In the latest editions of Berlin Fashion Week, we have applauded the diversity in the casting of almost all the brands that participate in this increasingly international platform and the wonderful and stimulating locations to which they transport us with their shows, allowing us to get to know the city from different perspectives. Now, having just landed back from the German capital where we have travelled to attend its Fall/Winter 2024 edition, we pause for a moment to analyze an interesting dual phenomenon we realized in which some brands are strictly following the world-known Berlin style and others are distancing themselves to create new narratives.
This is precisely what has caught our attention the most about this new edition of Berlin Fashion Week, held from February 5 to 8 with nearly 20,000 guests from both domestic and international locations who attended the 32 fashion shows and 42 side events. It is widely known that rave culture and Berlin's vibrant creative scene have forged a very recognizable and easy-to-identify style. From outfits that express an imposing freedom and empowerment to looks in which black becomes the main protagonist. We are faced with a way of understanding fashion that takes the expression of one's identity as its core element.
A good example of this consolidated trend that has become one of the main attractions of Berlin Fashion Week is shown by Namilia, which is probably the most powerful brand currently on the city's fashion scene. Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl have just presented their latest collection, Pfoten weg! claiming how powerful collaborations are and demonstrating once again to be experts in offering a complete show their fans fall in love with season after season. However, their latest fashion show has not been as impactful as the huge spectacle with which they presented their previous collection In Loving Memory of My Sugar Daddy.
Within this artistic movement with a marked rebellious character so typical of Berlin, we must also highlight Richert Beil, whose last show got the likes of most people. Founded by Jale Richert and Michele Beil, the brand celebrated its 10th anniversary this season by revisiting their signature pieces and reinterpreting the designs and patterns from their debut collection of 2015, as the creative duo explained. A very well-resolved styling and an undoubtedly diverse casting with models that represent reality on the ground were two of the strengths that stood out in this show.
Richert Beil
One of the best exponents of Berlin Fashion Week's latest edition in terms of well-executed effective scenography, keeping the Berlin spirit and maintaining the disruptive and dark aesthetic that represents the city, it was Haderlump. The young Berlin-based label led by Johann Ehrhardt which embodies the expression of a progressive urban aesthetic seems to feel comfortable in a colour palette that makes black its fundamental pillar, on which it articulates a very interesting proposal whose set design provides greater value and impact.
Let's stop for a moment at the presentation that demonstrated a greater halo of mystery and created a unique atmosphere. We are talking about Anonymous Club, the creative studio led by Shayne Oliver whose show was part of the new Intervention showcase together with Gerrit Jacob and back2back. Oliver perfectly understands the fashion show format, while other designers seem to forget that this is a communication tool and not the ultimate goal of fashion brands, which must not lose sight of the end consumer and the sale of their creations.
Anonymous Club
Before jumping into the countertrend phenomenon and analyzing who its best ambassadors are, we must highlight the work of some brands that, though continue to draw on the most classic Berlin aesthetic imagery, have proven to offer formulas filled with contemporaneity, attention to detail and polished styling. The brand founded by Marie Lueder in 2019 who has just showcased her Mono-Myth collection at the former n24 film studio at Potsdamer Platz is a very good example of this.
We must also talk about Sia Arnika, whom we have already highlighted as one of the most interesting brands on the Berlin scene in previous editions. The Danish designer's attempts to experiment with silhouettes and materials must be applauded, although the result has not always been successful. Her aesthetics is quite recognizable, something not easy in a sector in which new brands continue to emerge and macro trends sometimes seem to dominate everything.
Sia Arnika
The best representative of this new wave in Berlin fashion may be SF1OG, a brand that has not stopped growing, forging a loyal community of followers in recent years. Their latest collection which was showcased in the gymnasium of Ernst-Reuter-Gymnasium, resembling a nostalgic journey back to our school days, once again highlights the attention that Rosa Dahl gives to every detail, to the staging of a collection where everything is measured to the millimetre. Hands up for the old issue of Bravo that made a stellar appearance at the show.
But let's go with what for us are the three brands that best represent the creative wave that moves away from the commonly known as "Berlin style" which is nevertheless capable of immersing us in enchanting universes loaded with identity, sensitivity and savoir-faire. Let's start by talking about Lou de Bètoly, who starred in one of the best moments of this edition of Berlin Fashion Week. Their collection was almost perfect, and most importantly, it leaves a mark on our minds by differentiating itself from the aesthetic codes that we’ve seen for days in the city.
The French designer who worked for Jean Paul Gaultier before settling in Berlin to create her own label, whose pieces have been seen on celebrities such as Dua Lipa, Rosalía and Beyoncé, is committed to a different vision of fashion that starts from sensitivity to offer us a sense of elegance adapted to new times, along with a very appealing game of textures while presenting repeated elements on the catwalk, favouring the positioning of its creative universe in the minds of the attendees.
Lou de Bètoly
Continuing with this countertrend, we highlight the work of Malaikaraiss, who is also part of the CPHFW show calendar with shows, events and international activations. It is precisely the symbiosis of her vision of fashion with the style that has become so popular in recent years that emanates from North Europe and whose epicentre has been (and continues to be) Copenhagen that makes her proposal stand out so much in Berlin. This brand offers timeless garments in which design goes hand in hand with functionality, which is not easy to achieve and many Berlin brands seem to have not fully understood yet. Creativity is key, of course, but it is necessary to find a link between the freest artistic universes and the reality of the street for companies to survive.
William Fan is a well-established name nationally and internationally, but he continues to delight us with impressive shows when he takes part in the official Berlin Fashion Week calendar. His gender-neutral fashion and Euro-Asian design approach reappears in his new collection, Off Duty, presented in the warming hall of the Olympic Stadium. His colour palette is always impeccable, and his vision of fashion demonstrates exquisite taste for design. William Fan is one of the fathers of this countertrend that continues to gain new followers and highlights the enormous diversity that Berlin offers when it comes to fashion.
William Fan
We cannot fail to mention Gerrit Jacob, who inaugurated the calendar of presentations and shows for this latest edition of Berlin Fashion Week and with whom we spoke less than a year ago in this interview. Special mention deserves Marke, the project led by Mario Keine who presented his collection titled Allezeit bei mir as he continues to establish the pillars of his promising fashion brand that does seem to have a place in the current fashion scene. And the unmistakable Irina Dzhus, one of the most interesting creative minds in the panorama who continues taking part in the greatest Berlin fashion event, turning her runway into a stage to narrate her very personal story through her designs.
Gerrit Jacob
Berlin Fashion Week has proven in this edition that has just concluded to be a stimulating platform in which the different voices of the fashion industry have a place. From big brands that claim the spirit that has globally positioned the city to small projects coming from other countries that offer new perspectives to a scene that does not stop growing, gaining more and more attention from the international press every year.