JEANSWEAR & CONTEMPORARY FASHION
N° 80 / 2–2020
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A WORLD OF CHAOS? THE FASHION INDUSTRY AS WE KNOW IT IS ON ITS WAY OUT — TIME FOR A RESET
I CO N I C PA N T S
R E VO LU T I O N A L PA N T S
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EDITORIAL JNC-NET.DE & @JNC_MAGAZINE
We, and by ‘we’ I mean every single one of us, are currently experiencing a paradigm shift that we could never have envisaged. We are in the middle of a global crisis. We’re living in a pandemic. We’re all f****d! Or are we? After all, it’s down to us to find out whether ‘c’ is for crisis or for chance – and while we’re busy doing this, it’s perfectly fine to admit that we’ve all found the past few weeks to be tough, really tough in fact. When news of the COVID-19 virus first emerged in Europe at the beginning of the year, we were still in a phase of blissful ignorance. But after the denial came the major shock; after the major shock came the lethargy; and after the lethargy came hope, followed by an urge to bounce right back into action. Welcome to the most absurd year that we could have ever imagined and welcome to issue #80, which feels like it was put together in a surreal realm somewhere between regular everyday life and Armageddon. But what is it we want to provide you, our readers, with this issue? The answer is optimism, routine and also food for thought. After all, how are we supposed to continue with business as usual when everything has been turned on its head? How many Zoom calls can compensate for a chat around the water-cooler? Which topics should we report on, and which ones are already old hat by the time we’ve checked our e-mails the next morning? One thing’s for sure: we’re being inundated with more and more news notifications by the hour. It seems like there’s no end to the questions and the uncertainty. There is clearly a real need to talk, and open communication hasn’t been this important for a while. Now is not the time to keep up the façade; transparency is required. Tradeshows, the epicentre of the industry, are being especially hard hit by the coronavirus crisis. Due to government restrictions, one date after the next has been cancelled and therefore also important lifelines of the fashion business. In our tradeshow special from page 74, you will find a far-reaching look into the future of this industry sector. We also spoke to Munich Fabric Start’s Sebastian Klinder about visionary ideas and the importance of trade fairs (page 78). And in an interview on page 81, Frédéric Bougeard from Texworld Paris also explains why relevance doesn’t actually have anything to do with the tradeshow format. As many of us are asking ourselves what the new normal will be, author Karolina Landowski is seeking the answers in our cover feature from page 24. And from page 64, you can also read my musings on how the world will carry on turning after the crisis. Whether we want it to or not: the fashion industry needs to change, especially as we are currently seeing just how fragile our system is. Let’s put these new insights to good use. Oh, and yes, if you ask me, ‘c’ is definitely for chance…
Stay healthy and strong, Cheryll Mühlen & team
SEE YOU ONLINE. Social distance doesn’t mean social silence — that much is clear. As media partners, we know that things aren’t easy for anyone right now. Us included. Every day we are inundated with news stories and sobering developments on the COVID-19 front. So what should we be reporting on during these turbulent times? What should we make sure doesn’t get pushed to the side? And where will ‘normal content’ have its place? On jnc-net.de we want to keep you regularly informed about the fallout of COVID-19. We certainly don’t want to ignore the virus, but nor do we want to make it the focus of all our content. So online, you’ll still find news of exciting collections, new lifestyle topics, important sustainability news and everything else worth knowing in the fashion world. We’ll keep you updated and give a voice to people and brands who have something to say, always making sure we concentrate on solutions, not problems. Together with you. Our digital hub made up of our webazine, Instagram profile and Co. is your daily dose of creative and informative content. And so, from now on, we’ll also be sharing our magazine articles online with you in German. We look forward to your visit. See you there. #staypositive
BITS & PIECES
14 BRANDS Genesis Footwear, Façon Jaçmin, Die Monde, Nathalie Ballout 18 MOST WANTED Humour Noir, New Balance, Zamt, Marc O’Polo, Hi-Tec, Danner Boots 24 COVER FEATURE
CRISIS OR CHANCE?
28 COVER SHOOT
44 BRAND INTERVIEWS Iskur, Isko, Merz. b Schwanen, Camel Active, 080 Barcelona, Wouter Munnichs, Fattore K 64 BUSINESS AS (UN)USUAL? HOW A PANDEMIC IS FORCING CHANGE 68 DENIM TRENDS Isko, Bossa, Candiani, Iskur, Kilimdenim, Calik Denim 76 DIGITAL TRADESHOWS & SHOWROOMS COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: VALENTIN MÜHL OUTFIT: COS, LEVI’S, KOMONO
82 INSIDER OPINION NDL Naveena
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BITS & PIECES
CALIFORNIA JEANING CITIZENS OF HUMANITY After having their heyday in the 2000s, bootcut jeans are almost considered a fashion sin these days. Despite this, the chances of a comeback in the 2020s are looking quite good — that’s if you ask Citizens of Humanity, who are featuring the classic cut in their AW20 collection. Earthy nuances in combination with loose silhouettes are setting the tone of their 70s reminiscing and, as well as casual cuts and vintage denim, the focus is also on sustainability. The label from Los Angeles manufactures all their garments in their own production facilities, which means the quality of each and every product gets checked by them personally. But the AW20 collection is ramping things up a notch: from washing with highly innovative technologies, which saves 50 percent water, chemicals and energy, to the fabrics like organic cotton, Tencel and biodegradable polyester, down to the packaging with polybags that are also biodegradable, the Californian jeans label is setting new sustainable benchmarks — while always retaining its carefree, retro vibe. CITIZENSOFHUMANITY.COM
DON’T WASTE WASTE LIKE A DREAM
ESPRIT What began in the 90s with a debut sustainable collection under the name Ecollection is now part and parcel of Esprit’s daily business. But with their sustainable capsule collection entitled Esprit & Earth Colors by Achroma, the fashion label is taking things one step further. The collection pieces from the AW20 collection are produced using innovative and patented dyeing technique EarthColors by Achroma, which means that the pieces from the capsule collection are dyed with non-edible waste from the agricultural or herbal industries. Unlike many conventional dyeing methods, this particularly gentle technique has no negative effects on further steps in the dyeing process, such as the water or energy consumption. The collection consists of 11 casual basics made of organic cotton such as cotton shirts, laid-back shorts and roomy trousers and accessories.
YUME YUME ‘Yume’ means ‘dream’ in Japanese. And the flip-flops and sandals by Yume Yume really are a dream in the most literal sense of the word. The shoe label draws its inspiration from traditional Japanese sandals, but gives the style a modern touch with striking, vivid colours like sunshine yellow and scarlet red. The playful vibe is also reflected in the double straps and contrasting laces. Key styles include platform sandals and traditionally Japanese flipflops. The label is updating the traditional aesthetic, bringing it into the here and now — effectively bridging the gap between old and new. Dreamy!
FULL TRANSPARENCY AMENDI In the midst of today’s sustainability movement, transparency is more important than ever. And Julia and Andreas Åhrman, founders of Swedish newcomer label Amendi, definitely agree. But what makes the Swedish green fashion brand so unique? All pieces in their collections come with fabric tags that declare what the item is made of, its water usage, a cost breakdown and even the estimated number of people who were involved in harvesting the raw materials, the production and the delivery. Transparency at its best. AMENDI.COM
MINDFULNESS IN MIND GIVN BERLIN There are already quite a few successful green fashion players bringing nonchalantly cool green fashion to the people. Givn Berlin is one of them. Modern design and sustainable values define the label from the German capital. Their fair working conditions and environmentally friendly materials are setting new benchmarks. And even after more than a decade, Givn Berlin still creates their ladies’ and men’s fashions with sustainability in mind — and the same goes for the current AW 20 collection. Under the theme of ‘Mindfulness’, soft fabrics and modern cuts meet casual silhouettes and earthy tones. STOFFBRUCH.COM
LONDON CALLING COLOURS & SONS The capital of England has a lot to offer. London is one of the biggest, most exciting and also most diverse cities in Western Europe. It is vibrant and modern and now also the source of inspiration behind the AW20 collection by Colours & Sons. Their winter collection is inspired not only by the urban life of the fashion metropolis, but also the lively seaside town of Brighton, which is also where the photo shoot for this year’s AW20 collection took place. The collection’s colour palette is also based on these two contrasting locations. As far as prints go, the key looks are defined by diverse reinterpreted jacquard jumpers, cardigans with a colour gradient and sweaters with floral prints.
COMFORT MEETS CONVENIENCE ARYS Functionality meets fashionable minimalism at Arys. The Berlin label is also staying true to its minimalistic style for the AW20 season and combining linear, functional designs with statement colours. Expressive ‘Alarma Red’ adds a burst of intensity to the otherwise muted tones of the collection. Equipped with innovative materials and clean tailoring, the lined coats are the ideal companion for the stormy season. The inside lining is made of recycled PET bottles, with the label also staying true to its ethos of comfort and functionality: all pieces from the AW20 collection come with clever practical details like concealed pockets, detachable hoods or magnetic fasteners. ARYS-BERLIN.COM
KILL THE CHILL CANADA GOOSE X Y/PROJECT Glenn Martens, Creative Director of Y/Project, has a very clear idea of winter, which he is presenting in his six-piece capsule collection in collaboration with Canada Goose. His vision includes deconstructed mini dresses and cardigans with abstract patterns and prints, as well as oversized parkas, sweaters and hats. Asymmetrical detailing dominates much of the collaboration, which takes the Canada Goose classics to the next level – such as the new interpretation of an otherwise conventional parka with dangling straps and a layered hood, or a puffer jacket with a concealed button snap button closure that lends itself to unconventional styling.
BITS & PIECES
DENIM FOR LIFE CROSS JEANS Casual streetwear looks, cool denim classics and minimalist styles with smart details: the AW20 collection by Cross Jeans offers everything that denim lovers could pos sibly wish for. The denim label is getting this autumn/winter season off to a great start with four collection lines: Modern Nomads, Essentials, Like a Rock Star and Monochrome. Comfortable cuts and cool copper detailing add perfect finishing touches to the Modern Nomads line. Casual streetwear styles in a sporty, timeless style define the Essentials collection while shirts with striking prints and blouses are complementing the jeans label’s regular product range. The ladies’ Like a Rock Star collection features leather jackets and on-trend, used-look jeans, which are edgy and suitable for everyday wear at the same time. Timeless basics meet minimalistic looks with a modern twist in the Monochrome line. Thanks to the variety of styles and washes, everyone will find their perfect pair at Cross Jeans. CROSSJEANS.COM
BASICS WITH A TWIST GREENTEE German eco fashion label Greentee has the perfect basics — as proven once again with their AW20 collection. Greentee has specialised in combining creative style with responsible production methods. The styles from the current AW20 collection are also made from 100 percent certified organic cotton. Fair production and social responsibility are also part and parcel, as the clothes are made in a small Polish sewing factory. Instead of plastic bags, the ‘basics with a twist’ come in bags made of apple paper from South Tyrol — good for your conscience, good for the planet. GREENTEE.WORLD
DONDUP Italian brand Dondup has managed to stay true to its traditions and core business of denim and is paying homage to the all-round fabric with its current AW20 collection. The Denim Tribute collection boasts details like a label with the brand logo, gold appliqués and gold buttons and also includes key pieces like a parka, bomber jackets and jeans in Mum, Regular and Slim Fit. The jumpsuits and bustier tops in the all-over denim look add a distinctly modern touch to the AW20 collection.
PRINGLE OF SCOTLAND Inspired by a piece they spotted in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, Fran Stringer, Design Director of Pringle of Scotland, and her team travelled to the town of Sanquhar to discover more about its unique knitting traditions and incorporate some of them into their AW20 collection. Fun fact: Sanquhar became famous in the 18th and 19th centuries as a source of knitted socks, gloves and mittens in variations of a locally developed black-and-white pattern called Dambrod, as well as variations of traditional tweed patterns. The result of their trip? Archive pieces from the 50s reinterpreted in cardigans and jumpers that represent both the traditions and new fashionable takes on Scotland’s famous knitwear.
DOUBLE THE COMFORT FUCHSIA SHAW Loungewear is now socially acceptable and that’s totally fine by us! The whole jogging pant trend means that our former Sunday-only uniforms are now seeing the light of day during the week too, enjoying plenty of stylish fashion moments in public – provided, of course, that the quality is right. Cashmere and soft modal are turning even the most casual jogging suits into true statement pieces. Newcomer label Fuchsia Shaw, which was founded by designer Amy Shaw in 2018, offers precisely such pieces. Every collection is produced in limited editions. And thanks to the androgynous cuts and casual silhouettes, their cool, contemporary jog pants, hoodies and sweaters can easily be worn beyond the traditional fashion seasons.
THE RIGHT ECOISM
LANGERCHEN Climate change is the existential issue of our time. The younger generation is tackling the problem with a sense of urgency and questioning how the world’s resources are being used. And fair working conditions and a responsible approach to resources are certainly not a given in the textile industry either. LangerChen, on the other hand, has been acting responsibly since day one — by only offering jackets and coats made of sustainable materials. Just like their AW20 collection where function meets urban styles. Unisex bomber jackets, parkas and puffer jackets, as well as the other pieces from the ladies’ and men’s collections, are dominated by classic cuts in combination with functional eco materials. Together with their sustainable and fair corporate philosophy, their priority is on innovative details along with the perfect fit and performance.
FOCUS ON INDIVIDUALITY CHARLES & KEITH Fashion is a form of self-expression, which is why style and personality are inextricably linked. Inspired by the concept of individuality, the AW20 collection from Charles & Keith reflects the unique style and personality of every modern woman. With geometric bags in all shapes and sizes, the collection is refreshingly modern. The current AW20 collection features pieces like colourful sneakers with seethrough effect, woven sling-back heels in powder blue and a see-through bag with statement buckles, which were presented by fashion aficionados including Isabell Tan, Erika Boldrin and Nicole Wong at New York Fashion Week. CHARLESKEITH.COM
HELLY HANSEN It all began in 1877 when Captain Helly Juell Hansen coated his clothing with wax to protect from the harsh Norwegian elements. The coating prevented the garments from getting soaked through at sea. Soon afterwards, Captain Hansen set up a business offering waterproof oilskin jackets, trousers and tarpaulins made from coarse linen soaked in linseed oil. Over a century later, the label is synonymous with cool outerwear and nostalgic streetwear vibes. And Helly Hansen are now looking back on this success story by digging deep into their archives for the AW20 collection. The collection is inspired by the E-352 Offshore Survival Suit, which came onto the market at the end of the 90s. It was originally designed for fishermen, riggers and rescue services who worked in the Arctic and other coldwater conditions. But there’s no need to venture out in the rain in the name of fashion: we’re happy to report that the collection looks just as good on dry land.
BRANDS N° 80
THE GREENEST OF THEM ALL GENESIS FOOTWEAR Sneakers are probably the most comfortable and currently most hyped status symbol of them all. But the choice of eco-friendly models out there isn’t exactly endless. And that’s where Genesis comes in: a German brand that produces sustainable and fair sneakers, focusing on social commitment, sustainable materials and production along the entire manufacturing process. Their kicks are made entirely from vegan leather, which is sourced from the leaves of the tropical elephant ear plant and is currently one of the most innovative and environmentally friendly materials around. Detailing is made from other waste products and the sole is at least 40 percent natural rubber. The shoes are manufactured in sustainable and fair production conditions for the workers. And even the sneaker boxes are made of 100 percent recycled cardboard without the use of glue and, to make future recycling even easier, they are printed with water-soluble ink. You can’t get much more sustainable than that. /ad GENESISFOOTWEAR.COM
FAÇON JAÇMIN The Olsen twins, the Rodarte sisters, Kendall and Kylie Jenner… quite a few successful fashion companies are run by siblings. Alexandra and Ségolène Jaçmin are another pair of twins who set up a fashion brand together – with resounding success. Their denim label Façon Jaçmin was established in 2016 and named ‘Best Talent of 2016’ by C’est du Belge / RTBF that same year and ‘Best Emerging Talent’ by the Belgian Fashion Awards one year later. Denim, the colour blue and feminine silhouettes are the key elements of the Jaçmin twins’ designs. Dedicated to providing the adventurous and confident woman with suitable clothing, they are completely shaking up the female wardrobe with their reinterpretations of classic designs. Add Japanese premium denim to the mix, which they use exclusively in all their collections, and craftsmanship, and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what the brand is all about. The word ‘façon’, by the way, is derived from the French word ‘façonnier’, where the English verb ‘to fashion’ in the sense of ‘make’ comes from. The sisters felt it was important to emphasise the brand and craftsmanship behind each denim item. /ad
BRANDS N° 80
THE RISE OF STOCKHOLM STREETWEAR DIE MONDE If Parisian chic was once the crème de la crème of fashion as far as styling is concerned, Scandi style has increasingly become a top source of fashion inspiration in recent years. But in addition to modern chic, the Scandinavians are also mastering the art of street style and imbuing it with their own nonchalant, laidback vibe. Like the Scandinavian duo behind fashion brand Die Monde, for example. Diversity, integration and creativity are the foundations of this Stockholm-based streetwear company, which was founded in 2015 by Angelo da Silveira and Kevin Mukuri. By combining streetwear items like waist bags and utility elements with a timeless and minimalist design and casual silhouettes, they aim to create classic and well-designed garments with a unique style. And it looks like they might be onto something: this year, Kevin Mukuri has already teamed up with streetwear giant Nike to create a limited Nike React edition. /ad DIEMONDE.COM
NATHALIE BALLOUT Reduce, recycle, reuse: the three Rs have defined recent fashion seasons like never before and an increasing number of aspiring designers are turning one (wo)man’s trash into another (wo)man’s fashion treasures. Like Nathalie Ballout, for example, who buys old, unwanted denim garments by the box, re-dyes them and turns them into artful collections. The half-Swedish, half-Lebanese designer was born and raised in Dubai before venturing to London to pursue her passion for art and design. After graduating from the London College of Fashion in 2015, she set to work on her second collection, which made its debut in March 2016. With a focus on denim, her material of choice is used pairs of Levi’s, which she recycles, transforming discarded jeans into fresh, innovative and unique garments. Nathalie Ballout’s distinctive style goes hand in hand with her passionate belief in a more sustainable future for the industry. /ad
PHOTOGRAPHY VALENTIN MÜHL PRODUCTION CHERYLL MÜHLEN
MOST WANTED can be that such a high-quality bag HUMOUR NOIR Did you know Humour paper? Well, now you do! cled recy and cork of out made t always have proving that ‘it’ bags don’ Noir is leading the way in iml ‘Glor y’ satchel bag not only smal r Thei d. crow the w to follo sustainable but also from the inside with ide, outs the from ses pres gold-plated organic cotton. A 24-carat jade-green lining made of the utthis Most Wanted Piece with clasp and trinket round off le shoulder it comes with a detachab most sophistication. And cork. Bravo! strap, also made of smooth
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MOST WANTED N° 80
ZAMT Allow us to introduce… My ra! She “spreads hap piness”, as it say s in the product des cription in the onl ine shop. And we can definitely see how . The unusual shape alone will make you instantly fall in lov e with this bag. Han dmade in Portugal from 100 percent pure vegetable-tanne d leather, ‘Myra’ is not only an absolute must-have becau se of the way it looks, but also because of the ethics behind its production. And as it can be car ried both as a cro ssbody and a handba g and has a spacio us main compar tm ent and a zip po cke t inside, this bag by Zamt really is the stuff that dream s are made of. As we ll as ‘Natural’, ‘My ra’ is also availab le in the colours ‘Black ’ and ‘Brown’. ZAMTPROJECTS. COM
from your ’re ready to branch out MARC O’POLO If you rent and try out some diffe on ecti coll aker sne beloved d is the recurring loafer tren , nge cha a for ds shoe tren partner loafers are the perfect all, r Afte you. for the one s in particim looks. Cropped style for sophisticated den . Although it smart loafer combos with well very go ular O’Polo from e, this model by Marc has a distinctive shap the trimmany does without all Ger in n che skir han Step er 2020 l look. For autumn/wint asua rt-c sma a for gs min it a try and black or burgundy. Give it is available in either step out in style!
