Step into Berlin’s Kronprinzenpalais and you forget the darkness and the drizzle on a January afternoon in the German capital. Inside you find the most stylish and sustainable brands that the Berlin Fashion Week has to offer – some 30 high-end ethical fashion, footwear and accessories labels carefully selected by the curators of the Greenshowroom.
This year, the Greenshowroom – and its sister platform Ethical Fashion Show Berlin – featured designers from Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK who presented their creations to the discerning eye of fashion heavyweights who were in town for the Berlin Fashion Week. Combined, the two fairs are Europe’s biggest eco-fashion event.
The Greenshowroom défilé on 15 January was standing room only, with mandatory front row glitterati and tabloid press. 18 brands were on show, accompanied by haunting vocals of P.H.I.A., with another dozen or so taking part in the Dutch eco design catwalk later on.
While one was spoilt for choice, the 10 brands that stood out for me were Birthday Suits, Luxaa, Silke Handley, Somyso, Cocccon, Deepmello, Kaethe Maerz, Traced Good, Christian Lagerwaard and Johanna Riplinger.
I loved pastels used for the 2014/2015 AW collection by several designers – from lemon yellow to delicate pistachio and from powder blue to hushed lavender hues. As Johanna Riplinger told me, her inspiration for the collection was a winter sunset she saw out of the window of her car while driving from Paris to Berlin.
A major discovery for me was the youthful, vibrant and bold Dutch fashion which was present in force at this year’s show. In particular, Traced Good – founded by young Amsterdam-based designer Ester Leontine Wiersma who sources her cashmere and suede from small family-run workshops in Nepal and India – is one to watch.
If you believe that fashion is a form of wearable art, then the Leipzig-based label Birthday Suits by Louise Walleneit is one for you. Her pieces – from a coat that has wings to a dress that can be worn in six different ways – would not be out of place at a modern art installation. Kaethe Maerz is another German designer whose quirky lines and bold accessories would make you stand out from the crowd.
Overall, Greenshowroom and Ethical Fashion Show organizers can be proud of the 2014 edition: not only did they put ethical fashion firmly on the Berlin Fashion Week calendar, but they also made great strides in positioning Berlin as the European – and perhaps even global – green fashion capital.
For the Greenshowroom co-founder Magdalena Schaffrin, however, the ultimate goal is not to have a separate sustainable fashion tradeshow, but to make sustainability an integral part of mainstream fashion events. Nonetheless, the Greenshowroom team has certainly succeeded in making the 2014 Berlin Fashion Week a bigger, bolder and better example of green-and-glam fashion.