If you look at the photos and videos from the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which took place from January 18 to 20, 2021, nothing unusual can be seen at first glance: brilliant spotlights, discussions with fashion experts and models walking on catwalks.
The only thing missing is the audience.
No guests, no press, no VIPs - insofar as you can even talk about them at a German fashion week.
The corona pandemic still determines everyday life, including the annual fashion circus in the capital.
Nevertheless, the Fashion Week in Berlin managed to digitally surprise its “visitors” with some highlights.
And that means something, because the concept of the Berlin Fashion Week has long been criticized for not convincing big brands and for being of little relevance in an international comparison.
When it became known that the Premium fashion fair, which previously took place at the same time as the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week shows, would move to Frankfurt am Main from July 2021, the end of Berlin was predicted as a fashion location.
Is Fashion Week over?
With the need for digital offerings, the initiators have also reconsidered their focus.
They relied on what German fashion is known for: innovation and entrepreneurship.
There was a wide range of discussion rounds, especially on the topic of sustainability, and a selection of really new, aspiring designers.
Instead of rushing from event to event in the sleet of Berlin and still missing some shows because they would have overlapped another one, this year all the shows and panels could be followed comfortably from the sofa - everyone had their own front row -Place.
Actually quite pleasant!
And these were our highlights:
Most surprising moment
Model daughter Leni Klum makes her catwalk debut in the Berlin Salon fashion film
Source: Berliner Salon / MBFW Berlin
There was always one highlight at the past Berlin Fashion Weeks: the Berlin Salon.
It was seen by many as the “showcase of the fashion industry”.
And it was a kiss-kiss marathon of the fashion scene: designers, editors and buyers from Germany gathered for one afternoon in Berlin's Kronprinzenpalais.
In summer 2019 it was suddenly over - the salon was deleted from the program.
But now the salon is experiencing a renaissance: it returned as a digital format in winter 2021.
And to compensate for the lack of personal exchange, the organizers, including the outgoing Vogue editor-in-chief Christiane Arp, came up with a surprise.
Newcomer Leni Klum was chosen as the only model for the almost five-minute fashion film - in which collection items by 35 German designers from the fields of fashion, jewelry and accessories were presented.
The 16-year-old proved on the Berlin catwalk that she learned a lot from her mother Heidi Klum.
In addition to well-known labels such as Lala Berlin or Dawid Tomaszewski, who presented their collections designed during the pandemic to Klum, interesting young designers could also be discovered in the traditional group exhibition of the salon.
For example Michael Sontag or Esther Perbandt, who incidentally won Heidi Klum's designer casting show “Making the Cut” in the USA at the beginning of 2020.
Most extravagant show
Not only the fashion, but also the performance of Tom Van Der Borght's show was worth seeing
Source: Getty Images for MBFW / Andreas Rentz
During the Tom Van Der Borght show, you felt for a brief moment as if raves were allowed again and as if the Burning Man and Christopher Street Day festivals had been given a uniform uniform.
This is by no means meant to be disrespectful, because the collection by the Belgian designer, with which the digital Berlin Fashion Week was opened, was a mood-lifting delight for the fashion eye bored by lockdown.
So exactly what you urgently need in these gray months to be reminded that there will also be life after the pandemic.
This view of the future was not only reflected in the clothing, but also in the way they were manufactured.
Because Van Der Borght relies exclusively on sustainable materials and takes "upcycling" to a new level.
In addition to scraps of rope, plastic tubes and sequins, the models wore innovative creations made from scraps of wool and imitation fur made from vegetable fibers to make their faces glittery.
In short: sustainability and optimism were the focus of this show.
Most exciting facts
What is the current situation with the cultural and economic power of “fashion”?
The digital event “Status of German Fashion” got to the bottom of this question.
As part of this, the Fashion Council Germany, with the support of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, presented an extensive study on the subject on Monday afternoon.
Their results made it clear what a significant part the fashion industry contributes to the German economy.
Bills showed that the fashion industry contributed a total of 66 billion euros to German GDP in 2019.
It is also estimated that it secured almost 1.3 million jobs in Germany in 2019 and that the fashion industry will generate tax revenues of 36 billion euros in 2019.
According to this study, the strengths of the German fashion industry lie particularly in its international reputation: it stands for quality, reliability and value for money worldwide.
Furthermore, they are known for technologically advanced approaches, for technical textiles and modern production facilities.
Despite this excellent reputation, people are still not noticed enough around the world.
In contrast to other countries, Germany lacks a tradition of avant-garde design.
Germany's strength as a producer of quality goods and modern technical textiles certainly offer opportunities - especially when it comes to customers' requests for sustainability.
And what will happen in the future?
We spoke about this question with one of the most important protagonists of Berlin Fashion Week, Marina Hoermanseder.
The Austrian designer has been showing her collections in the capital for years, her shows are always eagerly awaited - and not just because of the big goodie bags.
In an interview, Hoermanseder told us that she absolutely wanted to hold onto classic fashion shows.
“I'm in the mood for events,” she said on the phone, after all, digital concepts can be implemented all year round.
Here you can read what Hoermanseder thinks about the move of the Premium fashion fair to Frankfurt am Main and why it will be drawn even more to the USA this year: