Fashion Week | Sustainable & Ethical Trade Shows

Last week I went to Berlin Fashion Week to check out the Ethical Fashion Show and Green Showroom, as well as sustainable brands at the Premium and Seek fairs. I also went to Frankfurt for Innatex, another sustainable trade fair. These shows were for brands to sell their A/W 18/19 collections to stores and also included lectures and press/blogger events.

It was wonderful to see so many conscious brands, EFSB/Green Showroom had 170 labels, Premium and Seek both had green sections and Innatex had about 300 brands!

Checking out brands at the Ethical Fashion Show and Green Showroom

My goal for the week was to find some new brands and especially some that have a strong design focus. It’s no problem finding sustainable basics and I’ve shared a lot of staple brands, but it’s harder to find more fashion-forward styles. I was excited to find some brands with beautiful designs but a lot of them didn’t allow filming or photos. So here’s some of the new brands I found that I didn’t or couldn’t share in the video but will be keeping an eye on:

 

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to film the fashion show, but here’s the official video from Ethical Fashion Show Berlin:

 

Biggest takeaways that I learned/noticed at the trade shows
  • Some common trends for fall/winter are:
    • 70’s styles and prints
    • red is going strong, lots of bright and darker/faded shades
    • monochromatic looks were popular
    • corduroy has made a comeback
    • still a lot of minimalist knits
  • While brands might try some more creative designs, the basics and classics are what sell.
  • Price point is a huge struggle for brands – trying to keep prices down without compromising ethics and sustainability, and also explaining to consumers why the products cost more.
  • Organic cotton is by far the most used material (which isn’t the most sustainable).
    • Although there is material innovation happening and it’s exciting to see more recycled/upcycled materials and brands!
  • A truly vegan brand has to also have a sustainable focus, so many vegan products and materials are still harmful to animals and very damaging to the planet.
  • More conscious brands have “design first” marketing which is wonderful to see, because it doesn’t matter how eco/ethical you are if people don’t like the styles.
    • On the other hand though, a lot also need to step-up their branding, images, and information, they have great products and stories but aren’t showcasing and communicating it well online.
  • There is a lot of potential with wool, especially alpaca, which not only is an amazing fibre for clothing but can be farmed sustainably and (I believe) ethically as well.
  • Finally, this industry is built on passion, there are so many small labels who want to make a difference, tons of bloggers who use their moments of spare time to try and spread the message, and people who are trying to make changes for a better future. Even though there are always going to be things that can improve I came away feeling incredibly inspired, hopeful, and so grateful to be part of such an amazing community.

 

and speaking of bloggers…

Some of the lovely women I met creating conscious content:
English

Cherie – Sustainable Fashion Matterz

Kim – Kim Goes Eko

Lisa – At Least 

Mia – heylilahey

German

Corinna – Kissen & Karma
Franziska – Un Petit Sourire Slows Down
Jana – Not Another Woman & Gern Geschehen (podcast)
Laura – The OGNC
Lena – Healthy Lena
Marisa – My Fair Ladies
Mary and Rosi – Green Looks Great
Nicola – Fairnica
Nina – Pink & Green
Phoebe – Phoenomenal
Sarah – undeinepriseliebe
Talisa – Talisa Minoush (youtube)

 

One of the highlights was the Fashion Changers pre-peek event where you could try on clothes from the brands, and they had stylists, makeup artists, and photographers. I should have stayed longer to do some more photos, but here’s an outfit with a jumper from Lanius and pants by Maria Seifert.

Fashion Changers Pre-Peek
photo: Emilie Elizabeth

 

Overall it was a great experience and I’m so glad I went. I have a pile of business cards to go through so I can keep track of the brands I liked and need to research/hopefully will share more from. I also feel so inspired and excited about this conscious fashion movement, the change is slow, but it’s happening and will keep growing!

 

Fashion brands in the video (in order of appearance):

(note that the pieces shown in the video are for FW 18/19 though so likely aren’t currently available)

 

Check out the interviews from last year’s event.

 

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10 Responses

  1. Pritha
    | Reply

    Were there any sustainable/ethical American brands represented at the Fashion Week events you attended?

  2. Thanks for sharing Verena! And nice to meet you..! 🙂

  3. AmaElla
    | Reply

    Thanks Verena for such a genuine review of the show. We’re a premium organic cotton nightwear and lingerie brand and all our products are ethically sourced in Uk and Portugal. I’m curious to know why you’re saying that organic cotton is sometimes not the most sustainable option. We personally believe cotton is the best material for your underwear because is breathable and fresh. Unfortunately, the production of cotton is environmentally and socially unsustainable, that is the reason we only use GOTS cotton. It’d be interesting to hear your thoughts about the sustainable issue with organic cotton.

    • Verena Erin
      | Reply

      Organic cotton is definitely better but cotton as a plant takes a lot of water to grow. The stats I’ve seen range from 10,000 – 25,000 litres of water to grow 1kg of cotton.
      The Higg Material Sustainability Index for example ranks it as the second worst woven/knit textile (although it’s important to note that biodegradability isn’t part of their calculations) and the big thing that brings it down is water scarcity/freshwater consumption.

      I also should say though that all fabrics have pros and cons, and obviously certain materials are better suited for certain products. I just hope to see a general movement away from organic cotton being the pinnacle of sustainability.

  4. Shelbi
    | Reply

    Such a cool event you were able to attend. I like that you know so much about so many types of responsible brands, because I always tend to stick with second hand as far as shopping responsibly is concerned. Also, loved the video you shared!

  5. Mia
    | Reply

    I looove you blog summary as well! I also spotted lots of retro and 70’s vibes! I’m sooo excited about that. I know those are items you can also often get second hand, but not all of them fit me (even when adjusted) and I like the modern twist the brands are creating with the style!!! I\m really excited for ethical fashion AW2018/19!!

    Great post and thanks for linking to my blog!

    • Verena Erin
      | Reply

      Thanks Mia!
      I’m also really excited for ethical fashion AW 18/19!! 😀

  6. Jailyn
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for posting and making the video about the event. It really was interesting and I hope sustainable and ethical fashion only continues to expand. And I definitely agree that vegan brands need to step up on sustainability and act ethically towards their workers and the community they produce in.

    I haven’t seen very many fashion shows, but it was kind of creepy to me. The models all had the same body shape and their faces were completely blank. I’m sure that’s because the focus is supposed to be on the clothing. But comparing it to the picture of you wearing some of the items and smiling, it’s like night and day. I really love that outfit.

    • Verena Erin
      | Reply

      Models in shows typically have a super blank expression, I haven’t thought about it much but it is kinda creepy! You’re right though, the idea is the model shouldn’t “distract” and you should be looking at the clothing.

      I feel like fashion shows now are more about the experience/social media than actually seeing the clothes/outfits though which is disappointing, I personally prefer something like the “pre-peek” event and seeing the clothes up-close and trying them on. 🙂

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