HI-TEC Think you know them all? The sneaker ma rket is booming and supplying us with a stead y flo w new, but also of familiar styles . But is Hi-Tec, the br and with a ric h he ritage, on your radar? If not, it definitely should be! Let us dr aw your attention to this model fro m the Hi-Tec Heritag e Retro series: the BW Infinity, show n here in a re d-beigeblack combo. The running model from 1989 is still a hybrid between a trail and run ning shoe, bu t we think its popularity may be mainl y down to its fashio n credentials. That’s right, thanks to its comfort an d original func tions , our Most Wa nted is also ideal for parading aroun d town. Be prepared to attract ple nty of admiring glances !
denim are a match made DANNER BOOTS Boots and red-laced ‘Mountain Light’ in heaven. Just like Danner’s good pair of jeans. The US model combine d with a g shoes, which have also brand is renowned for its hikin ess off the beaten advenbeen celebrating their succ t’ time now. ‘Mountain Ligh ture track for quite some of boots for more than 30 have been a reliable pair is made by hand in Portyears now. Ever y single pair leather, Vibram Kletterland, Oregon from full-grain of Gore-Tex liners. And lift outer soles and waterpro e deserve to be cherished because originals like thes er offers recrafting serfor many years to come, Dann cement, leather care and vices including parts repla re-stitching.
CRISIS OR CHANCE? An entire industry is on the brink of burnout. Supply chains, the timing of the seasons and even the very significance of fashion are being thrown into question by COVID-19. Is this collective standstill precipitating a reduction in consumption and sustainability, or is it triggering the exact opposite – an extreme pent-up demand? An attempt at a review. TEXT KAROLINA LANDOWSKI
Between the pre-coronavirus world and the post-coronavirus world. It is on precisely this knife-edge that we find ourselves right now. Our world is at a turning point that no one knows how long will last, let alone what will come after it. The global simultaneity, the collective experience and the all-encompassing magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented – and began robbing our industry of its very raison d’être from the outset. “Who on earth is interested in clothes at the moment?” was the question being asked not only by my entire circle of friends, but also professionals like fashion retailers, trade fair organisers and brand owners during the initial state of shock. To begin with, it was all about keeping calm, remaining vigilant and taking care of one another. The initial panic was then followed by tangible measures: first Zoom conferences and local delivery services and then government bailouts. From one day to the next, the already strained partnership between manufacturers and retailers was put to an existential test – outcome unknown. Deliveries and wage costs became a question of moral integrity. Companies like Adidas and Deichmann announced they would be withholding rent payments for their currently closed stores, while CEOs like Kering’s FrançoisHenri Pinault and Puma’s chief executive Bjørn Gulden declared that they were personally taking a pay cut. Denim brands like Levi’s started collecting donations, while sneaker labels like Nat2 and New Balance switched over their production to maskmaking. Suddenly, nothing was the same. And looming over all of this, the unavoidable question: do we really want to go back to what we had prior to the crisis, the ‘before’? Even if
a glimmer of hope is gradually emerging with the reopening of stores and the easing of strict curbs on social contact, the biggest challenges still lie ahead of us. The forced slowdown will inevitably be followed by a detox period. And only then will we move into the time after, the post-pandemic era.
SEASONS Along with closed production facilities, disrupted supply chains and orders being cancelled left, right and centre, we are also seeing the common industry ailment of surplus goods and a real consumption backlog in the retail sector. And it’s obvious what that means for spring/summer 2021. Warehouses – on both sides – are full to the rafters. Now that people in selfisolation have had time to declutter their wardrobes, entire new collections will have to be quickly downsized, meaning that there will have to be a focus on bestsellers for the time being. Blithely swamping the market with products now seems so 2019. Instead, brands have decided to take large sections of their current summer collections into the spring/summer 2021 season. They are slamming the brakes on new developments, shrinking collection lines to the bare minimum and building on what they already have. Closed-down factories in China and Italy are only now gradually starting to resume operations so the delivery of goods will be delayed. International tradeshows have been postponed by months. A shakeup of the seasons is on the agenda – affecting everything from the ordering process to the delivery. After years of constantly overtaking itself, the fashion industry now has the once-ina-lifetime opportunity to recalibrate. Displaying discount summer dresses next to newly arrived down jackets when it’s 30 degrees outside seems more ridiculous than ever. July orders? Currently unthinkable. It will be a challenge not to simply flog off summer goods on the cheap, but instead to figure out a joint strategy involving producers, brands and retailers for the restart. Side by side, hand in hand.
COVER FEATURE N° 80
PHOTO ISTOCKPHOTO.COM – NYCSHOOTER
Like a ghost town — With everyone hunkered down in their homes, usually buzzing tourist hotspots like Times Square in New York are now more or less deserted.
CONSUMERISM Even the seemingly obvious prognosis that e-commerce would profit from the closure of bricks-and-mortar retail with online sales of fashion has turned out to be unfounded in recent weeks. The coronavirus crisis is resulting in high losses, even for big players like Zalando. In the first quarter of this year, Zalando slipped into the red and expects its adjusted EBIT to be in the range of minus 90 million to minus 110 million euros. “It’s not as if people are now sitting at home and ordering clothing online. On the contrary: the figures show that people’s priorities shift dramatically when they’re stuck at home,” says trend analyst Carl Tillessen from the Deutsches Mode-Institut (German Fashion Institute). According to him, fashion is primarily about how you look when you’re out and about, and not how you look when you’re sat at home alone. “So in the fashion industry, apart from a few manufacturers of lounge and yogawear, there are actually only losers in this crisis and no winners,” says Tillessen. Hope is found in the fact that, even in extreme situations, online could never be a real substitute for offline. Fabrics need to be felt, trousers need to be tried on and personal style consultation is better when carried out face to face. If they want to maintain consumer solidarity, retailers should make sure they practice their “We’re here for you!”
IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY, APART FROM A FEW MANUFACTURERS OF LOUNGE AND YOGAWEAR, THERE ARE ACTUALLY ONLY LOSERS IN THIS CRISIS AND NO WINNERS. preaching in the future too. From window shopping at a distance via Instagram Stories and delivery by bicycle courier – the coronavirus has proven just how creatively small, local retailers have been able to deal with the shock of the global shutdown. Improvisation skills and creativity will continue to be highly valued in 2021.
Pretty much the whole world seems to be WFH (working from home) right now. Inspiration for the design process has been sought online instead of on trips, virtual meetings have brought decision-makers all over the world closer together and in the end everyone has realised that it does surprisingly work. But why didn’t all this happen sooner? The fact that digital solu-
tions will hold more sway in the future is one thing we have all learnt from this crisis. Collection handovers with fittings and being able to touch and feel fabric swatches will never completely replace digital meetings in the future but do offer an alternative that can help brands to reduce travel expenses and react faster to current fashion trends. “On a daily basis we are currently realising that things we thought had to be done in person can also be carried out remotely: office work, meetings, presentations, grocery shopping, school lessons, university work, even drinking coffee together, partying, buying clothes, personal style counselling, fashion shows, order appointments and even fashion fairs, congresses and Fashion Weeks. In all these areas, precedents have been set and none of them will fully revert back to how they were before,” says Carl Tillessen.
THE FACT THAT DIGITAL SOLUTIONS WILL HOLD MORE SWAY IN THE FUTURE IS ONE THING WE HAVE ALL LEARNT FROM THIS CRISIS. And why should they? Especially now that we are seeing how well improvisation works. How quickly we can reinvent ourselves and how much technology can simplify processes. And that imperfection is not to be confused with unprofessionalism, but can, in fact, be extremely endearing.
ZEITGEIST What a hark back to the past! The renaissance of talking for hours on the phone, the surge in popularity of puzzles and board games that are flying off the (online) shelves, record numbers of people watching the six o’clock news and improvised drive-in cinemas are bringing a touch of nostalgia to a privileged middle class. Millennials all over the globe are discovering the joys of baking, cooking, DIY and gardening. And all of that is giving them a greater sense of fulfilment and purpose than a new pair of brand-name jeans ever could. Li Edelkoort described the coronavirus as a “blank page” for humanity, an urgently needed new beginning, a “quarantine of consumption where we will learn how to be happy just with a simple dress, rediscovering old favourites we own, reading a forgotten book”. A prediction that garnered her criticism for being too biblical and presumptuous. So will everything just carry on as before? Not if you ask the Zukunftsinstitut (German Future Institute): “The coronavirus is bringing widespread change, the crisis is initiating a radical process of renewal: the 2020s will go down as the decade of resilience,” it says in their whitepaper. Nostalgic childhood memories, cocooning and escaping into nature are accompanying themes that will be further intensified by the coronavirus. Consumer movements like pre-loved fashion are being given a real boost by the pandemic. In detail, Edelkoort said that local industries and activities would gain momentum along with farmers’ markets and street events, dance and singing contests and a very dominant DIY aesthetic – DIY not as pastime during lockdown, but as a design element for collections.
