of those who are still in the starting blocks. In order to make it as relevant as possible for the industry, we’ve created the pillars of “Applied Sustainability” and “Applied Digitization”.



In view of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, Neonyt Berlin SS2020 has been cancelled. What about Neonyt AW2021/22, is it going to be held at the beginning of next year as usual? In Berlin?

The health of everyone involved in the Neonyt is our first priority, so we will have to wait and see how COVID-19 is developing in the next few weeks and months. We are optimistic to hold the Neonyt in January 2021 in Berlin. We are hoping to see and meet everyone there in winter!


"We are optimistic to hold the Neonyt in January 2021 in Berlin. We are hoping to see and meet everyone there in winter!" – says the Vice President Textiles & Textile Technologies, Messe Frankfurt.



Just to end, as one of the most important fair-trades worldwide, what means Covid-19 to Messe Frankfurt Business / in how far it changed the business scope/perspective of Messe Frankfurt?

The current situation is having a massive effect on us internationally. We were already experiencing the initial impact during the spring fairs in Frankfurt. As a consequence Messe Frankfurt has not held any more fairs. This also applies to our world-wide textile fairs, where we have been particularly affected at an international level. There have been, or are coming, postponements in the USA, Argentina, South Africa, Russia, India, Japan and China. An unprecedented challenge for us. We are faced with serious losses of revenue.

But Messe Frankfurt, with its nearly 800 year history, and as one of the world's leading trade-fair companies, is in a stable position and can cope with this situation, which is new to all of us. Our teams are working from home. We remain available for our customers and are planning our events, like Neonyt, Heimtextil, Techtextil or Texprocess in 2021. At the same time, we are developing a new safety and hygiene concept that will ensure that all our events run safely. Our first textile fair after the lockdown will take place in China: Intertextile Shenzhen Apparel Fabrics in Mid-July.