Joining forces to drive long-term sustainable change within the fashion industry, Neonyt is set to return next January during Frankfurt Fashion Week. Running from January 18 to January 20, 2022, following the outbreak of COVID-19, Neonyt will welcome over 150 sustainable exhibitors who wish to impact and disrupt the industry positively.
Championing a wide array of responsible brands, ranging from well-established fashion pioneers to newcomers and conscious labels, the trade fair show aims to connect sustainable brands and industry players who aim to change the fashion and textile sector for the better. Labels who have already signed up to attend Neonyt include Knowledge Cotton Apparel, Kuyichi, Mela, Mud Jeans, Got Bag and more. Looking to facilitate vital connections, Neonyt is one of around 60 Messe Frankfurt textile events worldwide that actively integrates the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and incorporates them in various formats.
Ahead of their first-in person event following the global pandemic, Bettina Bär, Show Director at Neonyt, Messe Frankfurt, shares some insights on how Neonyt supports the industry’s sustainable shift and what exhibitors and visitors can expect at the upcoming event.
What impact do you think COVID-19 had on the fashion industry and Neonyt?
Although people have been questioning their consumer behaviour and where products come from for a while now, this process has been accelerated. The pandemic exposed weak links within the international textile and fashion sector and highlighted the population growth crisis we are experiencing. A lack of transparency in the textile supply and value chain, shortcomings in production countries and avoidable environmental pollution existed before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, as did manmade climate change. The fashion industry should use this opportunity to drive sustainability. Only if we take on a progressive and polarising role will we succeed in heralding in a new era. Fashion is becoming the interface of design and sustainability, inclusion and digitalisation, responsibility and technology, diversity and conformity.
Neonyt, like every other entity in the event and trade fair sector, had had to reorient itself, restructure and think more digitally. We refrained from implementing an online showroom for our past events and for the upcoming one because we feel that fashion thrives on personal interaction, presentations, inspiration, and seeing and feeling materials and craftsmanship up close and in person. But COVID-19 requires stakeholders to shift their mindset, so during the last three seasons, we have set up our conference themes for Fashionsustain online, mapped them via digital modules and live-streamed them. The core business, though ever was, still is and always will be bringing people together, offline and face-to-face.
How is Neonyt supporting the development of sustainability within the fashion industry?
Sustainability is a multidimensional construct. Everyone who understands this has already taken an important step in the right direction. We take into account the change that the fashion industry is going through, not just right now, but basically for the past ten years – and we engage in valuable dialogue with industry partners and entities. Sustainable change, development and improvement cannot be achieved alone, it needs a collective. We create a space where industry professionals can meet and exchange the latest sustainable innovations. We welcome everyone from brands, retailers and agencies to innovative tech companies and textile services to international industry experts and fashion people at Neonyt. We host panel discussions and keynotes on the stage of our Fashionsustain conference and invite content creators and social media professionals to the Prepeek. Sustainability starts in the details and must become more scalable – Neonyt and our cross-sector community try to convey that every day.
The main priority of our efforts is to offer our cross-sector community a platform to conduct their business and network again. We want to see people personally being inspired, learning new things, getting hands-on experience, making connections and actively driving the positive change in the industry forward, step by step.
How does Neonyt help brands who are trying to adopt more sustainable practices?
Neonyt supports brands as a platform for exchange, a provider of ideas and impulses, a challenger and trend spotter. We combine business, inspiration, knowledge and community-building – lasting connections are formed on our events, and our fair fashion bubble is eager to support each other. Neonyt has a very well connected community, almost like an extended family that remains connected before and after every event. We provide countless opportunities for our exhibitors to connect with the right people to support and share their sustainable innovations. We also use our international reach to shed light on sustainable initiatives and ideas such as alternative business models, inclusion and cultural heritage in fashion. The fashion industry needs to start thinking more holistically, that’s why we try to include all perspectives of our community into our core values. We have set up a series of so-called community meetings where we engage with key accounts regularly to keep them updated and informed about our plans – especially in these volatile times.
But above all, all of us need to join forces to drive long-term change in the fashion sector: authentically, directly and transparently.