FASHION But what will fashion be like in spring 2021? It should be sustainable and uncomplicated and, more than anything, exude two things: ease and optimism. Overly wild flights of fancy and stylistic leaps are not expected. Instead, most brands are concentrating on the development of authentic and sustainable materials that make sense ecologically, as well as on essentials that exude a sense of tradition, timelessness and endurance. A subdued neutrality in colours and patterns will be key. Here’s an example: at Closed the most sustainable answer to the pandemic is unwashed ecru denim as a replacement for white denim, which is always bleached. A complete head-to-toe ecru look is ultra-cool and also very natural at the same time. Despite this, in the foreseeable future people will still want to dress up, throw post-lockdown parties and present their most recent
A SUBDUED NEUTRALIT Y IN COLOURS AND PAT TERNS WILL BE KEY. shopping hauls on Instagram. In addition to the stylistic ‘slowing down’, particularly expressive looks as a way of rebelling against the threat of recession are predestined. “At this point in time, no one can say when the crisis will be over or when people will start buying clothes like they used to again. But what we can say with certainty is that – when the time comes – this will happen very quickly,” says Carl Tillessen. Studies on people’s behaviour in crisis situations – during the SARS outbreak in 2003, for example – show that consumption takes a V-shaped form. Which means that to begin with, the uncertainty associated with the onset of a crisis causes consumption to plummet. “But as soon as the crisis seems to have been overcome, it increases again just as quickly – mostly even to a higher level than prior to the crisis, as this phase is defined by a huge pent-up demand,” says Tillessen. This is also known as ‘revenge buying’.
Pre-coronavirus, the industry was moving in a direction of sustainable, transparent and fair production. So by bringing the fashion carousel to an abrupt halt, is the crisis a fire-starter for sustainability? Yes and no. Once this is all over, consumers are likely to become more and more concerned with reducing their consumption (voluntarily or not) and will go out of their way to support sustainable brands. At the same time, the industry’s efforts will be thwarted by an impending recession. After all, in the future even the most idealistic customer may simply no longer be able to afford the more expensive jeans made of organic cotton, so they will opt for the cheaper pair from Primark instead. Nevertheless, sustainability needs to remain the prevalent theme of the denim industry and keywords like transparency, fair trade and, of course, sustainability have to make the shift from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a ‘must-have’. But retail prices of sustainable products should only be slightly higher than those of conventional products. And customers may require more information about the complex topic of sustainable production. It’s time to move towards fewer, higher quality products, completely biodegradable fashion and even more urgently: new basics! After all, one of the most sustainable things brands can do is to make beautiful clothing that lasts.
POST-PANDEMIC The good news is there will be a time after the coronavirus. The bad news is that nobody really knows what it will hold. Trend analysts like Carl Tillessen have a more pragmatic view of the future: “Some people are saying we will become more mindful and less materialistic after the crisis. Others are claiming that people will shop more sustainably or fairer, or start showing loyalty to local, independent bricks-and-mortar stores once more. And fashion will no longer be fast, but slow again... All of these forecasts may sound rosy, but they are also irresponsible, because they are based on nothing but wishful thinking. Corona is not a fairy godmother, but an extremely aggressive virus. And it’s not fulfilling any of our wishes but thwarting our professional and private plans.” The direction that is taken in the next few months will have a lasting impact on the years to come. According to the German Future Institute, the first phase of destruction will be followed by a phase of opportunities, during which the extent of change will depend on the creativity, identity and speed of each and every individual. It’s now or never! And the process will, at best, ultimately end in a phase of innovation, adaptation and new models for society and the economy. Otherwise, we run the risk of falling back into old modes of cut-throat competition that would be even tougher than before. AC or BC? The choice is ours.
PHOTO ISTOCKPHOTO.COM – KIRKIKIS
U T O P I A
PRODUCTION CHERYLL MÜHLEN STYLING LUCIO LUPACCHINI GROOMING HOLGER HOELKESKAMP USING PRODUCTS BY LEONOR GREYL & SMASHBOX MODEL DOMINIK @ NOTOYS
JACKET & JEANS CALVIN KLEIN SHIRT & SCARF COS SNEAKERS LEVI’S
PHOTOGRAPHY VALENTIN MÜHL
ALL JEWELLERY BY JANE KOENIG
DENIM SHIRT AJOBYAJO T-SHIRT DR.DENIM
JACKET LEVI’S SHIRT ESPRIT SHORTS DR. DENIM SUNGLASSES KOMONO SHOES FILIPPA K. SOCKS ASOS
HAT & JEANS CLOSED SHIRT DR. DENIM SNEAKERS HOKA ONE SOCKS ASOS
JACKET LEVI’S T-SHIRT DR. DENIM
YELLOW REVERSE COLLAR SHIRT, JACKET & SANDALS LEVI’S JEANS CLOSED SUNGLASSES KOMONO SOCKS ASOS
JEANS LEVI’S DENIM JACKET CLOSED BANDANA STYLIST’S OWN GLASSES KOMONO
T-SHIRT & CROSSBODY BAG LEVI’S JEANS DR. DENIM DENIM JACKET CLOSED
DENIM SHIRT, TROUSERS & HAT CLOSED T-SHIRT STANDARD PROJECT
BLAZER COS BUCKET HAT & SLIDERS LEVI’S SUNGLASSES KOMONO
SUSTAINABLE DENIM IN FACTS & FIGURES TEXT CYNTHIA BLASBERG
For a long time, denim was considered the dirtiest segment of the fashion industry because of the negative environmental impact caused by its production. Even now, a conventionally manufactured pair of jeans made with normal cotton uses up huge amounts of water and toxic chemicals and is anything but environmentally friendly. But the denim sector is now pioneering a whole host of innovative and progressive eco-friendly processes. We asked a number of conventional brands and eco, fair fashion labels to give us an insight into their sustainable denim processes. The highest level of transparency was provided by the green fashion brands, while the conventional brands chose not to disclose their absolute figures and some even turned down the opportunity to participate for various reasons. Nevertheless, we think the facts and figures speak for themselves. And although the conventional brands are still keeping a low profile in this respect, they are declaring clear goals and developing sustainable ranges. So it seems that after blue, all signs are pointing to green.
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
PHOTO MUD JEANS
1 PAIR OF JEANS
REQUIRES AROUND 1 KILO OF COTTON
1 KILO OF CONVENTIONAL COTTON
REQUIRES AROUND 10,000 LITRES OF WATER
Especially in drier regions, the water consumption rises to levels as high as 25,000 litres per kilo.
PHOTO KINGS OF INDIGO
FROM THE PLANTING TO THE FINISHING. Source: UN
ORGANIC COTTON CAN MEAN A WATER SAVING OF 40%, BY USING FURROW IRRIGATION FOR EXAMPLE. According to sources like the British Soil Association, organic cotton reduces
water consumption by 91% compared to conventionally grown cotton.
PHOTO KINGS OF INDIGO
PHOTO MUD JEANS
THE FACT IS: IN COMPARISON TO CONVENTIONAL COTTON, ORGANIC COTTON SAVES A LOT OF WATER.
When talking about water consumption in denim production, it usually includes the finishing processes like dyeing, washing and bleaching. Here, sustainable methods
use an average of 60% to 70% less water.
FOR RINSE DENIM
FOR STONE-WASH DENIM
FOR ECO BLEACH DENIM
30% OF MANGO WOMAN’S JEANS COLLECTION WAS PRODUCED WITH ORGANIC AND RECYCLED COTTON.
0.3 litres evaporates during each washing process. All water used is cleaned and re-used.
An average of 25% water was saved during the production by using Ecowash technology and new laser technologies for the finishing processes.
FOR DIP BLACK DENIM
FOR SUN STONE DENIM
(litres per pair)
49% OF MAVI’S TOTAL DENIM PRODUCTION IS CARRIED OUT WITH LASER AND SUSTAINABLE WASH TREATMENTS.
An average of 530 litres is needed to make one pair of Mud Jeans, including the water consumption of organic cotton.
KNOWLEDGE COTTON APPAREL
LESS WATER WAS USED COMPARED TO LAST YEAR.
FOR RINSE DENIM
FOR LIGHT BLUE DENIM
(litres per pair)
All water used is cleaned and re-used. Vacuum-compressed washing is used, which minimises water usage. Raw washes require zero water.
OF WATER IS SAVED DURING THE DENIM FINISHING PROCESS THANKS TO THE USE OF ‘WATER<LESS’.
OF LEVI’S PRODUCTS HAVE BEEN PRODUCED WITH ‘WATER<LESS’ TECHNOLOGY SINCE MARCH 2019.
In 2020 the brand aims to raise this to 80%. ‘Water<Less’ is an innovative range developed in-house by Levi’s.
“These figures are so staggeringly low because of the water treatment and recycling plant that our laundry Yousstex Wash has in place. Our USP is that all our jeans contain between 23% and 40% post-consumer recycled jeans. Old Mud Jeans are transformed into new Mud Jeans. And to do this, we apply the principles of circular design where all components of the jeans are suitable for recycling and no waste is created throughout their entire lifecycle.” Dion Vijgeboom — CEO & co-founder of Mud Jeans
(litres per pair)
ECO & FAIR FASHION BRANDS
TRIMS AND MORE Sustainability is not just a question of water consumption of course. The devil is in the detail, such as the yarns, patches and buttons. It’s often these components that ensure whether or not the brands receive certifications such as Peta-Approved Vegan, GOTS, Oeko-Tex and GRS (Global Recycled Standard). Aspects that are a matter of course for eco and fair fashion brands are now also of increasing interest to conventional brands.
KINGS OF INDIGO
WHAT IS …?
FACTS — Metal buttons and rivets from Metalbottoni are made from recycled metal “We have products certified with many of the usual standards, including GOTS, BCI, Oeko-Tex, GRS and others. All the different definitions of ‘sustainability’ and opinions on what is ‘sustainable’ create a lot of confusion – for consumers, designers, and even sustainability professionals. We launched ‘For A World That Works’* prior to making commitments to product certifications because we want to make sure everything we commit to is meaningful.”
— Waistband patches are from recycled jacron or recycled PET from Euromark — Paper tags are recycled — Woven labels from recycled PET — Organic cotton or recycled PET pocket — Peta-Approved Vegan, GOTS, OCS, GRS, Member of the Fairwear Foundation
Roian Atwood — Senior Director of Sustainability at Lee & Wrangler, Kontoor Brands *Editor’s note: The programme was launched by Lee. ‘For a World that Works’ is based on the Jeans Redesign Guidelines of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, but similar premises also apply to Wrangler.
WHAT IS …? V550 NO WASTE THANKS TO CRADLE-TO-CRADLE STRETCH G-Star recently announced the launch of its ‘most sustainable’ jeans ever, which were awarded the Cradle-to-Cradle Gold certificate. That means that the styles in this collection are completely recyclable. Organic cotton, the absence of harmful chemicals, the indigo dyeing process – all these aspects are essential for the C2C award. But things get complicated as soon as stretch fabrics are involved because you’ll find 2% stretch even in the ‘most sustainable jeans ever’ and it’s from Roica. The fibre goes by the name of V550 and is one of Roica’s Eco Smart products.
WUNDERWERK FACTS — Metal buttons have no sheet metal coating and come, for example, from Wuppertal — All yarns and fabrics are organically cultivated and for the most part GOTS-certified
— For all ingredients and acces sories, Wunderwerk follows the IVN-Best Standard
— Peta-Approved Vegan
NO ADDITIONAL WATER CONSUMPTION The Indigood foam dyeing technique does not require water, contains 89% fewer chemicals and uses 65% less energy than comparable conventional processes. The new technology is used by Lee and Wrangler, both of which have been with Kontoor Brands since 2019. The process was initiated by Wrangler, who provided Texas Tech University with early-stage funding and technical guidance for the innovation.
WHAT IS …? KITOTEX 50% LESS WATER AND 70% FEWER CHEMICALS The shells of crustaceans contain a quinine-based substance called chitosan, on the basis of which Italian company Canepa has developed a technology called Kitotex. This technology makes it possible to use 30% less energy, 50% less water and 70% fewer chemicals in the dyeing process. Chitosan is fully biodegradable and helps to purify discharged water. The license for Kitotex is held by Candiani. By the way: since Kitotex is not vegan in the strict sense of the word, alternatives are now being developed in which chitosan is obtained from fungi.
KNOWLEDGE COTTON APPAREL
“Each quarter we bring a special drop with a special innovative concept. Like Re-gen in the first quarter, for example. Re-gen is a Candiani fabric made with 50% recycled cotton and 50% Refibra. That means no new cotton. Our aim is to eliminate virgin cotton from 2025, so using alternative fibres and recycled or manmade materials like linen or hemp. When it comes to washing, our aim is not to use even the tiniest bit of water in the coming years.”
FACTS — All metal trims such as rivets and buttons are made from untreated stainless steel — Small labels are made of cotton — The traditional leather patch is replaced by a print — Organic cotton is certified by GOTS — Recycled cotton is certified by GRS
Tony Tonnaer — founder of K.O.I (aka King of Inspiration)
PHOTO KINGS OF INDIGO
— Indigo and sulphur dye is C2C-certified
MANGO GOALS — Before 2025: 100% sustainable cotton & 50% recycled polyester in all collections and lines — Before 2030: 100% cellulose fibres from controlled origins before 2030 FACTS — Member of BCI (Better Cotton Initiative)
WHAT IS …? RE-GEN NO NEW COTTON Re-Gen was developed by the self-declared ‘greenest mill in the blue world’, i.e. Candiani. The fabric consists of 50% recycled cotton and 50% Tencel-Refibra blend. Tencel and Refibra are fibres made by the Lenzing Group. While the cellulose for Tencel is obtained exclusively from the wood pulp of sustainable plantations, the raw materials used for Refibra are a mixture of cotton residues and the same wood cellulose. Using recycled cotton and the Tencel Refibra blend to produce Re-Gen removes the need for any additional water.
—A ll sustainable materials and production processes are certified in accordance with corresponding internationally recognised standards such as GOTS, OCS and GRS
BRAND INTERVIEWS — ISKUR N° 80
All of Iskur’s facilities use natural, group-owned energy resources.
BRAND INTERVIEWS — ISKUR
KEEPING PROMISES Sustainability plays a major role at the Iskur Group. The Turkish manufacturer makes significant investments in the research and development of renewable energy, resource-efficient processes and the cultivation of their own organic cotton, with the goal of growing exclusively organic cotton on their approximately 2.5 square kilometres of land by next year. To find out more, we travelled (pre-pandemic, of course) to Kahramanmaras˛ in the south of Turkey for a chat with A.Kadir Kurtul, Chairman & CEO, and Ismail Kurtul, Board Member, about promises, family and the next generation.
INTERVIEW CHERYLL MÜHLEN WITH PIERRE D’AVETA PHOTOS MARKUS BRONOLD
BRAND INTERVIEWS — ISKUR
Aside from such efforts, what makes a good manufacturer these days? A.Kadir Kurtul: Our vision is to keep all of our promises — in terms of service and of course while keeping a close eye on quality. A.Kadir Kurtul — the founder of Iskur Group
‘We are water’ is your key campaign for a better and more sustainable future. Can you explain what Iskur Denim is doing in order to reduce water consumption? Ismail Kurtul: We are really focused on recycling and also keeping Iskur green. We are making sustainability a priority as a group but, in terms of denim, the dyeing aspect is one of the most sustainable. The ‘We are Water’ process consumes less water. Before and after, the washing tank is where most water is wasted so we decided to cut out these parts: no washing before and no washing after the dyeing process. This saves approximately 95 percent water.
You are trying to be a fully sustainable company by growing your own organic cotton: using it, then spinning and weaving it, and eventually recycling it as well. Ismail Kurtul: Well, we hope so. Right now, we are saving water from our production and also producing our own energy with windmills. But we also have solar panels and hydroelectric systems. At the back of the factory we have three engines that we generate electricity with, so called co-generation.
You showed us your recycling yarn factory yesterday, saying that you can recycle 25 thousand tonnes every day but want to increase this figure to 50 thousand a day. Do you see more potential in recycling? Ismail Kurtul: Yes, it runs in my family. My grandfather and grandmother used to separate waste in their home. It was like: “This is trash, this is food for the horses, we can make another meal with this.” So, since I can remember, they always recycled and passed it on to my father, who passed it on to me too. That’s what Iskur wants to do with our sector, we want to use and recycle all the materials. There is a big demand for alternatives to cotton-based denim, such as hemp for example. Where do you see the future of denim? Ismail Kurtul: Our first alternative started with recycled preindustrial material, with the residues of the production. And the second one we added as a market and demand post-consumer, now we are alternating it with the hemp. We have a new collection coming out made with hemp yarn. It’s not easy to have it strained but we will have hemp-blended items soon.
Iskur Group owns the Re-Cycle factory. With 1 tonne of Re-Cycled fibre, up to 4,000 metres of fabric can be produced (left). Ismail Kurtul, Chairman of the Board (right)
BRAND INTERVIEWS — ISKUR
Established in 2015, Iskur Denim is an important part of the textile investments of the Iskur Group, which has been dominating the textile market in Turkey for over 30 years.
We already have linen, Tencel and modal. Hemp collections aren’t only being used in denim but also knitwear. By harvesting hemp, we are also saving water because, unlike hemp, cotton needs a lot of water when it’s growing. The industry is talking, informing and being more transparent than ever before. But do you think the fashion industry is actually doing enough for the environment and consumer behaviour? Ismail Kurtul: I don’t think so. I would say there is a growing transparency when it comes to production, but I don’t think consumers are fully ready to understand it. That’s why we want to show them what we do. We shoot clips from inside the factory, we want to introduce ourselves. But some companies say they are doing enough and when you look inside their factories, you see that they’re not actually doing anything at all.
WE WANT TO USE AND RECYCLE ALL THE MATERIALS.
BRAND INTERVIEWS — ISKUR
Reusable yarn waste — What ends up as waste at other textile companies is sensibly recycled and reused at Iskur.
I BELIEVE IN THE NEXT GENERATION AS THEY ARE THE ONES LEADING THE BUSINESS. What’s a possible solution to that? Ismail Kurtul: Insistence is the key. You have to insist, you have to make it familiar. People don’t know enough yet. We have to give them the knowledge.
