The corona crisis has turned the entire fashion world upside down, fashion weeks have been canceled, Yves Saint Laurent, for example, has canceled the entire pre-collection, many labels are reducing their collections by 30 percent and the term “luxury” is coined very differently. The Berlin Fashion Week is also reacting and is moving this winter – to the Internet: the big shows are broadcast online. The whole hoopla with celebrities flown in is canceled because of the pandemic. But anyone can watch from home – even in sweatpants. Or with a towel turban on your head. The large catwalk will be opened this Monday at 6 p.m. by Belgian designer Tom Van Der Borght.
Usually hundreds of spectators sit on the benches. This time safety precautions apply. No audience, but corona tests for employees. The big catwalk is in the old power plant in Mitte. The videos will then be shown online. “We hope that this will result in an increase in digital viewers from the industry, but also from the fashion-interested public,” said Marcus Kurz from the organizer Nowadays. For designer Van Der Borght, the whole thing is an interesting format according to his own statements. He is planning a mixture of art performance and fashion show. “I think I’ve seen more fashion shows online than in real life,” said the 42-year-old. The good thing is that you can rewind the video if you liked something.
From Monday to Wednesday there are shows at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in the Kraftwerk: Marc Cain, Rebekka Ruétz and Kilian Kerner can be found there. Labels are also appearing online at the Berliner Salon, designer Anja Gockel wants to broadcast from the Hotel Adlon. Some other digital events are planned until Sunday.
However, some well-known names are missing – for example designer Marina Hoermanseder. The fact that she is not there with a gaudy show this time is largely due to the pandemic, says Hoermanseder. Anyone who knows her shows knows what kind of idea she has of such an event. But 800 show guests and an after-show party with 1500 guests are currently not possible “for good reason”, the young mother knows. In their view, online business has become even more important for the fashion industry in the pandemic. This is also what she wants to focus on. She notes: People order more often, but shopping baskets are getting smaller.
Kilian Kerner, who is celebrating his 20th stage anniversary this year, is happy despite everything: “I’m glad that I was able to and can just work again. Doing shows and showing what you’ve designed is a great feeling. I can also don’t hear that eternal ‘oh well, just online’ anymore. ” Kerner is sure that this season will be talked about for a long time to come. “ The fact that it is even possible to show your designs in these tough times means a huge effort: from the designers, the organizers and the city of Berlin.” After a period of silence, he’s busy again and is working on several projects, but: He’s missing hugs. “And the tennis court,” he laughs.
Well done in the Zoom meeting?
Many shops in Germany are currently closed. In terms of fashion, new questions arise: Is it okay, for example, to sit in the home office in pajamas? Van Der Borght thinks that you should wear what you like. He personally would choose unicorn pajamas.
Designer Lena Hoschek from Austria sees it similarly. “Thank God we no longer live in an age in which there is a certain compulsion to wear. The only question is how do you feel most comfortable”, says Hoschek. “I think that most of us are fed up with sweatpants and actually like to dress nicely when they have a conference.”
Kilian Kerner systematically mucked out over Christmas, he reveals: “I had over 60 jogging pants and countless hoodies.” The designer doesn’t believe in making yourself chic for yourself: “For the first time in my life, I hadn’t shaved in five weeks – I didn’t recognize myself.”
Lena Hoschek from Vienna sees the pandemic as a great opportunity for consumers to rethink. “Shop Local was the first initiative that really impressed me – when the consumer voluntarily supported local businesses and increasingly consumed local products,” she said, who has always produced in her home town of Vienna.
In the meantime she has decided not to present her collection in Berlin, but online at a different time. The very early appointment in January had been bothering her for years. She wants to give a first preview of new designs in February. But she misses Berlin: “I have always loved Berlin Fashion Week – the city, the hustle and bustle around Fashion Week – I will miss that very much.”
Michael Michalsky also sees Corona as an opportunity: “ The designers have to learn to deal with the possibilities of technology. The n they come up with completely new forms of product presentation,” explains Michalsky. He himself used avatars in his digital shows, such approaches are the “trend-setting”. On the other hand, fashion events, for which hundreds of people from all over the world come to, are a thing of the past, believes the 53-year-old: “This is ecological nonsense and no longer creative or contemporary.” His prognosis: some fashion weeks will disappear, “there are simply too many”. And the ones that are left? The y may only take place online or in VR space.
The fact that Frankfurt am Main is another city that could establish itself as a fashion location doesn’t make it any easier for Berlin. The Premium trade fair announced in the summer of 2020 that it would move to Frankfurt. Lena Hoschek believes that the many appointments – Munich, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Berlin – made it very difficult for buyers. “If I came from abroad, I wouldn’t know where to go. So I believe that everything will be more regional.”
Her colleague Hoermanseder wants to monitor the development of fashion events in Germany. The Austrian designer is a real fashion phenomenon. The 34-year-old Berliner by choice makes fashion in the look of orthopedic leather corsets and stars like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift or Kylie Jenner love her for it. “Lady Gaga was the first to discover me. I’m particularly proud of that.” And adds: “Because our strategic gaze is increasingly directed towards America, we do not want to have to choose Frankfurt or Berlin at the moment.”
How do you take it all? Keep making fashion, dreaming, highlighting details. “This is clearly an escape from reality,” says Kilian Kerner, “but how can you endure all of this without a dream world?” His colleague Michalsky is a bit more realistic: “Fashion trends are canceled for 2021, people are busy with other topics.”
If you want to sit in the front row – at home – go to the Mercedes Benz Fasion Week website.