Last week we travelled to Berlin to attend a new edition of their great appointment with fashion. In a calendar dominated by Milan and Paris, two of the world's fashion centres par excellence, Berlin Fashion Week made a name for itself on the agendas of industry professionals and journalists, once again bringing together a plausible selection of accredited international media to know more about the new leading voices on the fashion scene in the German capital and present the latest collections of its most representative designers. After having attended last time in September 2022 – you can read our review here – we went back to the city which has become one of the engines of global independent art and culture to see the new collections first-hand.
We already said it at the time when we attended its Spring/Summer 2023 edition four months ago. Berlin Fashion Week is carving out a well-deserved place for itself in the circuit of essential cities for fashion professionals due to its commitment to sustainability, its perfect synchronization between young creators and established brands, and its spectacular cast that shows an honest search for diversity. Since the impact of 202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit has in the perception that people have of this fashion week as the axis of environmental responsibility in the industry at an international level, a movement that Copenhagen continues to lead today, until the celebration of the anniversary of Premium Groups fairs, which have been a fixture in the fashion calendar for 20 years and whose portfolio includes two fashion trade shows, Premium and Seek.

Many events and presentations took place throughout the five days of this latest edition of Berlin Fashion Week, from 16 to 21 January. And it’s precisely this balance achieved between the different forces of German fashion, driven by the platform's direct invitation to some selected Ukrainian brands to participate and the holding of parallel activities that favour networking and synergies, which makes this event a real meeting point. The eighteen participating brands once again demonstrated that Berlin fashion has a lot to say and that Germany should not be overlooked in the eyes of industry experts.

Although many brands have managed to make their presentations effective vehicles for transmitting messages, along with impressive staging and outstanding collections in terms of quality, technique and meaning, there is always room for improvement. The locations chosen by some of the designers, even if they fit the main idea of the collection, were sometimes too far from the city, making it difficult to access or making it impossible to attend the next show on the program. Or the excessive waits in some of the shows. Taking into account the dizzying pace of these five days, any delay or obstacle provokes lots of inconveniences, and this should be taken into account.

Nor is it enough to present good collections on the catwalk. A fashion show is finally a way of making a brand's message tangible, expressing its vision, and how they run its business. And in this message transmission ecosystem, communication also plays an important role. Something that some brands have shown not to take care of, at least not at the same level as their technique or design. In this edition, we have come to see some presentations whose format was conspicuous by its incoherence, such as a show in which some guests saw the parade standing up and were invited to leave right after while a selected group of attendees were having lunch there generating an incongruous narrative.

Bravo to those brands that continue to champion inclusion, democratization and responsibility in fashion. Let’s explore these ones, highlighting the wonderful work they are doing and their successful presentations. Here are our top six, keep reading!

Sia Arnika
The expectation prior to the presentation of their Autumn/Winter 2023 collection was maximum. Their tireless search for “experimental normality” as Sia Arnika calls it, was finally unveiled to the public in a fashion show that has nothing to envy to the presentations led by the most established designers. The brand, which has already got the likes of celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, explored Nordic mysticism and old folk tales merged with hardcore futurism in a collection marked by experimentation, deconstruction and the most absolute introspection.

Showing a rich variety of techniques, they showed their talent when it came to executing the garments and quite successful styling, being undoubtedly the highlight of the first day of the Berlin Fashion Week. Once finished, we moved on to the presentation of the Acceptance Letter Studio brand, an interesting project that involved us in a queer universe defined by diversity for which we also predict a promising future.
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I’d dare to say this brand, whose presentation we already highlighted in the previous season review, is the one that gathers the greatest number of creatives per square meter in its fashion shows. Even before the looks were presented on the catwalk, we could feel an atmosphere charged with art, with the desire to question the system, to show that a different way of doing things is possible. And not just possible, but necessary. SF1OG shows that their vision, which is different from what we have now seen in the Berlin fashion scene, is necessary and many people have seen themselves represented in the young brand founded in 2019 by Rosa Marga Dahl.
Despite the seating chaos before the show started, the fashion show itself was amazing. If we compare it with their last collection presented, we notice a creative maturity in their pieces. Growth as a brand as a result of the consolidation of the project and the reaffirmation of its strengths. The absolute change of context in terms of the chosen location, changing a much more intimate and dark scenario for an impressive monumental building, is quite a declaration of intent. And best of all, it has been proven that their way of understanding fashion works in both contexts. This is quite an achievement.
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Having more than two-hundred thousand followers on Instagram and the likes of artists like Björk, Lizzo, Arca or Tinashe, there was no doubt that Namilia would star in one of the most acclaimed fashion shows. Now we can confirm that indeed it was, and their presentation was a resounding ten out of ten that met all expectations. Their powerful looks charged with energy, vitality and strength were successful. Highly inspired by the Motomami aesthetic championed by Rosalía, their pieces have everything to get the likes of all those who are looking for something different in an industry that often does not fully represents them.
The creative minds behind this brand know how to achieve the impact they want, and they showed to be able to carry out an exercise where design, communication and going viral on social media meet. For example, they wanted Britney Manson for their casting, known for her exciting street runways – always wearing impressive heels – radiating unbeatable energy. Bravo to Namilia.
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The Ukrainian brand led by Lilia Litkovska invited us to one of the most emotional presentations of the Berlin Fashion Week. Her Vesnianka collection was situated within the unique aesthetic and cultural context of The Feuerle Collection, which hosted her show, assing even more depth and meaning. “The philosophy and the flow of the East combined with the privacy and the sunset of the West create a new dimension of sensations. That philosophy is very close to Litkovska, creating the feeling of oneself,” said the brand's Creative Director.
The collection stood out for its refined minimalism, impeccable execution and the power of the message. The designer and her team would leave right after Berlin to present in a showroom in Paris, taking her creative vision throughout Europe. It is not easy to express in words what all of us present felt there, but the presentation made us reconnect with what is truly important in life.
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Also originally from Ukraine and after finding refuge in the European Union, working between Warsaw, Paris and Berlin, designer Irina Dzhus unveiled her collection in this edition of Berlin Fashion Week. We were already able to attend one of her presentations at the Ukrainian Fashion Week in September 2021 months before Russia began its attack on Ukraine, and already then we were fascinated with her incredible talent. Dzhus is an expert in creating multifunctional garments in which experimentation embraces a wonderful pattern-making exercise. Almost impossible structures are reinvented depending on how they are placed on the human body, and on this occasion she also showed us on the catwalk, going out herself to assemble the looks live.
Dzhus uses only ethical materials and has been donating thirty per cent of its profit to Ukrainian animal rights organizations and the army since the war began. The transformer outfits from her Fall/Winter 2023 collection, integrated pro-complex-cut multifunction pieces, ranging from outerwear to accessories, pay tribute to the drastic changes all Ukrainians have faced in the circumstances they could not affect. The Creative Director is much more than a typical designer, she's an engineer, an artist and an extremely versatile creator.
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Lou de Bètoly
The French designer, who works and lives in Berlin, presented its new Autumn/Winter 2023 collection and closed the third day of Berlin Fashion Week. More than twenty looks were presented on the catwalk at Queen Palace, the location chosen to unveil its new collection. We could appreciate a major interest in experimenting with fabrics and fibres, a careful aesthetic measured to the millimetre and an interesting formula with which to present their pieces, being able to see them up close in an enveloping atmosphere.
Lou de Bètoly is one of the brands we recommend you follow. Their exercises in silhouettes and the daring shown in the collection as a whole were also interesting, something to celebrate that shows the strength of the project and their attempts to make the brand philosophy come true.
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