Beyond Fashion Summit 2011. We did it!

Thursday, October 27th, 2011 -

The first Beyond Fashion Summit is behind us.  The Beyond team and our many helping hands have come out of the other side and are now looking back on a successful event that saw around 20 speakers inform and inspire more than 100 participants.  In cooperation with the Christian Initiative Romero in the rooms of the Esmod Art School, we achieved our mission: the creation of a space for intensive knowledge exchange and discussion on the theme of fashion and sustainability.  In keeping with our vision, under the conference’s slogan “When Beauty Meets Ethics”, we channelled the discourse to that of the question of beauty and ethics’ compatibility.

Impressed that we boldly travelled down a somewhat limitless and uncharted path, not without it’s fair share of hurdles, we are now, post-event, all the more happier, just as our speakers were with the subject.  Contributions such as Mark Starmann’s 10 Point Plan for a more sustainable the fashion industry and Francois Girbaud passionate call to action to take the future of the industry into our own hands, provided a bit of spectacle and at least a couple of goosebump-moments. Melanie Kuntnawitz from Jack Wolfskin remained calm and level headed despite our highly informed audience dealing out a number of extremely critical questions – it proved to allow for a rare but welcome moment of meaningful interaction between the ‘mainstream’ and the green movement.

The pannel saw Elke Gehrke from Stiftung Warentest fearlessly enter the ring with Helga Jóhannsdóttir and Lars Wittenbrink to defend the consumer rights organisation’s controversial CSR test of jeans brands.  She could also have faced some critical questions from the audience, but restraint was shown and it was left to the chair, Kirsten Brodde, to bring some facts to the table through her questioning.  The only obvious result at the close was an clear and unwavering commitment to sustainable practices from Kuyichi.

The participants and speakers actively entered into discussions and networked at every opportunity provided during breaks in the proceedings.  This activity was maybe at it’s most intense during Friday’s lunch break and the organised ‘speed networking’  – business cards were far from the only things being exchanged.  We gave ourselves a pat on the back as there was seemingly no dividing line between the speakers podium and the conference floor; exchange flowed very well in both directions … too well perhaps in terms of our program’s sliding time table!

Conversations that had to be dropped and the end of lunch at Eckbert Zwo, were fortunately able to be picked up later at the party at ‘DasHotel’ and in the rooms of the Michelberger Hotel – where the majority of participants laid their heads to rest.  We were also very pleased to hear that our room allocation choices proved successful, and led to a number of good conversations continuing into the small hours. We take our hats off those that managed the second round on Saturday with levels of academic interaction not wavering.

Our targets in brief: Event character? … was successful. Networking? … was great. Multimedia presentation formats? … Well. The Greenpeace ‘Detox’ campaign video was a real highlight, but our new concept of interviewing through Skype suffered the hallmarks of being a first attempt and I think we’d all agree, needs a bit of polishing.  But we have the raw ingredients now and after little reworking and optimising we will be posting the videos online; making them available for all, including those that missed them the first time round.

Taking everything into consideration, I want to take the treacherous path of self-praise and state for the record: we had an amazing two days. At this point, we’d like to say a collective thank you to everyone that supported us in the run up to the summit and during the event itself.  We respectfully took onboard praise aimed in our direction but, and maybe more importantly, we also gratefully accepted a good deal of constructive criticism from our varied audience, consisting of retailers, NGO’s, students and designers.

Of course a special thanks goes out to the speakers, who, always extremely charming, covered material at levels of the debate – this ensured that both those taking their first steps on the sustainable fashion ladder and those well versed in the topic were left with a smile on their faces.

Together we were able to create a good basis from which to look forward to next year and Beyond Fashion Summit 2012.  We will aim to build on this year’s high notes, such as the creation of a strong sense of community and diversity of content.  We will further push the boundaries of presentation formats and offer participants a certain level of customisation by planning a number of parallel workshops and think-tanks. All in all we will be aiming to put on the table an even more intense program of events.

