With its work staging the fashion shows, Berlin-based agency Nowadays, the organiser of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, plays an integral role in Berlin
Fashion Week. Right after the announcement about Frankfurt Fashion Week, Marcus Kurz, CEO of Nowadays, emphasised that MBFW and therefore also BFW will continue to take
J’N’C News got the lowdown. // Interview: Cynthia Blasberg
Many fashion insiders still see Berlin as the creative hub for high fashion and are constantly emphasising the city’s relevance as a fashion capital. But some events, like the Berliner Salon, unfortunately couldn’t keep up. And large numbers of professional visitors have been enticed away by the tradeshows. What needs to happen so that the industry continues to see Fashion Week in Berlin as relevant?
First of all, I welcome the open dialogue and think it’s important that we talk about this subject. In the future, the date of Berlin Fashion Week will have a significant effect on its success or demise. For example, a while back we decided to cancel the Berliner Salon due to the scheduling clash. It simply makes no sense to hold an internationally oriented format with our first-class German designers parallel to Paris Fashion Week or the haute couture shows. I am assuming that we will be able to define a suitable common date with future trade fair organisers. But I’m not convinced that we had a large intersection of visitors with the previous tradeshows. For one thing, the visitor numbers from the buyer and retailer category were never really representative, and for another, the labels participating in MBFW were no longer represented at the fairs so they didn’t have much overlap with the tradeshow guests. Perhaps I should emphasise once again that MBFW and, back in its day, the Modesalon have both worked well as marketing platforms. First and foremost, it’s about establishing initial contact early on between the designers and press representatives, and also about showcasing the latest collections. And secondly, the photo and video material of the fashion shows and presentations are used throughout the entire season by the designers to present their brands and collections. Otherwise we would have established both formats as hybrid platforms, but there was never any demand for that from our participants.
Alongside MBFW, how do you envisage the future of Berlin Fashion Week? What would be the best way to rethink the concept?
Let’s put it this way: I think that we have proven often enough in the past that we are in a position to create plenty of convincing arguments for a visit to Berlin. With MBFW, the Berliner Salon, a Fashion Hub at the Berghain nightclub
or with the About You Fashion Week last summer. And we also sensed there that the visitors, consumers, press
and buyers were looking for multifaceted experiences so they can take plenty of inspiration and new ideas home with them. It is precisely this idea that we want to continue driving forward and developing. What’s next in fashion? Tradeshows or interdisciplinary experiences for a wide, yet multifaceted audience? We shouldn’t forget that the visitor numbers of MBFW, AYFW and the Berliner Salon matched up to those of the fairs, but our visitors were of
course a lot more diverse.
What other factors play a role in putting together such events?
Berlin Fashion Week and MBFW in particular showcase our country’s best talents in fantastic presentations. I hope
to work with partners who are open to the idea that off-shows are extremely valuable. I would love it if everyone – politicians, retailers, journalists, stylists, marketing managers and designers – would work on one joint concept with the same passion. A concept that is dedicated to the most important future topics of our time. Above all:
sustainability, digitalisation and the direct path to the consumer. We are living in an era of information,
where people are asking where collections come from, where they are manufactured
and by whom, and whether this kind of consumption is aligned with their own ethical values. These
are challenging times, there’s no doubt about that. But they are also times of creativity and new beginnings. We
have recognised that and will be using it to our advantage.