A new trade fair wants to bring the green fashion industry back to Berlin at the start of the season. The event will take place for the first time from January 17th to 19th in the Atelier Gardens, the site of the former Berlin film studios. So far, more than 30 brands have registered as exhibitors.
Behind the new trade fair in Berlin is the desire to organize another event for sustainable labels and buyers. Since Neonyt moved away from Berlin, but had problems taking place in Frankfurt, there has been a gap in the fashion calendar and in the German capital. Some sustainable fashion brands had a stand at one of the Premium Group’s trade fairs, while others tried their luck in Düsseldorf.
But some green labels did not feel well represented at the conventional fairs. Buyers did not clearly recognize which brands are sustainable and which criteria were used to select them. The events did not correspond to their idea of sustainability.
“For us, sustainability is very much an attitude and not just a trend. And we felt as if we were part of a trend movement,” said co-founder Lena Nocke about her experiences at conventional trade fairs in an interview with FashionUnited on Tuesday.
A transparent event
In addition, stand rents were high at conventional trade fairs, she said. Therefore, the idea matured among some actors to found their own event, the criteria for curating the brands should be clear and transparent for everyone.
The co-managing director of the Beyond Berlin agency has been working on getting the fair off the ground since the summer. With her own agency, she sells the brands People Tree, Harold’s and Jaya Organic in German-speaking countries.
She sees herself as a co-founder of the fair, which “got the ball rolling”. In the future, the new green fashion trade fair will be organized by an association that is just being founded, and other events are not excluded. For example, Nocke himself organized the Beyond Fashion Summit a few years ago.
The supporters of the fair come from the sustainable fashion world. Among the names that belong to the future members of the association are, for example, Thilo Schmelz, Managing Director of the leather goods manufacturer Harold’s, Jens Frey, Managing Director of the sustainable trade fair Innatex or the fashion retailer Christina Wille, who now operates three shops in Berlin under the name Loveco.
It was important that it was not a profit-oriented company, but an organization that acted in the interests of the sustainable fashion industry, explained Nocke. Therefore, the association form was chosen. It is also unusual for a trade fair that it talks openly about prices and budgets. The same prices apply to all exhibitors, one square meter costs 250 euros, the total exhibition area in the hall is 400 square meters. This results in a budget of 100,000 euros for the first edition in January.
“It is now timely, especially with all the crises, to create a trade fair where you feel good, where you like to be and where you come out with more energy afterwards and don’t feel totally drained,” said Nocke. “That was the feedback from many of my buyers: how exhausting it is to go to traditional trade fairs.”
Green trade fairs from Berlin to Düsseldorf
The event is expressly aimed at a specialist audience. Buyers can be invited by brands via a QR code or register via the website beyondfashionberlin.com. The number of visitors is still difficult to estimate because of the current upheavals in fashion, says Nocke.
Given the overall rising costs and uncertain economic situation, buyers could also limit their travel. The trade fairs of the Premium Group have been taking place in Berlin again since last July, and it is still unclear whether and when they will be able to show the number of visitors from the past again.
The distance to Premium on the exhibition grounds is also decent, visitors would have to commute between West and East Berlin again. In order to facilitate the journey to Beyond Fashion Berlin, a shuttle service is to be set up from the underground stations.
It remains to be seen how the green fashion brands will be distributed in the coming season, because the appeal of the new format will also depend on this. Neonyt has meanwhile announced that it will take place from January 28th to 30th during the Düsseldorf Order Days. Numbers of exhibitors are not yet known. The new green Berlin trade fair is still small in comparison – when Neonyt was last held in Berlin before the pandemic, it had more than 200 exhibitors.
According to Nocke, there are still a few free places for the first edition of Beyond Fashion Berlin. If demand increases, even more labels could be housed on the Atelier Gardens site in the south of the former Tempelhof Airport. An additional hall of 1,000 square meters could be rented there from the summer.