Speaking of the future, where would you like Iskur Denim to be in five years? Ismail Kurtul: We would like to double, perhaps even triple our production and sell abroad, export. That’s the ultimate goal. Denim will never die. It will grow and also become a technical textile. I recently saw furniture made with denim and Smeg has even made a fridge that looks like it’s wrapped in denim. So there’s still a lot to come. What are you most proud of at Iskur Denim? Ismail Kurtul: We have really good communication with our employees, we are like a family. That makes us very happy. Iskur Denim’s major asset is our team. A.Kadir Kurtul: Yes, Iskur is a good brand that our employees – and also our customers – can rely on. The city can rely on Iskur. We employ 4,000 people. Our suppliers rely on Iskur. But mostly, I’m proud of my son. I believe in the next generation as they are the ones leading the business and helping me. They want to grow and get ahead. ISKUR.COM
Denim for every season
14 - 17 September 2020 the fairyland for fashion Paris le Bourget, France www.texworld-paris.com
BRAND INTERVIEWS — ISKO
FROM LEADER TO LEGEND The denim market is heading in a new direction and extremely functional, sustainably produced fabrics are opening up new avenues. As a pioneer in this field, Turkish denim manufacturer Isko is already way ahead of the game. We caught up with Baris Ozden, the company’s Head of R&D, for a conversation about challenges, sustainability and innovations.
INTERVIEW ANNIKA DUDA
As Isko’s Head of R&D, what are you working on right now? Our main job is to predict future trends and develop the Isko collection in line with our customers’ expectations. The main challenge is that we have to constantly be one step ahead of both our brands and suppliers. So while we are about to launch our new autumn/winter 2021/2022 collection, we are also finalising the upcoming one for spring/summer 2022.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job? Balancing the many aspects involved in the development of new fabrics or new fabric groups. There are a lot of parameters that need to be considered in the process, as new concepts need to look good, differentiate themselves and have a story to tell. They also need to be good from a sustainable standpoint, of course, and if possible, they need to be patentable to protect the innovation they would bring to the market.
Sustainability is the dominant topic in the industry and the technology in that field is continually evolving. How does Isko (and also you as Head of R&D) keep up with that? More than 30 years ago, Isko chose the ‘Responsible Innovation’ path, during a time when this topic wasn’t even on the table yet. We chose to be responsible for
the planet, for our production and for our workers, therefore defining an entire culture and vision that still stands today. Based on the values of creativity, competence and citizenship, our ‘Responsible Innovation’ approach leads us to the development of a responsible production chain, working conditions, products and so on. Isko has grown in line with this perspective, so when sustainability became a leading issue in the fashion industry, we were already doing our part in order to build a better future for generations to come. So we let facts, numbers and data speak for us and our responsible actions, relying on reputable third-party organisations who can report on what we are doing. Besides your commitment to sustainability, what else makes Isko stand out from the crowd? We try to have our responsible signature on all of our developments by relying on our innovative ‘R-Two’ platform, including textile concepts made with a mix or blend of re-used cotton and recycled polyester. When raw cotton is processed into yarn, 10 percent of it is typically expected to be lost as waste. At this stage, Isko differentiates itself by continually tracing and monitoring this loss and reusing the cotton by adding it back into the spinning process. We pioneered this verification process in partnership with our yarn
supplier Sanko and reused cotton is also certified with the Content Claim Standard from the Textile Exchange. Recycled polyester comes from clear plastic bottles or it can come from other certified waste. This is ground into plastic pellets that can then be re-spun into new fibre filaments. This programme is a great example of how reducing and reusing could be implemented in a textile business to improve its environmental performance without sacrificing quality and style. As briefly mentioned, we rely on this for all of our new and improved denim technologies. We are also making progress on a selection of futuristic concepts in the field of wearable technologies and the development of new and different solutions involving raw materials together with our Isko Technology department, which is also part of our R&D centre. What can we expect from Isko in the future? We will certainly continue producing classic denim fabrics and new features for them, but we also plan to focus on technology development for our industry. We will be presenting new technologies, raw materials and techniques to improve every aspect of this business and carry on providing our customers with new stories. ISKODENIM.COM
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BRAND INTERVIEWS — MERZ B. SCHWANEN
FUTURE N OSTALGIA
The story of sustainable brand Merz b. Schwanen is quite a special one: hundreds of years after it was established, married couple Peter and Gitta Plotnicki have breathed new life into the family-run business in the Swabian Alps. And almost everything has remained as it was — especially the aspect of sustainability. Creative director Gitta Plotnicki talked to us about the past, present and future of the brand.
INTERVIEW RENÉE DIEHL
Tell us a little about the company history. Merz b. Schwanen was an old, family-run business. How and why did you decide to bring it back to life? At a flea market in Berlin we came across an original men’s work shirt from the 1920s. We were fascinated by the unusual material, the triangular inserts under the arms and the carefully woven textile label with lettering in fine viscose yarn. And it had no side seams. The brand was originally founded by Balthasar Merz in the Swabian Alps. The invention of the circular knitting machine made it easy to create really comfortable jerseys. Our idea was to produce shirts in the traditional style using the old manufacturing methods
with the same quality – on the original circular knitting machines. That’s how the Merz b. Schwanen brand was revived after 100 years. Since 2011 you’ve been following the sustainable route with Merz b. Schwanen – what made you do that and has anything changed since? Sustainability and social responsibility have always been central aspects of the philosophy at Merz b. Schwanen, even in the early days when it was first founded. Each of our textile products are made with natural materials and top-quality craftsmanship, not to mention honest passion from everyone involved. We con-
tinue to move forward, especially when it comes to the basic tenets of our social, ethical and ecological responsibility, which is reflected in all steps of our manufacturing process: starting with the choice of materials, along the entire production chain down to the environmentally friendly packaging. Where are your products made and which materials are used? The ‘Good Originals’ textiles are still made on 100-year-old, original circular knitting machines in the Swabian Alps. In terms of design, the ‘Good Basics’ line is slightly more modern and produced in Porto. We use family-run sewing factories in Ger-
many and Portugal for the finishing. All materials fulfil the highest standards in all respects. We are also aware of our social, ethical and ecological responsibility toward our suppliers, not just for ourselves. And we use the best quality organic cotton from certified suppliers in Europe. The materials remain in their natural state, making the textiles especially skinfriendly and environmentally friendly. Until now, only the men’s items were made on the old circular knitting machines, but from the coming season parts of the women’s collection will be too. What is it that makes this method of production particularly sustainable? We had so many requests from customers who were interested in these products so we are really happy to be able to fulfil them: from the coming season, our men’s classics will be available for women in slightly modified versions. Using the 30 circular knitting machines for production
needs very little electricity; all of them are run by only one electric motor. You’ve even come up with your very own sustainable washing powder for your textiles – how do you think sustainability can be taken forward? The washing powder, which is particularly gentle on the fibres and skin, is based on natural ingredients, and has been developed for the best possible textile care, ensuring that our customers can enjoy their Merz b. Schwanen products for even longer. The longevity of our textiles is very important to us. In our opinion, one of the definitions of sustainability is ‘the opposite of shortterm’. More than a million tonnes of textiles are thrown away every year in Germany alone. That’s one of the main reasons why we focus on producing timeless and durable garments. If we all enjoy our garments for longer, we can save a lot of resources.
BRAND INTERVIEWS — MERZ B. SCHWANEN
Good basics: Tradition and modernity work in perfect harmony at Merz b. Schwanen.
Let’s take a quick peek into the crystal ball: what challenges and changes lie ahead of the textile industry as far as sustainability is concerned and how is Merz b. Schwanen planning to deal with them? We strongly believe that the significance of sustainability in the textile industry will continue to grow. It makes us happy that there are an increasing number of companies who want to contribute to a better and greener future with their sustainable approach and together we are creating a global community. We are always on the lookout for new opportunities to improve our production methods and make them even more sustainable. We believe that it’s good for everyone and for Mother Earth. And everyone has their own way of contributing: our flatknit producer in Porto, for example, has just had 60 solar panels installed on their roof. Isn’t that great? MERZBSCHWANEN.COM
THE LONGEVITY OF OUR TEXTILES IS VERY IMPORTANT TO US.
BRAND INTERVIEWS — CAMEL ACTIVE
SEE. FEEL. EXPLORE. THE NEW CAMEL ACTIVE “Explore the everyday”. An appealing idea that could hardly be more pertinent in these turbulent times. In keeping with this slogan, Camel Active is currently in the process of reinventing itself. And for its “milestone event” during Berlin Fashion Week in January, the established leisure‑ wear brand went all out, heralding in a new fashion decade that can be seen, felt and explored.
TEXT VANESSA PECHERSKI
Berlin-Friedrichshain, 8 January 2020, inside a former paper factory next to the (in)famous Berghain club. Smartphones at the ready, around 600 guests are taking their seats on benches in a staged outdoor landscape covering 1,400 square metres. Right in the middle is a 175-metre-long walkway on which 50 models are presenting the key looks of Camel
Active’s autumn/winter 2020 collection. But this is no run-of-the-mill fashion show: surrounded by stylised elements of nature including earth, wind and greenery aplenty, the event represents the dawning of a new era for the brand. And so it comes as no surprise that an oversized orange sun is symbolically shining down on the whole scene.
2020: a new beginning But in these times of classic fashion presentation concepts being questioned and turned on their heads, why, of all things, has Camel Active chosen to host a fashion show? “Well, of course we could have put on a classic catwalk show or just left it at an exhibition booth. Admittedly, at a milestone event of this magnitude, we did toy with the idea of postponing it for a while, but the timing just felt right,” explains Volker Weschenfelder, Managing Director of Marketing, E-Commerce & Retail. “With this event, we felt we could mark the beginning of a new era for the brand and, at the same time, also a new decade of truly experiential fashion for our retail partners, press and loyal friends – something to see, feel and explore. But also especially for our new internal structures, which have also been reorganised,” agrees Frank Brüggemann, Managing Director and Head of Production & Distribution, who, together with Volker Weschenfelder, is taking the brand in a new international direction.
