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International designers lead the way at Berlin Fashion Week’s Neo.Fashion exhibition

By Rachel Douglass


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Image: Neo.Fashion BFW 2022

An array of fashion graduates and aspiring designers took part in Berlin Fashion Week’s 2022 Neo.Fashion event, which ran from September 6 to 8 in the city’s Reinbeckhallen. The event included a series of graduate shows featuring over 80 of the best German design graduates from 10 universities, as well as a number of new guests and formats expanding on the concept from previous years.

Many of the designers showing at the graduate runways were all in line for the second edition of the Neo.Fashion Award, presented on the last day of the event. Participants were selected from technical colleges and art colleges and showed their final collections at dedicated shows for each university. The awards, which were announced by an expert jury selected under the Fashion Council Germany (FCG), included the categories Best Design, Best Sustainability and Best Craftsmanship. Each recipient will be provided with personal mentoring packages from the jury and the Neo.Fashion network.

Max Tautorus, from the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, won Best Design for their collection ‘Kinship’. Meanwhile, Nanyi Li of the University of Art and Design, was awarded the Best Sustainability Concept, for their ‘Blumen im Nebel’ collection and the Best Innovation award went to Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences’ Antonia Dannenberg for her ‘Melt Down’ line.

Image: Nanyi Li
Image: Antonia Dannenberg

Prior to the graduate awards, Neo.Fashion further presented the winners of the ‘European Fashion Award Fash’, which is supported by the Foundation of the German Textile Industry (SDBI). The organisation hosted its own fashion show consisting of the three winners of the award, during which the presentation of the awards were also held. The two first place winners were revealed to be Viola Schmidt and Idan Yoav, while Lihi Mendel came in second place.

Ethiopian and Ukrainian designers take the floor

Alongside the graduate shows, Neo.Fashion also hosted designers from Ethiopia and Ukraine. As part of a collaboration with the Next Fashion School Addis Ababa and Fashion Africa 254, five designers showcased their own collective show for the opening of the event on Tuesday. Designers involved included Betselot Zewge, Bekalu Sindew, Meti Gaye, Gebayil Assegid and Mahider Belay.

Image: Bekalu Sindew, photo by Gerome Defrance
Image: Gebayil Assegid, photo by Gerome Defrance

Additionally, six participants took part in a runway show collaboration with Ukrainian Fashion Week, which included the winners of the ‘Look into the Future’ format. In a release, Neo.Fashion commented on the partnership: “We are full of solidarity and are happy to be able to give Ukrainian designers a platform in their current situation. The whole Neo.Fashion team expresses its solidarity with the Ukrainian people.”

A particularly new format for Neo.Fashion was its ‘Aspiring Designers’ segment through which the organisation looked to build on its current promotion of young fashion design talents via shows and exhibitions. A total of 17 German alumni, young designers and start-up brands took part in the initiative for its first year, with each of their collections displayed in a large showroom throughout the week, as well as additional runway shows.

Image: Olha Zadybchuk
Image: Anna Kuzmenko

Within the showroom, each designer presented a personal display that featured information about their collections and provided a backdrop to their work. The designers could also take part in workshops and panel talks open to all visitors, designed to exchange experience and offer contacts to the industry.

To build on the new concept, Neo.Fashion will also be hosting a joint pop-up for its Aspiring Designer participants set to be held in Berlin in autumn 2022, with cooperation from other marketers.

In a release, Stephan Schwarz, senator for economic affairs, energy and operations at Neo.Fashion, said on the event: “I am very pleased that Neo.Fashion focuses on young fashion designers and promotes them sustainably.

“Neo.Fashion has become an important format at Berlin Fashion Week. We want to use it to support the international visibility of graduates and up-and-coming designers and also underline how important the development of the creative scene in Berlin is to us.”

Image: HTW Berlin
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