We are looking forward to next year and hope, at the very latest, we will see you all again at the Beyond the Fashion Summit 2012!

From Stonewash to Wattwash

Monday, October 10th, 2011 -

François Girbaud from the French label François + Marithé Girbaud will also attend our SUMMIT. The label, which was founded in 1964, stands for the invention of stonewashed Jeans, with which the Designer-Duo revolutionized the Jeans Industry over 40 years ago. What the couple didn’t realize back then, the process was highly unsustainable and damaging to the environment. After 15 years of research they managed to offer a green alternative: Wattwash. Wattwash Jeans are cut and treated with a special laser-technique, which gives the jeans the popular used-look. Only 5 litres of water are used in this process compared to 170 litres that are needed for bleaching and acid treatments in conventional stonewashing processes. We are looking forward to François, who proves consistently what he and his label stands for: innovative and connectional design thinking.


To take a look at the Wattwash video click here:

Trigema in circulation

Thursday, October 6th, 2011 -

When looking at those photos, you ask yourself, did these models just get picked up on the street? They don’t wear a lot of make-up nor do they exist of skin and bones – normal human being so to say. A fresh and natural Photoshoot with young people, who present various Shirts and Pullovers nonchalantly. The first Lifestyle collection of the long-established company Trigema was designed by Mona Ohlendorf from Berlin, who co-founded the renowned eco-agency ‘Common Works’, which helps designers changing their production ways to more environmentally friendly procedures. Mona’s influence on Trigema is reflected in the collection’s name, CHANGE, which wants to offer an alternative to conventional clothing lines by introducing the Cradle to Cradle concept. Single-Jerseys for her and for him, called Greta and Bo come in colours varying from warm apricot to black, everything made from Bio-cotton obviously. What would probably not be any successful on the runway is a must-have for everyone’s feel-good clothing assortment. The prices lie in the mid-level segment {29,90€ – 69,90€}. Trigema manages to bring in a new breeze into their artistic as well as technological developments, yet not leaving the green aspect behind while doing so.

For everyone not familiar with it, the Cradle to Cradle system does not generate any waste, but only uses products that can be recycled completely. Borrowed form nature’s nutrient system, Cradle to Cradle is based on closed circles, where none of the raw material is lost during the process. This system, developed by professor Michael Braungart in the EPEA institute, tries to create a new production approach to reduce pollution. In contrast to recycling methods Cradle to Cradle demands certain requirements already before the production so that only those products enter the circle that are completely recyclable and bio-degradable.

By the way, the company Trigema exists already for 90 years. Different from other textile businesses they decided against outsourcing, low-waged labour and long transportation of their goods. A different attitude is how they describe this approach on their website, where you can also make a virtual tour all over the production area, from parking spots to stock and distribution office. This transparency is something we like and the Cradle to Cradle concept anyway commendable. And if you pay the website a visit, check out the online shop as well that exists since the first of October.


Moritzplatz is not called Moritzplatz anymore

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 -

The new name… drum roll, please… Makerplatz, a collaboration of so-called ‘makers’ like you can find in Betahaus, Prinzessinnengarten, Etsy or in Modulor. Last weekend scores of creatives and those yet to become, cavorted all around the Moritzplatz, Excuse me, Makerplatz. Numerous of workshops took place, from T-Shirt printing with potato stamps or creating your personal mix of LemonAid, on Makerplatz there was something to do for everyone. In Betahaus they were busy hosting the People in Beta Fetsival where Bagpad took part in, as well. In the evening Live Bands performed in the back yard and it was hard to believe that we entered the month of October already.

The Moritzplatz, which developed around 1960 was a bustling spot in Berlin city, with apartment buildings, stores, even a big German department store, called Wertheim. Back then it was one of the most busy shopping squares in Kreuzberg until it was bombed and destroyed almost completely during the second world war. But now the company Modulor together with the Aufbau publishing house breathes new life into the almost forgotten area. The result – you can now find young people with full beards and fixed gear bikes making their way a little further, instead of stopping at Oranienplatz, like they did before.