The collection on show was the result of a completely overhauled organisational structure, timed perfectly to coincide with the beginning of the year thanks to a significantly streamlined new licensing structure. The overall responsibility for all product groups for Camel Active in Europe is now in the hands of its largest sub-licensee, Bültel Worldwide Fashion GmbH from Salzbergen in the north of Germany. “With the autumn/winter 2020 collection, for the first time we have been able to present the entire collection of outfits for Camel Active womenswear, the footwear relaunch and the development of our menswear with its casual and functional looks,” adds Brüggemann. Never monotonous: the ‘Duality of Life’ “The core message of the fashion show lies in the inspiring outfit combinations and the expressive individual items which – each in their own right – are a 100% representation of Camel Active,” says Weschenfelder. From basic tees to modern blouses, soft knits, floral dresses and iconic outdoor items, the womenswear line – including accessories – has everything you need for a head-to-toe outfit. The menswear section continues to be defined by its classics: field jackets, cargo pants, adventure shirts and outdoor boots.
“The brand has always embodied the idea of exploration. In the past we used to focus on travel a lot, but now we’ve taken the spirit one step further and adapted it to our current ways of living, opening up to a very modern interpretation. The message behind it is that nature can also exist in the city. Our fashion works just as well in the great outdoors as it does in the urban jungle,” says Weschenfelder about the new look and feel of the collection, which certainly couldn’t have had a better the backdrop than an ‘urban jungle’ surrounded by the forces of nature. The theme of the spring/ summer 2020 collection, ‘Duality of Life’, was inspired by the shifting social currents that we are experiencing as a global society right now. This is where contrasting elements and ideas come together, creating a fashionable mirror image. While multifunctionality and seasonally independent looks set the tone, traditional categories are losing their relevance, while individuality, reinterpretations, iconic styles, environmental sustainability and comfort define the styles. To accompany this new direction, for the current season tonal material mixes meet vibrant and optimistic colour blocks, while sporty style elements cross over with workwear
BRAND INTERVIEWS — CAMEL ACTIVE
elements and outdoor references, with individualistic layering guaranteeing maximum stylistic freedom – never obvious, never monotonous. A holistic approach to the future The brand event marked the beginning of the label’s attempt to be perceived and experienced in a new and different way by the end consumer. “The biggest issue is the new licensing structure which represents a large structural change – from now on everything is being run by one pair of hands. What may have been natural for many brands is literally the beginning of a completely different line of approach for us, which will result in our collection message coming across in a much more harmonious way that is easier to direct throughout the entire chain, from the initial idea to the POS,” predicts Frank Brüggemann, who views the future of the brand optimistically and is highly motivated. Volker Weschenfelder also looks back on the brand event and previous developments as much more than a mere marketing coup: “An essential value of our brand is togetherness. “Despite some of them being new to the company, we saw a real team spirit from our staff behind the scenes. By making sure that the event was a symbol of our new beginning, they have laid an important foundation stone for the future of Camel Active,” he sums up with satisfaction. “In addition to extending the collection, we are also planning to expand our channels and achieve growth through internationalisation. In the future we also wish to develop the franchise business, including stores we manage ourselves. The goal is to establish Camel Active as an international fashion and lifestyle brand.” CAMELACTIVE.DE
Leading Camel Active into an optimistic future: forward-thinking management duo Frank Brüggemann and Volker Weschenfelder
THE THEME OF THE SPRING/ SUMMER 2020 COLLECTION, ‘DUALITY OF LIFE’, WAS INSPIRED BY THE SHIFTING SOCIAL CURRENTS THAT WE ARE EXPERIENCING AS A GLOBAL SOCIETY RIGHT NOW.
BRAND INTERVIEWS — 080 BARCELONA FASHION WEEK
BARCELONA, LET’S GO! With its sunshine and mild temperatures, Barcelona is always worth a trip. And if you’re looking for a really good time to head there, try to arrange your next visit around 080 Barcelona Fashion Week, a fashion event that takes place in the heart of the Catalan city. This year’s edition, from 3-6 February 2020, saw around 30 creative free spirits and bold up-andcoming designers present their fashionable creations at the Born Cultural Centre. INTERVIEW ANNIKA DUDA
Paris has always been regarded as the epitome of good taste, but over the past few years cities like Copenhagen and Oslo have also been making a play for the crown. London is creative, multicultural and vibrant, while New York certainly has no shortage of avant-gardist personalities. We are familiar with all the major fashion metropolises whose fashion shows dominate the fashion magazines and Instagram feeds during the international Fashion Weeks. But Spain is also making its own contribution with its annual 080 Barcelona Fashion Week. Barcelona was the last fashion capital to feature some of the most diverse designers who presented their autumn/winter 2020 collections in February. With a fully packed line-up stretching over four days and showcasing both menswear and womenswear, Barcelona Fashion Week once again proved that fashion and style also have their place outside the four major catwalk cities. Here are our highlights.
Laagam Ines Arroyo, Cristian Badia and Diego are the founders of this sustainable luxury fashion label that is even PETAapproved. Great emphasis is placed on female empowerment in their autumn/ winter collection for 2020. Models of various ages, nationalities and sizes presented the collection at this year’s 080. Alongside diversity, the spotlight was also on various textile nuances. Silky scarves in batik looks, pink cord overalls and patchwork denim blouses in peach and rose tones were key pieces of the collection. Love Binetti Love Binetti is another label that presented its autumn/winter 2020
creations before the critical eyes of the front row in the Spanish metropolis. And designer Diego Binetti certainly picked up on the 70s trend that has dominated catwalks for the past few years. With an emphasis on urban chic, the designer focused on androgynous tailoring, oversized trench coats and tweed cords, all celebrating the 70s revival. Prints also made an appearance as geometrical stripes and graphic lines, softened by flowing silhouettes and cosy Sherpa gilets. Pablo Erroz Born in Mallorca’s historical capital Palma, Pablo Erroz has been a member of the Spanish design elite for several seasons now. His studied at fashion industry hotspots including the Instituto Europeo Di Design and Central Saint Martins in London, as well as completing his Master’s degree in Fashion Communications & Marketing, which helped him to develop not only his distinctive look but also to gain a broader view of the industry. He showed off his skills at Barcelona Fashion Week with his AW20 collection. If we had to describe the collection by Pablo Erroz in just one word, it would have to be ‘non-seasonal’. Which is certainly nothing negative. Quite the opposite in fact. The autumn/winter collection 2020 by the Spanish designer offers the ideal outfits for the whole year and perhaps even beyond: timeless chic that can be worn on any occasion. The combination of high-quality materials with plenty of attention to detail and modern cuts ensures a contemporary touch — made, of course, in Spain. 080BARCELONAFASHION.CAT
INTERVIEW — WOUTER MUNNICHS
INTERVIEW — WOUTER MUNNICHS
Freelance denim and retail specialist Wouter Munnichs is already well known as the brains behind popular denim blog Long John. But for over two decades he has also been making a name for him‑ self as a consultant and label founder. In an interview, he told us what surprises him the most about these unprecedented times of crisis. INTERVIEW CHERYLL MÜHLEN PHOTO JENNEKE LUIJMES
We’ve only talked for a couple of minutes, but you already sound to me like a really busy man. Yes, but it doesn’t feel like work, it’s more like a hobby for me; not a 9-to-5 job. I’m constantly busy developing products, thinking about new concepts, reading books, going to events and meetings. It’s just my way of life. You’re a denim guy – everybody knows that. But you’re also the co-owner/co-founder of Butts and Shoulders, a leather brand that is mainly footwear-based. Tell us a little bit more about it. We started six years ago, making our ultimate travel bag from natural, vegetable-tanned leather. Leather kind of has the same key elements as jeans: it becomes more beautiful with age – using it and wearing it adds to its beauty as it turns more of a cognac-brown colour. The first product we ever made was a bag and soon after that we designed our first boots for men. The brand has expanded a little since then, meaning we now have three or four footwear styles, as well as different kind of bags, some belts and wallets. But we’re still quite small and that’s also sort of the core idea. We focus on classic silhouettes; styles that have nothing to do with the seasons or with how fashion changes over the course of a year or two or five. That’s what we really strive to do, which is why we only release the ultimate kind of products that last a lifetime. That’s what I do alongside my Long John activities, which is my main business. Back then, what was it that you thought was lacking that made you want to start your own platform with Long John? At the time, the Bread and Butter trade fair was one of the main shows in Europe. I thought it was a shame that the industry only got together every six months. And social channels weren’t so strong and important at the time. As I knew a lot of people with small, cool denim initiatives, I just wanted to share them and connect people with each other outside of those two events in-between shows. That’s how I came up with the idea of writing about it, to share my passion and my denim knowledge. I just thought I would see what happened if I started a blog. Sometimes I still feel like sort of an amateur. I’m not a professional
when it comes to IT, for example. I also know that I’m not the best writer in the world, but I’m just doing what I love. It started out as a hobby and after one or two years, the main tradeshow in the Netherlands, Modefabriek, reached out to me and they asked me to arrange a kind of denim expo inspired by their tradeshow. That opened my eyes to the idea, like maybe I can also get some business out of it. That was the starting point of how it’s naturally grown from a blog to a more professional platform. I now also work as a denim consultant for brands, retail, and events and love to combine my online platform with special projects. Speaking of professionalism, many companies are investing in sustainability nowadays. But are we as an industry only talking or actually also acting? Of course, we are talking about it a lot and yes, there is also a lot of action going on. I think that everything always starts by talking about it first. You have to discover new opportunities that you can use in the production process. And you also have to do a lot of research on how to change the production chain, for example. You can think about it, but it’s more difficult to change something in a chain. Talking about it is easier than really changing it of course, because there are also factories involved – it’s not just up to you. But we are seeing that brands today are doing the right thing and promising more and more sustainability, and of course also already showing cool products made in an eco-friendlier way.
