It is the 6th of September 2021. It is the first day of Berlin Fashion Week. It is the end of summer and the sun beams down as people queue to enter Kraftwerk Berlin. However, when entering the Kraftwerk, it takes a moment to adapt and reorientate. From the inside, Kraftwerk Berlin has large, industrial, concrete walls, the light is dimmed, and sinister music is playing. What once used to be the thermal power station of east Berlin is now the venue of a group exhibition of 35 German Designers in the fields of fashion, accessories, and jewellery. The installation is hosted by Der Berliner Salon, who seeks to trigger discourse on sustainability, circularity and transparency in the fashion industry and the influential role German designers can play in it. Some of which we were able to meet.
The name of the recent collection “Petalouda”, of the luxury label Rianna + Nina reveals what the collection is all about. “Petalouda” is the Greek word for butterfly. Similar to butterflies, Rianna + Nina’s trademarks are vivid colour splashes and free-flowing, layered designs that represent freedom and liveliness. Unlike other labels, Rianna + Nina aims to set a statement against our current throwaway society, by creating timeless fashion. Their collections are not made for specific seasons and can be combined with previous collections that remain purchasable.
Besides, the Hippie chic brand has the reusage of fabrics truly at heart. Co-founder Rianna Kounou, also known as the “Queen of Vintage” is the creative mind behind the brand. All designs are made from vintage fabrics that Rianna sources from all over the world, during treasure hunts at flea markets or through associates. All garments are produced in Berlin and only made when ordered to avoid overproduction. Currently, Rianna + Nina’s designs are globally represented in more than 35 stores and online. However, participating at the Berliner Salon is for the label a great way to support the German fashion industry’s way to a more sustainable future.
Anna Auras grew up near Lake Constance. Being frequently surrounded by water served as inspiration for her fine jewellery designs. Such as water her designs are characterised by flowing and seemingly constant moving shapes. Anna Auras is a certified goldsmith and produces all her designs through handcraft in her in-house workshop. When it comes to materials and suppliers, Anna Auras lays emphasis on transparency. She does not only make sure that materials are ethically sourced but also recycled, by choosing regional suppliers that are certified by the “Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC)”. This spring she launched an online shop. Through participating at der Berliner Salon, she hopes to increase her range of publicity, in order to be able to set up a concept store in the future.
Vickermann und Stoya is a custom-made shoe label which encourages its customers to come up with design ideas themselves. The label has no collections, as each pair of shoes is one of a kind and fits only the customer, which has a conspicuous resemblance with the Cinderella fairy-tale. Each shoe pair is bespoke, handmade by among others orthopaedic specialists and take approximate 80 working hours. Customers usually receive their shoe pair in about 2 months’ time. At Vickermann und Stoya each shoe pair is seen as an artwork that is supposed to last a life long. The label takes a more sustainable approach, by offering courses to teach customers how to take care of their shoes. In addition, the label founded the shoe repair service start-up “Shoe-doc”. Besides, Vickermann und Stoya produces all shoes in their manufactory in Baden-Baden and uses only materials that are sourced in Europe and value high transparency in terms of their used materials. The brand utilizes leather. However, they are currently considering the implementation of vegan leather. The brand distinguishes itself from others through its individual customer service Customers are always welcomed to visit the manufactory and see the production conditions for themselves. Many customers have been loyal since the shoe label was founded in 2005. So far, the Vickermann und Stoya have only been selling their shoes in Germany but will soon be expanding to Switzerland. For them being part of the group exhibition of the Berliner Salon is a chance to spark the same passion for detail and quality in others.
Karen Jessen represents at der Berliner Salon among others, complex tied robes as a top and a black fringe leather jacket. Her designs stand out through an artistic take on the “all black everything” youth culture, which was inspired by the contemporary Berlin club scene. Karen Jessen has always been interested in implementing sustainability in the fashion industry. In 2014 she won “The EcoChic Design Award” for her sustainable collection. Besides she promotes a more sustainable fashion industry by collaborating with big names, such as Levi’s and Vogue. Karen Jessen’s sets a high standard, by solely using materials that are a result of upcycling processes and that were produced, by means of zero waste pattern cutting, which avoids fabric waste. For her, being part of der Berliner Salon’s installation is not just a great way to spread the message but also an honour.
Offt is a label that was created by Ashley Marc Hovelle and inspired by his own minimalist wardrobe. The label is based on ten essential clothing categories that are supposed to be worn often as the brand name implies. This concept is not just aiming to safe time when getting dressed, but also to enhance mindful consumption of clothes and to work in accordance with nature. Each clothing piece is made of sustainable fabrics, such as vegan silk, recycled polyester, there signature fabric waffle pique and natural denim that is produced with rain water that saves 6000 litres water per produced item, such as a jeans or jacket. Besides offt relinquishes from using of artificial dies or colours. Moreover, the label produces their fashion at a certified manufactory in Portugal and emphasises ethical and fairtrade conditions within the supply chains of the fashion industry. Offt clothes are available internationally at selected stores and at the Oderberger straße in Berlin. For Offt being part of der Berliner Salon enables valuable exchange between designers and enhances sustainable awareness in Germany’s fashion industry.