The second edition of The Berlin Fashion Summit 202030 focused on Circular Systems (how to think and design positive impact? With lots of discussions around circular economy), Local Ecosystems (how to organize and foster positive impact? ), and Valuation Systems (how to define quality and measure impact?).
The first summit day will be focusing on the question of how to implement positive impact in fashion and how to bridge the gaps to enable healthy and safe, circular, regenerative, eco- and human-centered fashion systems.
The second summit day will examine the Berlin sustainable fashion ecosystem and showcase what is needed to strengthen local fashion businesses and stakeholders to strive for a sustainable future, pre-competitive collaboration and more effective local networks with positive impact goals.
The third summit day will explore which science-based systems and tools are needed to enable holistic quality standards for positive impact products and processes that include all connected influences and that enables comparability as well as smart strategic decision making – and how to measure it.
Sustainability, circularity, innovations, were key topics discussed by experts from different branches of the fashion industry.
Three days was full of industry insights, inspiration, some practical, other philosophical, but all concerned about the future, in thought-provoking panels and discussions moderated by Geraldine de Bastion (Konnektiv, Global Innovation Gathering), Max Gilgenmann (studio MM04).
We picked our main favorites ideas and future-focused impulses.
Prof. Dr. Sebastian Sierra-Barra -Media Anthropologist from the Protestant University of Applied Sciences Berlin inspired the audience with his keynote “Fashion and the Anthropocene”.
He suggested a co-evolutionary approach by asking not only how people produce textile and fashion, but also how textile and fashion produced people? During our evolutionary processes, when we invented the needle, the sewing machine, till contemporary cases of VR, all these changed who we are.
We invented rules, gestures, our body has changed to adapt to these changes. As such, textiles and fashion change us as well. It is time to ask not also, how culture and social relations evolve depending on how we invented fashion?
Often people ask “What should I wear to save the planet?” and a lot of effort went into raising questions about production, supply-chain system, but there is an entire system that needs to be challenged.
Many discussions are still focusing on nation-state economies, not only the modes of production have to change, and it is not only about textiles and production, it is about redesigning economies, markets, and production in general. And, indeed, we have to agree with dr. Sierra-Barra that Redesigning markets is definitely a huge task for the future!
Prof. Kate Fletcher from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London, one of most-cited experts in the field of fashion and sustainability, took the stage as well, highlighting that change is necessary.
The fundamental problems we face nowadays (for example, climate change) are not only technical problems. So focusing on solving the technological problems – such as fixing the supply chain, increasing transparency, replacing toxic materials with more natural materials – might not be enough to solve bigger challenges.
We need to rely on theories of change; on one hand, what science, technology, and management need to change; on the other hand, reimagining structures and organizations that shape our life and start to think differently about our life, considers Prof. Kate Fletcher.
She pointed out that “People begin to see the massive opportunities that there will be when they are beginning to explore what the earth needs and what is fashion there” encouraging us to ask “What does the Earth need fashion to do?”.
The Futurist Matthias Horx from the Zukunftsinstitut Horx gave the audience an outlook on the future which should be about abundance – nature is not about scarcity, but abundance.
Thinking about the future, he suggests a methodology of backcasting, meaning “go to the future, and see it, and then think how we need to solve problems to get there, so our thinking should not be about prognosis, but regnosis.
Technology is about systems, and our current systems are not very intelligent, especially fashion – we are buying stuff that ends up in the garbage – it is not fun and it is not very good – so, we have to think differently, warns Matthias Horx. The Human-Nature relationship needs a rethinking, we need new materials. And he also acknowledges that fashion is about Beauty – we should not neglect and deny it and run around clothes that are 100% recycled.
All this over-phenomenon – over-tourism, over fashion, over-eating, etc- is not very productive, so we need to go back to the systems.
Matthias Horx concludes that “good design in a broader sense, not only the surface design, would also work everywhere in the world. Because the scale of the connectivity, of the dialogue between humans and nature is universal”.
Orsola de Castro from Fashion Revolution started with her keynote “Local culture – glocal impact”. She highlighted that clothes are not only about materials and designs, but also represent our values, our principles.
“In 1970, you could recognize an Italian down the miles, and yet now, we are all the same, we buy from the same brands from the same streets”. But, she optimistically encourages us to reconnect with ourselves through fashion:
“Let’s bring back the innovation, let’s bring back the small, let’s bring back communities! Let’s find the people in the organizations that really put us in touch with our soul, with our soil.
Let’s make stories with the clothes that we wear, and really use them to describe what we feel and our individualism as people!” We should also come together and do what needs to be done, to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, concludes Orsola de Castro.
Christine Henseling from the Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment showcased in her presentation “Circular City Berlin” how circularity works in Berlin.
Researched and examined startups, companies, designers in the field of circular practice, highlighting innovative business models. but in most cases textile production is a linear process, only 1% is recycled in a way that new clothing is created from them.
The research identified 4 different circular strategies and practices:
1.Lyfe cycle designing (redesigning the product and service);
2.Extension of the lifetime of products (re-use, repair, etc);
3.Intensification of use (sharing, products as a service),
4.Re-use of materials ( upcycling, retro-logistics).
She concludes that in Berlin, a diverse innovation landscape has emerged for circular fashion, but these options have not yet reached the mainstream of consumers.
Kim Scholze from Sympatex with her keynote “Chemistry of fashion – quality and impact” claimed that “There will be a new blue ocean, and this is sustainability”.
The end product needs to be thought through from a different perspective. And this will be the full power for all of us, this being a huge opportunity to share solutions from all sides involved – manufacturers, retailers, designers, etc.
Michael Braungart from EPEA – Internationale Umweltforschung about the question of “How to value and measure true quality?”. Michael Braungart argues that we should refocus on the beneficial, positive impact of our activities. He argues that we can make a positive, instead of a negative environmental impact by redesigning industrial production.
Celebrating abundance and what are the beneficial and positive impact of our activities should be the focus, and we can measure this.
A focus on minimizing impact might be detrimental to us.
He highlighted that we need a different mindset. “Let’s talk about being good, and not less bad!” As such we could celebrate abundance, generosity, pleasure, humans, empathy, that we are happy to share with others!
202030 — THE BERLIN FASHION SUMMIT is a cross-disciplinary platform, where avant-garde creatives meet industry stakeholders for constructive critical debates on the future of fashion. The aim is to bridge the gap between existing sustain- ability innovations and solutions with the industry’s need for pragmatic transformation guidelines and to envision tangible new alliances for new value chains for a sustainability-trendsetting future of fashion.
202030 — THE BERLIN FASHION SUMMIT was organised by :
Studio MM04 is a Berlin-based creative strategy consultancy with an international network that supports companies and organisations in shaping their future with a radical passion for fashionable aesthetics and profound sustainability expertise. Known as pioneers and experts in their field for more than 10 years, studio MM04 creates new solutions for the fashion and textile industry.
Sqetch is an innovation agency and IT company that connects fashion brands with producers and suppliers worldwide on their B2B online sourcing platform sqetch.co and helps them establish transparent supply chains. With complementary R&D programe and innovation formats such as hackathons and showcases, they support the digital and sustainable transformation of the fashion industry. Sqetch is based in Berlin and Amsterdam.
The Beneficial Design Institute is a design research and development institute for holistic innovations in fashion and textiles. It stands for a positive cultural change that combines quality, innovation and beauty with sustainability in a global context.
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