Text and photography by Cherie Birkner
What now is Sustainable Fashion Matterz began one year ago, during the Berlin Fashion Week in January 2017. Before I got started with the portraits I had no Idea how far sustainable fashion had come, and that there actually are already so many solutions to fast fashion for consumers to choose from.
One year later, it seems sustainable fashion has exploded all over Berlin's Fashion Week! It is no longer just the Green Showroom & Ethical Fashion Show exhibiting sustainable brands, but in fact most trade shows now have their own section for sustainable brands.
Panorama premiered XOOM as their new sustainable clothing section. SEEK, which is part of PREMIUM, is secretly establishing itself as a trade show to visit for sustainable brands like Noumenon, Cossac, Mud Jeans, Eco Alf or Veja. Then there is Selvedge Run, established in 2015, which looks for sustainability in their exhibiting brands, and has a listing of criteria for this, but there are no clear guidelines which must be fulfilled: "each brand will be able to relate to one or more of the points". In my opinion relate should be replaced with fulfil, because relate means as much as likes the idea of. Still they get a thumbs up for putting an emphasis on products which are intended to go beyond trend due to timeless designs, and exceptional high quality, something SEEK is still tiptoeing around (at least officially).
Oh, but it's not only the shows and fairs who are striving towards a more sustainable fashion industry, the Swedish embassy hosted a conference about sustainable textile/fibre innovations and the Dutch embassy teamed up with inspired and proudly presented the up and coming sustainable brands from the Netherlands.
LIA & LYDIA / MYRKA STUDIOS
Lia Bernard and Lydia Hersberger are the ones showing us that it is possible to found a sustainable fashion label whilst studying(!) and without a big bank account #crowdfunding. Lydia is not only taking the photos for the brand, but is also known for being amazing behind the lens at the Fashionchangers X prePEEK events. See their favourite outfits with their new collection photographed by ©️Lydia Hersberger.
"Fashion Week was extremely exciting for us as it was the first time we presented a whole new collection. It was a definite highlight seeing all the reactions and receiving direct feedback from the community. At the Fashionchangers X prePEEK event we were also able to see how people styled our SS18 pieces, which is always very inspiring. Once again we are extremely happy to be part of such a strong community." - Lia & Lydia
GUSTAV / RISE
At the FASHIONSUSTAIN conference and at the Swedish Embassy you could see Gustav Sandin Albertsson presenting the results of his research at RISE, where as a team he has successfully developed a process to recycle mixed fibers (cotton and polyester). The project is funded by Mystra Future Fashion, where you can read up on the Blend. Re: wind process.
Gustav was especially delighted to see the extensive interest in their research, not only questions from the audience but also the crowd was notably larger than expected. At the Embassy you could not only see a full conference room, but also a filled foyer, where those who didn't manage to score a seat could follow the talk in a live stream. One of his personal highlights was the presentation by Matteo Ward from Wrad & Alice Fortuna from Perpetua We Had To Invent It who have created circular solutions to materials which would otherwise be waste.
SYLVIE / MISS-INTERPRETED
"Apart from a great overview of incredibly beautiful sustainable brands and lovely presentations I have to say that the cheesy truth is: my personal highlight was the community. When I first started getting interested in sustainability and fair fashion I never thought I would end up in a room with so many lovely people who are not only terribly beautiful but also incredibly smart.
Seeing what I like to call my Instagram-bubble - which is essentially an utopia of how I want the world to be: full of smart, empowered people, no place for racism and intolerance and lots of kittens and avocados - in real life was beyond inspiring, empowering and fantastic. I met some bloggers for the first time in my life and it honestly felt like we were friends from kindergarten."
"What Berlin Fair Fashion Week taught me? First: Spontaneous trips are the best. Even if you are stuck in a snowstorm for 5 hours on the way there. Second: This community is the best - online and offline. Third: Fair Fashion is getting more diverse, more creative and more sexy from day to day. There is a brand for outdoor-lovers, for business-ladies and for minimalists. "I am afraid that I won't find a fair fashion piece that I really like" is not an excuse any more. But a growing range of brands also means that we have to continue not being afraid to challenge brand's philosophies, manufacturing and processes in order to extract the ones that deeply care about sustainability, the environment and the consumer."
