03/03/2016 – Berlin Fashion Week — auf Deutsch lesen

Green fashion

Maximum design for minimum waste: Greenshowroom and Ethical Fashion Show, the green trade fairs of Berlin Fashion Week, have demonstrated once again that highly fashionable products can be manufactured in a perpetual cycle – the principles of design can be fully founded on sustainability.

Alice Beyer Schuch

Alice Beyer Schuch

Camilla Carrara

Camilla Carrara

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The topic of the 'circular economy' is at the very top of the agenda for Greenshowroom and Ethical Fashion Show, the two sustainability trade fairs, and for distinctly ethically-orientated professionals. At the Berlin Postbahnhof, during Fashion Week Berlin between 19 and 21 January 2016, they presented 'Eco-Fashion at its Best': labels founded on high-quality recycling, offering innovative approaches to chemically or mechanically recycled materials and achieving advanced quality standards with the aid of innovative technology. Form, function, fabric and finish contribute to a product with ideal wearability: the clothes are comfortable to wear, functional and contemporary, and waste is reduced to a minimum.

Greenshowroom represents high fashion using natural materials, processed and tailored to the highest quality. While the fashion labels are characterised by sharp, clean cuts, by prints that draw their inspiration from nature, by perfect tailoring and clever detailing, the sustainable materials used by the shoe and handbag labels are vegetable-tanned calf and fish leather. Soft and warm quality knitwear using undyed Mongolian cashmere is the basis for knitted jackets, pullovers, cardigans and scarves. Some of the designers have committed themselves to traditional handicrafts, too. High-fashion yet ethical outfits were presented at the Greenshowroom salon show, at which top-class guests such as Renate Künast paid tribute to green fashion whilst giving strong declarations of support.

 Among the collections from green exhibitors, the purist label of Dutch designer Elsien Gringhuis stood out. Since founding her label in 2009, this young graduate of the renowned Academy of Visual Arts (ArtEZ) in Arnhem, who has won countless competitions including Createeurope, Mittelmoda and the Green Fashion Competition, has been ardently following a path of clean design built on craftsmanship, sustainability and functionality.

Her design philosophy is expressed in the phrase "maximise the minimum", with essential, timeless, minimalistic designs taking centre stage. The organic fabrics used for her collection are GOTS certified; waste is reduced to a minimum and the collection is 100% locally produced. "A functional and well thought-out design makes me very happy", says Elsien Gringhuis, adding: "All good things are simple, but there is nothing more difficult than to make a good and simple design."

The sustainable initiative in the field of fashion training has also gained maximum respect with its inclusion in the unique interdisciplinary and inter-cultural Masters course 'Sustainability in Fashion' offered by ESMOD Berlin. Seventeen students from 14 different countries, including New Zealand, India and Pakistan, have spent twelve months covering theoretical and practical courses in sustainable design from an ecological, ethical, social and economic, as well as an aesthetic and cultural, point of view. The students' in-depth research covered areas such as co-creation strategies between craft and consumer, business ideas for zero-waste recycling, and cradle-to-cradle design strategies that could be applied both in the mass-market and the luxury sectors. Common to all of these were efforts to eschew the use of materials and technologies harmful to the environment and to renounce the use of exploitative working practices.

 With the support of prominent industry partners, the Masters students created ground-breaking sustainable products, for which Greenshowroom offered a dedicated presentation and discussion platform. Read more about this in our online magazine.

[Neli Mitewa]

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