Supporting and enhancing fashion designers across Europe
A suc­cess­ful Euro­pean collaboration

UNIT­ED FASH­IONBERLIN FASH­ION WEEK

United Fashion Event

Unit­ed Fash­ion land­ed for the first edi­tion of the for­mu­la of show­room-work­shop-net­work­ing for a selec­tion of Euro­pean inde­pen­dent fash­ion designers.

YOUNG EURO­PEAN TALENTS 

Unit­ed Fash­ion was an oppor­tu­ni­ty to shed light on 9 tal­ent­ed fash­ion design­ers from Europe. The Unit­ed Fash­ion Show­room on Pre­mi­um host­ed 2 brands pre­sent­ing acces­sories: Daniel Essa with its unique lux­u­ry sneak­ers brand based in Lille, France, and the Brus­sels and Lon­don-based Ashiq Stu­dio pre­sent­ing its leather pieces which are metic­u­lous­ly hand cut and sewn from Ital­ian veg­etable tanned leather. Next to it you could dis­cov­er HNST (pro­nounced as hon­est’) and their sus­tain­able jeans, Nika Ravnik and her time­less­ness ready-to-wear col­lec­tion, the fem­i­nine and sophis­ti­cat­ed wardrobe of Philippe Péris­sé, the casu­al sil­hou­ettes of Keta Gut­mane, the irre­vant style of Patrick De Pad­ua, the play­full and fem­i­nine col­lec­tion of Sofi­ja Uru­mović, and final­ly Hor­ror Vacui with their fine night wear inspired gar­ments of Anna Heinrichs.

GER­MAN MARKET

Fash­ion Coun­cil Ger­many, the part­ner that host­ed Unit­ed Fash­ion dur­ing the Berlin Fash­ion week 2018 organ­ised a work­shop on the Ger­man mar­ket for the select­ed Euro­pean design­ers with the sup­port of Source­book. The fea­tures of the Ger­man mar­ket also apply to the Ger­man-speak­ing DACH mar­ket – Ger­many, Aus­tria and the Ger­man-speak­ing part of Switzer­land. It is a wealthy ter­ri­to­ry of near­ly 100 mil­lion peo­ple, where cus­tomers spend mon­ey on fash­ion (4th posi­tion in terms of pur­chas­ing impor­tance after vaca­tion, elec­tron­ic devices and food). It is seen as a demand­ing mar­ket, con­ser­v­a­tive and at the same time look­ing for nov­el­ties. The mar­ket for niche prod­ucts has indeed grown strong­ly in the past two years. Nev­er­the­less, the eclec­tic style that peo­ple often asso­ciate with Berlin is nei­ther rep­re­sen­ta­tive nor main­stream in Germany. 

A top cri­te­ri­on for the DACH end-con­sumer is the high qual­i­ty of the prod­uct both in the way it is pro­duced, and in the mate­ri­als used. Hav­ing more con­scious behav­iours, their inter­est in sus­tain­abil­i­ty shouldn’t be over­looked. They demon­strate a grow­ing inter­est in the ori­gin of cloth­ing (its mate­ri­als, the pro­duc­tion con­di­tions, cer­tifi­cates & labels…). With Insta­gram and inter­net in gen­er­al, end con­sumers are more informed. As a pos­i­tive con­se­quence, it offers more oppor­tu­ni­ties for small dar­ing col­lec­tions. Nev­er­the­less, propos­ing some basic and func­tion­al pieces will also allow you to answer the needs of the more clas­sic customers. 

Regard­ing the rela­tion with your B-to-B cus­tomer, your col­lec­tion should meet high qual­i­ty stan­dards, pro­pose impec­ca­ble fit (Ger­man women being taller), and must be deliv­ered in time. Peo­ple know each oth­er in the sec­tor, and they would rec­om­mend work­ing with you or not depend­ing on your pro­fes­sion­al­ism. Your rep­u­ta­tion is of cru­cial impor­tance, so you should be well-pre­pared and organ­ised if you want to do busi­ness in the DACH coun­tries. As a final tip make sure you pro­pose a coher­ent col­lec­tion, and, if need­ed, select a reduced one (eg. max­i­mum 50 pieces) instead of a full col­lec­tion when approach­ing the market.

FASH­ION­SUS­TAIN CON­FER­ENCE

Dur­ing the con­fer­ences Fash­ion­TECH and Fash­ion­SUS­TAIN, the Unit­ed Fash­ion group was giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to attend keynote speech­es, a pan­el dis­cus­sion and case stud­ies address­ing the two cen­tral top­ics of the Berlin Fash­ion Week: sus­tain­abil­i­ty and tech­nolo­gies in the fash­ion sec­tor. As from the open­ing speech of the Fash­ion­SUS­TAIN con­fer­ence, the atten­tion was giv­en to trans­paren­cy, espe­cial­ly when refer­ring to the val­ue chain, and to inno­va­tion. Anoth­er recur­rent point in the dis­cus­sions was the impor­tance to favor a holis­tic approach when you devel­op a sus­tain­able prod­uct. As Tom Duhoux from HNST sum­ma­rized every deci­sion you make in terms of design has an impact on a spe­cif­ic aspect of the life cycle of your prod­uct. Not only is the respon­si­ble sourc­ing of raw mate­ri­als impor­tant these days, but also how we process these, which colourants and addi­tives we use and the impact this pro­duces on the usage phase or end-of-life and recy­cling phase.”

Marte Hentschel, Sourcebook’s founder and CEO, guid­ed the group through the Green­show­room trade fair (becom­ing NEONYT as from 2019). The sus­tain­able fash­ion sec­tor is clear­ly evolv­ing towards a broad­er diver­si­ty: more choic­es in the mate­ri­als used, more motifs and pat­terns, a rich­er range of solu­tions, etc.

FASH­ION­TECH CONFERENCE

The dis­cus­sions dur­ing the Fash­ion­TECH con­fer­ence large­ly addressed the top­ic of the con­sumers’ habits and expe­ri­ence online. Under the provoca­tive title Tech­nol­o­gy is not (well – rarely!) the answer”, James Ham­mer­s­ley from Good Growth explained why it is impor­tant to find out why poten­tial con­sumers stop the shop­ping process pre­ma­ture­ly (the inten­tion to buy being often three times high­er than the con­ver­sion ratio). To do so you should ask your cus­tomers why they are on your e-shop, if the expe­ri­ence is suc­cess­ful, and if not, why?

Ste­fen Hoff­mann shared his dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence with Out​letc​i​ty​.com. The cen­tre­piece of his strat­e­gy is to offer an end-to-end cus­tomer jour­ney, mean­ing before, dur­ing and after the expe­ri­ence of a prod­uct. It goes from a mobile app offer­ing park­ing help and scor­ing func­tions to inspi­ra­tional pic­tures on their social media. They also use arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence (AI) to set up a dynam­ic pric­ing solu­tion linked to the num­ber of vis­its and habits of the customer.

Fash­ion is not only about online shop­ping. Var­i­ous com­pa­nies from the fash­ion and tech­nol­o­gy indus­try pre­sent­ed in an exhi­bi­tion area their lat­est devel­op­ments, wear­ables, inno­va­tions and busi­ness solu­tions with a spe­cial focus on leather and shoe wear.

Unit­ed Fash­ion will be back in Berlin next Jan­u­ary 2019 show­cas­ing 9 oth­er Euro­pean fash­ion design­ers, offer­ing work­shops and net­work­ing moment. The call will be launched in Sep­tem­ber 2018. Stay tuned!