Read more about her personal Fashion Week experience. (German text)
VERENA / MY GREEN CLOSET
This wonder woman has been educating and discussing sustainable fashion on her Youtube channel since 2014! She likes to take that second look at things and take sustainability to the next level. Just using organic cotton is not enough for this one to be convinced. Verena also has one of the largest and well organized directories for sustainable fashion and textiles we have come across so far, ranging from new to second hand and re-worked.
"Whenever I visit the Ethical Fashion Show and Green Showroom I feel so thankful to be part of such a passionate community. Conscious fashion is about so much more than just the clothes - everyone cares about and is trying to help create a better industry. I loved learning about garment recycling initiatives. It was really interesting to talk with Circular.Fashion about how they work with designers and brands to help them with cradle-to-cradle design and production. Resources and textile waste are both huge problems and I think the future of sustainable fashion has to address the whole clothing life-cycle. It's wonderful to see a circular focus and brands providing solutions and systems for recovering textiles, recycling, and reducing waste. This industry can be tough, but seeing the collections and meeting so many people in this space is energizing, inspiring, and gives me hope for the future of fashion." Watch her Fashion Week vlog here!
UN PETIT SOURIRE SLOWS DOWN
Franzi shows you what life is like when you only buy second hand. Apart from that she's into minimizing her consume, so every time she buys something new, an old thing has to go, here favourite platform to do this is Kleiderkreisel.
"A highlight for me definitely was the combination of showrooms, the two conferences FASHION TECH & FASHION SUSTAIN and a lot of speeches on different topics concerning the industry. The "new innovation" speech where Lenzing presented refibra, and the bsi speech on microfibers were my favorite: short and informative! It was my first time there so I learned a lot about how huge and amazing this community of like minded people is. And as a textile engineer I learned that the consumer needs a lot more information and knowledge to really consume consciously and slow. For example one should not blindly trust certifications, labels and materials. Recycling does not means sustainable all the time, wool is more than just a shunned non- vegan fiber, öko tex isn't a very transparent certification, fair fashion also needs slow fashion - is it sustainable to wear an all fair everything look? During Green Showroom I noticed more than ever that we are still consuming too much, justified through certificates and labels." Visit Franzi's blog!
MARISA / MY FAIR LADIES
Marisa stands up for environmental protection. Since 2015 she blogs about her journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. Her highlight: the Fashion Changer Lounge with the pre Peek where she discovered new brand for herself and see how big the community that engages with fair fashion has already become.. Walking through Kraftwerk her thoughts were somewhat like "this doesn't even look like an "eco" fashion show any more"! Check her instagram feed for the fair fashion outfits she put together.
In the video you can see all brands that caught my attention at the Green Showroom & Ethical Fashion Show. It's 'just' the full instastorie - still working on upgrading our video content ;). Here is the list of the brands as they appear in the video:
Nae Vegan Shoes
Miss Green Fashion
Kuyichi Pure Goods
Nat 2 Rugged
Yeah! I've got one of my personal Fashion Week essentials to give away :).
WIN one of 2x2 BRANDED DOPPER STEEL bottles, as seen in the photo. One is for you and one is for you to give away.
Why Dopper? Because their products are cradle-to-cradle certified, BPA free / better for your health as well as the environment, and we support drinking tap water as it saves huge amounts of waste and C02 emissions through transport. Find out more about how Dopper is helping save water.
HOW TO WIN
Leave a comment with the name of the person you want to give the second one to and why they should have it. Do the same by tagging that person on our Facebook and Instagram post to doubble/tripple your chances.
The winners will be raffled with a random name picker, and be announced and informed via e-mail or DM March 4th the bottles will be sent within the EU or US in the mail. GOOD LUCK!