“If we want to succeed, we need to work together”

The first three days of Frankfurt Fashion Week’s digital FFW STUDIO were a resounding success. Fascinating speakers, high-profile panels, exciting industry insights – all examined from different perspectives under the two overarching themes of Sustainability and Digitisation. Here are the first key takeaways from the FFW STUDIO.

Frankfurt am Main, 7 July 2021.
Brand experiences, virtual showcases, live acts: Frankfurt Fashion Week is in full swing! On Monday morning, Peter Feldmann, Lord Mayor of the City of Frankfurt, Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, and Anita Tillmann, Managing Partner of the Premium Group, opened the digital FFW STUDIO during a live press conference. This marked the start of a whole week jam-packed with digitally curated fashion content focusing on the overarching themes of Sustainability and Digitisation. One highlight right at the beginning of Fashion Week was the successful Germany premiere of MCM production “The Remix: Hip Hop x Fashion” about the two hip-hop pioneers Misa Hylton and April Walker, who were able to make their voices as women heard in a male-dominated industry and were instrumental in shaping the transformation of hip-hop culture. Industry newcomers: the Bunte New Faces Award was adding even more glamour to the FFW STUDIO. It was broadcasted live on 5 July from the red carpet as a hybrid event – the first one since the beginning of the pandemic. Winner of the Young Fashion Designer category was Leonie Isabel Appels with her label Liapure. And the Young Style Icon Award was presented to German actress Gina Stiebitz. 

“If we want to succeed, we need to work together. Beyond disciplines and beyond borders. In Europe, but also globally,” said President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen at the opening of the newly launched conference The New European Bauhaus – Werkstatt der Zukunft on Tuesday, thereby laying the foundations for a rethink and change process within the textile and fashion industry. What are the issues currently affecting the industry? With State of the Industry as the topic of the day, Fashionsustain, Neonyt’s international conference format, started yesterday. Until Thursday, discussions, panels and interviews will be revealing the status quo of everything from social supply chains to diversity in fashion and sustainability in the financial sector. 

The Frankfurt Fashion SDG Summit is also celebrating its premiere in the FFW STUDIO today. Presented by Conscious Fashion Campaign in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Partnerships, the conference will shed light on the pressing challenges facing the sector from different perspectives and offers a platform of exchange on which to drive forward lasting change within the industry.

The word from the STUDIO 

Alberto Candiani (Global Manager, Candiani S.p.a, Italy), Fashionsustain
“As Candiani we are fully aware of the impact the Denim industry has on the planet. While most of the industry is still trying to figure out how to reduce this impact on the environment we are currently aiming to neutralize it through our smart industrial processes and we are even committed to make it positive through our regenerative products. That implicates a whole different R&D approach that starts with designing fabrics according their end of life, reaching biodegradability and compostability and enhancing recycling opportunities.“

Matthew Drinkwater (Head of Innovation, London College of Fashion), The New European Bauhaus – Workshop of the Future
“There are so many free, open-source 3D creation tools available, tutorials on social media, that all you need to get started in digital fashion is a laptop and internet connection. The rest will be down to your hard work and creativity.”

William Fan (Founder, CENTRE OF SUS FASHION), The New European Bauhaus – Werkstatt der Zukunft
“The worldwide pandemic showed me that reliable relationships are key and that it was right to invest in them since starting the brand. On the one hand, this concerned my production: for the first time I could not visit my production team in person, but we managed to communicate through digital tools to produce the collection. The long term and trustful relationships to suppliers and manufacture owners made it possible to develop new designs due to a common understanding for quality and creativity. On the other hand, I appreciate the strong relationship with our customers and community, which have been incredibly loyal and supportive. Personally, I evaluated my visions and values for the brand again and feel now even more empowered to continue.” 

Sam Field (RYOT International, The Fabric of Reality), Fashionsustain
“Embracing digital fashion in a way that harnesses technologies like XR and blockchain will revolutionise the industry; creating a greener, more sustainable future as well as growing new, highly profitable revenue streams.”

Clara Mayer (Climate Activist, Fridays for Future), Frankfurt Fashion SDG Summit
“The fast fashion industry is responsible for immense exploitation, waste and CO2 emissions. We need to overcome the belief that individual consumers can ever be tasked with changinghow this system operates. The companies responsible need to be held accountable and longlasting fair fashion should be available to all, not just to a privileged few.”

Shannon Mercer (CEO, Fibretrace), Fashionsustain
“In terms of transparency, all fibre sectors that promote sustainable fibres have a need to differentiate themselves through traceability to defend the claims they are making and ensure authenticity of fibre in the end garment. We're seeing really exciting innovation in the cotton and denim industry, especially through the work of Good Earth Cotton® - the world's carbon positive cotton farm located in Australia. Founded by the Statham family, Good Earth Cotton® paves the way for cotton farming globally to be carbon positive, low water and low energy. Fashion is responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions – more than shipping and aviation combined. Grown by passionate farmers who are driven by the need to reduce cotton's environmental footprint, Good Earth Cotton® sequesters more carbon than it emits across its entire growth lifecycle. With cotton making up 25% of the world’s global fibre use, Good Earth Cotton® has the ability to make a huge impact in the textiles space.”

Thorsten Mindermann (Regional Manager Central Europe, H&M), The New European Bauhaus – Werkstatt der Zukunft
“H&M wants to offer fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way – and at the same time we want to meet and interact it with our customers where they want, when they want and with products they demand. Offering a seamless customer experience by fully combining offline and online channels is key for us. One of the main concerns of our customers is sustainability, i.e. what are garments made from, how are they produced, how do they impact people, the environment and communities along the way? Our sustainability vision visualises clearly how we respond to that: leading the change towards a climate positive and circular fashion future, while being fair and equal – and we are taking bold decisions and important steps so that our customers don’t have to choose between price, quality or sustainability at H&M.”

Esther Perbandt (Designer, Esther Perbandt), Fashionsustain
“Digital Fashion can reduce up to 99% of waste compared to a physical product - can be worn a Trillions of times - has no expiration Date. It can be applied in almost every step of the product development process and also in Commercialisation and Recycling stages. So if we think about building an Industry one step ahead with 3D design, digital fashion can optimise multiple weak points in relation to boost a sustainable product cycle. A Digital Fashion Shopping-Experience can thrive conscious decisions to a more aware Future of Consuming. If we are able to provide digital fashion as easy as attending a Zoom-Call, it will be revolutionary.”

Bernd Skupin (Culture Editor, VOGUE), The New European Bauhaus – Werkstatt der Zukunft
“Like all other sectors of society, artists, creative people, but also cultural institutions and the media need to gear their work processes and working methods toward greater sustainability. And in doing so, they must also listen to outside voices and experts. But in the creative community's contribution to a more sustainable living environment, it will be crucial that they see sustainability not as an obstacle or even a condition of their work, but as a driver of their creativity, as something that inspires rather than restricts their creativity. And that is not always an easy task.”

Patric Spethmann (COO, Marc O’Polo), Fashionsustain
“A digital transformation is not “a project” – it is a continuous program that changes the complete business environment: our mindset, our processes and our technological foundation. We strive to transform into agile ways of working, to standardize and automate our processes to focus our energy on value-adding activities, and to build a technology landscape that supports our strategic vision for the foreseeable future.”

Download press release here: