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MBFW BEAUTY LOOKS: Eli by Elias Rumelis

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For this season’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Armin Morbach, creative director of Schwarzkopf, has created extraordinary hair and make-up looks for five participating designers. We captured the styling process in short step by step videos – starring here: Wioleta Psiuk

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ELI by Elias Rumelis

Collection Recap

How do you go through the process of reinvention without losing your core self? Designer Elias Rumelis can certainly say a thing or two about that. Informally known as the godfather of denim, the designer has launched multiple brands over the course of his career – each with a slightly different focus, yet always remaining true to his vision. His latest addition: ELI by Elias Rumelis, a new line that just launched globally at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin. The line aims to showcase the designer’s vision on a more personal level, to let his imagination run free and away from the mainstream: “It’s not about having something special in your wardrobe. It’s about feeling special.” For his new label, Elias Rumelis also plays with contradictions and the idea of ownership by using the tag lines #NeverOwned and #AlwaysYours. The brand is deliberately promoting the pieces’ occasion-less qualities – they are meant to be worn whenever, wherever. Sticking to his perfectionist nature, Elias Rumelis commissioned his partner ateliers with a special task: not to produce a sample collection, but to craft a couple of the “unrealizable” designs by hand. The label’s mission is clear: “ELI by Elias Rumelis is designed to become yours beyond ownership. It’s made to take pride in being one-of-a-kind, in order to create impressions that last beyond a garment’s lifetime.”

Watch the full ELI by Elias Rumelis show AW21 here.

instagram/eli.by.eliasrumelis

elibyeliasrumelis.com

text by Kelly Niesen

edited by Melissa Frost

featured image: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MBFW

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Orsola de Castro, founder and global creative director of Fashion Revolution

“The real change I see is in the young designers”

Interview // Orsola de Castro

Fashion Open Studio, an initiative of Fashion Revolution, is entering Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin for the first time this season. MBFW Berlin talked to Orsola de Castro, founder and global creative director of Fashion Revolution, about Berlin’s creative potential, the challenges small brands face and a cultural shift taking place in the fashion industry.

 

What did you expect when you decided to bring Fashion Open Studio to Berlin?

Well, I expected to find a certain sense for sustainability. My understanding of Germany is that the citizen’s understanding of sustainability – and demand for sustainability – is pioneering compared to many other European and global cities. We have not had this kind of cooperation with a city or a full fashion week so far. So in that sense, it feels like a very right place for us to be.

How do you assess Berlin’s creative potential?

For me the potential of a city like Berlin lies in its rigor – you know sustainable brands are rigorously accepted by the mainstream public, which maybe we don’t see so much in the UK. And it lies in its youth, the sense that it is attracting a lot of innovation when it comes to new brands. You also immediately think of Berlin and some kind of freedom…creative freedom, expressive freedom. And I like that smaller brands are appreciated. You do not need to be massive. But I was told in Berlin the word “small” sort of connotates “unprofessional,” and I really don’t mean that. I mean small in the best possible sense of the word – as in small, with a conscious and considerate growth plan. That’s what I consider small: not someone who intends to somehow dominate the entire world, but is happy with a more paced and gentle speed and size for the brand. That’s what I mean. And I think that Berlin recognizes these different sizes, respects them and gives them equal visibility to many other more mainstream counterparts.

»We come from a system that divides one against the other, so it’s considered helping the competition to share your research with another designer. But if you actually put together two emerging designers, it's the opposite: Things multiply rather than becoming divided.«

You once stated in an interview that the future is for small brands…

I am bored stiff of H&M and Zara and Gucci and Michael Kors and every street in the world looking the same. Right now, forty brands hold 97% of the market. I do not want to see this anymore. I want one million brands holding 100% of the market and I want those little brands to be different in each area where they come from.

You work a lot with small brands. What do you personally take away from the mentorships you are involved in?

First of all: Teachers are students. We are learning as we teach. To be honest with you – I sound like some fairytale witch – they are my lifeline. They are the only reason I can believe that my work is possible. It is not just that they need me, we need each other – that fits perfectly to finding a solution together. So I can use their energy to keep believing in it and I can pass my experience to them to make things.

What common challenges do brands aiming for a sustainable or philanthropic approach face today? 

Their main challenge is staying alive and selling a product at a time when it is difficult to put that product under everybody’s nose – a time when the competition is unbeatable. But what is interesting is that there is not one common denominator. Everyone faces a different journey, and therefore different challenges. And this is why, in a way, we are breaking apart those challenges with Fashion Open Studio – maybe one designer is looking for more sustainable leather, but then another one has just found that more sustainable leather but they are looking for better communication. You know we come from a system that divides one against the other, so it’s considered helping the competition to share your research with another designer. But if you actually put together two emerging designers, it’s the opposite: Things multiply rather than becoming divided. This is a cultural shift in this industry, but these younger kids are more prepared to do that.

»As a citizen, I would like to say yes, I want to “buy, buy, buy” to support dignified paid jobs, living wages for the people that are making that product.«

So it is basically about changing a mindset?

I think it’s simply about sharing resources and it happens in other industries, too – fusion food brings together all sorts of different areas in one place, musical artists sampling other artists. For me, blending into each other is a sign of strength rather than a sign of weakness. The beauty of Fashion Open Studio is to see how willing the designers are to support the new ones that are coming in. Giving your time, your resources, your materials to the younger ones…you just see the world in a really different way.

We spoke about designers and their ability to promote change. Let’s talk about consumers. Researchers say that Gen-Z and Millennials are buying differently…

Yeah, in terms of buying there is definitely hope, because the cyclical nature of fashion implies that what was absolutely overrated yesterday is going to look like shit tomorrow. So there is inevitably going to be a backlash against the fast, the cheap, the too-much. I think that there is going to be a massive shift in that. The real issue is that there is an urgency. We cannot wait for this actual shift to happen as a trend. We need to enforce laws and regulations in order to make it happen faster.

In this context, is transparency the most important accelerator for change?

Transparency is literally step number one. So if you are a concerned citizen, if you are somebody that wants to scrutinize, that is your first step. To have an opinion, you need to study. You need to find out if you believe a brand, if it is making credible statements. And it’s about changing our habits completely.

This is what we’ve needed to do in many ways due to the current pandemic. What impact has Covid-19 had on the fashion industry?

Covid was like the big magnifying lens. In the UK, we had the story of Boohoo – this brand paying garment workers in Leicester 29 pence an hour in broad daylight to make clothes that cost 2 pounds. And there were more examples. I think that was Covid: It kind of exploded, with all of this becoming visible. But at the same time, I think there is an oxymoron in fashion, as with everything. The minute we were out of the past lockdown, every government was saying: “Buy, buy, buy! Spend, spend, spend!” To kickstart the economy. It is a very confusing message, which is why it is important to get it absolutely right. As a citizen, I would like to say yes, I want to “buy, buy, buy” to support dignified paid jobs, living wages for the people that are making that product. There is no sense in “buy, buy, buy” to make certain companies even richer. So that “buy, buy, buy” is fine – but show me where that money is going.

Last but not least: Fashion Revolution was founded eight years ago. What have you accomplished? Are we going in the right direction?

We really woke people up for sure. We wouldn’t take all the credit for it, as it’s not just ours to take, but we were certainly part of a growing movement and we just got it right from the beginning. The branding we used, the fact that we were so open, the communication – we were quite accurate and inclusive in what we discussed. We have a massive global presence in 92 countries, so in terms of citizens’ awareness I feel that we have accomplished a lot of positive steps. What can I see in terms of real change? The real change I see, which is proof enough for me, is in the young designers. Because if these guys are coming out 100% revolutionaries from minute one, then something has been done.

 

fashionrevolution.org

fashionopenstudio.com

text by Sophia Steube

edited by Melissa Frost

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Mercedes-Benz presents Tom Van der Borght 360°

Virtual Reality Experience

MBFW presents selected shows and installations as a virtual reality experience. We believe, this format is an important component for future digital fashion experiences.

View the runway show of Tom Van der Borght, presented by Mercedes-Benz, at Kraftwerk Berlin as a virtual visitor.

The 360° film is developed and realized by ARTVISIT.

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SALON TALK: MARIE HEIN & ANNE ISABELLA RASMUSSEN

Checking in: How much Fun is Fashion?

In the third and final DBS Salon Talk, Marie Hein, freelance journalist and former fashion features editor at Vogue Germany, speaks with up-and-coming Danish-French fashion designer Anne Isabella Rasmussen.

Anne Isabella Rasmussen launched her eponymous label in Berlin in October 2020. She completed her master’s degree in fashion/womenswear at Central Saint Martins and gained experience at Kenzo and Jil Sander. Most recently, she worked for Courregès, whose fashion she greatly admires. In September 2020, T Magazine listed her as one of the “5 Emerging Designers to Watch this Season.” Her designs are influenced by vintage references from the 60s and 70s, taking a sustainable approach and working with upcycled materials.

In conversation with Marie Hein, she talks about her experience starting a fashion brand under pandemic conditions and developing a collection solely through digital means. She also shares thoughts on the future of fashion.

Watch the full talk here.

anneisabella.com

instagram/anne___isabella

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MBFW BEAUTY LOOKS: Kilian Kerner

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For this season’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Armin Morbach, creative director of Schwarzkopf, has created extraordinary hair and make-up looks for five participating designers. We captured the styling process in short step by step videos – starring here: Riccardo Simonetti

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(A Day) Through My Phone: PB 0110


Diary

By now it seems quite natural to capture small slices of our everyday lives in pictures – it’s almost automatic. We took the occasion of MBFW Berlin as an excuse to ask some designers to make a point of it – and, of course, to share some exclusive insights into their daily work routine. One of those designers is Philipp Bree from PB 0110.

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1. I start almost every day with a bike ride through nature, about 30 min. During this ride I sort through my thoughts, take a breath and always discover something new – an infinitely important part of my workday.

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2. Part of my collection concept is inviting in different designers whose work I appreciate. It’s not a short term marketing idea – I have been working with designer and artist Ayzit Bostan for 8 years. I admire her gift of sensitive interventions. For the new collection, I asked her to design an interpretation of a Japanese sacoche bag. This bag is called AB 112, a combination of the initials of the designer and a number.

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3. A sacoche bag is characterized by the fact that it is very light, worn close to the body and has space for your most important personal items.

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4. We created the bag in a vegetable-tanned leather from a Belgian tannery that has been involved in sustainable tanning for more than 170 years and has been awarded with the Gold Standard of the Leather Working Group.

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5. The challenge in implementing the design was to find the right thickness of material, so that the zipper flow runs smoothly while keeping the bag as light as possible.

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6. It is made in a great factory in Germany and will already be available in three weeks. This is new for us – there are normally 4 months between presentation and launch. It is a good time to rethink. The model will be presented for the first time at DER BERLINER SALON x MBFW. We will start showing our completely new AW 21collection on the 4th of February. Please be in touch here: p.bree@pb0110.com

PB 01110 shows select pieces from the latest collection at GROUP EXHIBITION in DER BERLINER SALON × MBFW.

Find out more about PB 0110:

pb0110.com

instagram.com/pb0110

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MBFW Beauty Looks: Rebekka Ruétz

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For this season’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Armin Morbach, creative director of Schwarzkopf, has created extraordinary hair and make-up looks for five participating designers. We captured the styling process in short step by step videos.

Staying In…

FaceTime Photo Shoot by Søren Jepsen

During international fashion weeks, Søren Jepsen can usually be seen photographing inspiring street styles from all over the world. He founded his website The Locals back in 2007 to share these photos.

But since Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is digital this year – with no visitors for the first time, and therefore no street styles – the photographer ventured an experiment in collaboration with MBFW Berlin: He photographed well-known street style figures within their own four walls via FaceTime – in their favorite stay-at-home looks. The results – individually depending on lighting conditions, internet connection and quality of the smartphone cameras – can be found in this gallery.

MBFW Berlin would like to thank Søren Jepsen and the 15 participants who made this project possible – Alyssa Cordes, Julia Dalia, Sonia Lyson, Anaïs Eleni, Anuthida, Richy Koll, Elisa Schenke, Kevin Elezaj, Sylvia Haghjoo, Anh Poenix, Frankie Miles, Lois Opoku, Masha, Sarah Schaefer, Jacqueline Zelwis

Photos: Søren Jepsen/The Locals
Special thanks to Anna Peuckert

https://www.instagram.com/thelocals/?hl=de

https://thelocals.dk/

 

Concept & Production: Sophia Steube

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Rebekka Ruétz

Collection Recap

Designer Rebekka Ruétz decided to present one cohesive annual collection for her eponymous label. Merging two seasons – the Spring/Summer 2021 collection placID and the Fall/Winter 21/22 collection reSET – into one, her show was influenced by the events and challenges of the past year. “We are all being forced to go new ways, to slow down, to see everything from a distance. This offers us a possibility to rearrange things, to re-prioritize, even to reinvent ourselves,” the show notes stated. The designer took further inspiration from the Zillertal, a picturesque Tyrolean valley ideal for hiking and skiing. Presenting calm, down-to-earth looks that fit the theme, the Spring/Summer pieces reference the forest, dandelions, mountain lakes and playful mushroom spores. The designer incorporated upcycled orientation maps from the region, mixing them with colored denim and mesh. Soothing colors such as moss green, eggshell white and night black are complemented by burnt violet, blue and khaki – vibrant orange and lush green provide contrast. Relaxed silhouettes and unstructured shapes strengthen the underlying attitude of both collections. The Fall/Winter reSET pieces are dominated by “invitingly sublime and majestic yet formidably distant” images of mountains, but also by images of tracks in the snow “as a sign of human existence.” Comforting materials such as cotton and wool are the predominant choice, while fake fur is introduced as a symbol of animal protection. The colors: midnight black, cold-bleached beige and crisp white complemented by mountain blue, forest gray, snow white and raven black. To conclude, the show notes stated that “the pieces […] cannot save the world, but will focus on the beautiful and thus ease our everyday.”

Watch the full Rebekka Ruétz show AW21 here.

instagram/rebekkaruetz

rebekkaruetz.com

text by Kelly Niesen

edited by Melissa Frost

featured image: Jenny Haimerl

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