WE ARE CURRENTLY AT SOMEWHAT OF A RESEARCH STAGE WHERE THE INDUSTRY IS TAKING THINGS TO THE NEXT LEVEL. Is transparency also part of this movement? Yes, we are actually seeing more and more brands sharing and being more transparent about where they produce their garments, such as where the cotton comes from and where the fabric is woven, for example. I think that’s really good because it’s the consumers who want to know about each product stage. We are becoming increasingly aware of where things come from and who made them and how they were packaged, how they were shipped and so on. There is a greater degree of awareness about the whole topic.
The 43-year-old is well known in the business and for most people he doesn’t really need an introduction. When he was 17, he started working at Diesel – or to be precise, the first Diesel store in the Netherlands, in the city of Eindhoven – and has been a denim fanatic ever since. After six years he went on to work for other brands, even establishing a few of his own over the years – before coming up with online denim magazine Long John. Since then he’s been working for a diverse range of businesses as a freelancer, gives lectures on denim, holds workshops for retail customers, creates content (including for trade fairs) and consults the Amsterdam Denim Days team. “Every day is different, which makes it very interesting for me as a person: you never get bored.”
INTERVIEW — WOUTER MUNNICHS
Speaking of which: do you think denim will ever be entirely eco-friendly and clean? Is that even possible? I definitely think that it’s possible to create a good, eco-friendly pair of jeans and we are already seeing some great examples on the market. But it will take quite a bit of time until everyone is ready for it. The industry is already working on alternatives to cotton – hemp, for example. I believe that the future can bring us some new design elements that we are not aware of yet. We are currently at somewhat of a research stage where the industry is taking things to the next level. I think the focus will be on making fresh and quite new denims that are different to the ones from ten years ago. But we can’t forget that this also depends on what your end goal is, what your product is. What’s very popular at the moment are jogging pants or jeans with a lot of stretch – for those you need some kind of elastane and so on to make the fabric. The question is whether it’s possible to make all those elements in a sustainable way.
WE ARE SEEING THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE FLEXIBLE AND CAN ACT REALLY FAST TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF THIS UNPLEASANT PERIOD.
As a freelance expert, what makes a good and successful denim brand nowadays? You can’t just rely on one element; there has to be a balance. You need a cool product, or a good collection and good valuefor-money. And the storytelling around a pair of jeans nowadays is important, you have to be very eager and clever. So, the total package is very important. There are so many good products available and it’s all transparent, especially with the internet and social media. We can discover someone in Germany or Thailand or Japan or wherever, making a really cool small brand from the basement of their house for example, order a pair of jeans from them and just a few days later we can be holding them in our hands. It’s totally different compared to years ago. That sometimes also makes it more difficult to put your finger on how one brand is successful and another one with a big budget isn’t. I always say to people you can’t buy success, it’s impossible. You have to make a good product, have good communication but at the end of the day you also need a little bit of luck.
Are there any brands with this full package that you’d like to give a shoutout to? Personally, I really love wearing Lee Jeans. I really love their styles and the story behind the brand. But I also really like newer, smaller brands. In the last 15 years we have seen a new denim wave with brands like Blue Blanket from Italy, Pike Brothers from Germany, Eat Dust from Belgium and Companion Denim from Spain. But one that I really want to point out is a brand from my own country, the Netherlands, called Grivec Bros. They are twin brothers who produce their jeans in their hometown in the south of the Netherlands in their own atelier, using mainly Japanese fabrics. They have around 40 authentic different types of sewing machine. They stopped having them
Long John’s eye-catching anchor logo
produced in Portugal and now do it themselves in-house. Another one is German brand Blaumann Jeanshosen, who make their jeans in Germany and sometimes go one step further, using fabric that is woven in Germany as well, which is totally cool. That really inspires me and also attracts me as a denim nerd to buy and wear products by these brands. Let’s talk about a previous chat we had at the beginning of March, where we talked about the then quite new COVID-19 situation. I asked you if the industry would be affected by it and I didn’t mean only tradeshows, but everything from retail to e-commerce; and your answer was yes. You said, and I quote: “I can imagine that the regular retail stores will have it tough. E-commerce will first get bigger and better because most of the people will buy online, but in the end even those e-commerce platforms will be affected.” Fast-forward to now: what surprises you most about the current crisis? The fact that most retailers and brands jumped so quick to improve their online store channels, while the ones that didn’t have an online presence created one in a very short time. Everyone – from brands to retailers and mills to tradeshows – are being so creative during this period to ensure they can still reach their target audience. We are seeing that a lot of people are flexible and really acting fast to make the most out of this unpleasant period. It is connecting people more than ever! Everyone is aware of what’s really important and has skipped the unnecessary things to focus on the core. And everyone is willing to help each other. What should we all learn from this period? The big lesson we can learn from it is to focus on what matters. To focus on what makes a difference and stop taking things for granted. We have to act smart and with a mindset that works in the long term, so strategy will be more important with a strong focus on sustainability in general: create products that have a long life, travel a bit less than before, do more video calls, connect with each other and use everyone’s strength, be creative with smaller budgets and so on. And more than anything, show love and respect to everyone, also to those who need it more than yourself. LONG-JOHN.NL
THE MOST SUSTAINABLE SELVEDGE
EVER MADE PREMIUM DENIM REINVENTED NO NEW COTTON
DENIM FOR LIFE www.kingsofindigo.com
BRAND INTERVIEWS — FATTORE K
OPPORTUNITY AMID ADVERSITY
Aside from the devastating human cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, the repercussions are also wreaking havoc on the economy. After striking Italy, the virus has swept through Europe in next to no time. The region around Milan was particularly hard hit from the outset and as the city is one of the world’s most important fashion capitals, this is also extremely bad news for the fashion industry. We had originally planned to talk to founder Gianni Klemera about the work of his agency Fattore K, but quickly ended up discussing the future of an entire sector.
INTERVIEW RENÉE DIEHL
When did you establish your agency? Do you think your clients’ demands have changed over the years and if so, how? Fattore K was established in 2005. Our headquarters are in Bolzano and we opened the first showroom in Milan. I’ve always loved heritage brands, especially from the USA, England and Japan. That’s why my choices were never commercially driven. Instead, I always tried to bring things onto the market that I liked personally. That’s also why I decided to concentrate on menswear. Over time, heritage brands suddenly came in fashion and then streetwear became increasingly important, so of course we also had to
take that into account. Due to the financial crisis in 2013, Fattore K also ran into difficulties and there were a few tough years to get through. We completely restructured, stopped acting as distributors and now only offer our services exclusively as an agency. So Fattore K has existed in its present form as an agency for Italy and the rest of Europe since 2015. You mentioned a particular focus on heritage products – what do you think makes them especially valuable in these fast-changing times? Because of their long history, I think heritage products just come across as more
authentic and are an expression of quality and sustainability. Buyers trust that these brands and their products have a high level of craftsmanship and the buyer can follow the success story. Most heritage products were originally developed as purely utilitarian goods for daily life and not as fashion items – like the Australian ‘Bushmans’ cowboy boots by R.M. Williams, work boots by Red Wing and Paraboot etc. What impact is the coronavirus crisis having on the Italian market – especially in Milan – so far? Right now, the repercussions of the crisis are hard to quantify wherever you are in
BRAND INTERVIEWS — FATTORE K
the world. In Italy we’ve been in lockdown for two weeks now and other European countries are currently following our lead. All we’re hearing at the moment are order cancellations, delivery refusals and payment deferrals. The spring/summer season is already over for many retailers and no one can currently predict how long this dramatic situation will continue.
The importance of tradeshows has shifted within the industry – how is that affecting you and how do you think things will develop in the future? Due to the increasingly limited travel options in particular, we believe that tradeshows may well be the losers of this crisis in the next months and perhaps years. For quite a few years now, tradeshows have turned more into social meeting hubs and places for making small talk and exchanging opinions. If brands had to make decisions based on the volume of orders generated at tradeshows, they would already be a thing of the past. I believe that more and more digital platforms will take over the business of the tradeshows, while the latter will be used more for communication and marketing purposes. Fattore K already handles about 40 percent of its volume via digital lookbooks and line sheets.
RIGHT NOW, THE REPERCUSSIONS OF THE CORONA CRISIS ARE HARD TO QUANTIFY WHEREVER YOU ARE IN THE WORLD. How do you think the market will progress in the future and how is Fattore K preparing for that? I’m afraid the first question is impossible to answer. At the moment no one can say whether or how many of us will survive this situation, but here at Fattore K we remain optimistic. We’ve already started rethinking our brand offer to remain
relevant, as well as interpreting new trends and offering our clients new inspiration. We will become more international and enter new markets in order to spread and absorb the risk. We’ve already started deploying brand ambassadors for Fattore K in some EU countries so we can better meet customer requirements, in the local language and through personal contact. In addition to this, we want to improve services for our customers. For example, we’re currently working on a debt collection service to further reduce the risk for foreign companies. And, last but not least, we believe in digitalisation. We need to offer the market, i.e. our retailers and buyers, online collections and online showrooms so they can continue to do their work without having to travel so much. FATTOREKMILANO.COM
The showroom of Milan agency Fattore K is usually a hive of activity, but the coronavirus suddenly brought everything to a standstill.
How do you reassure your clients of your reliability in times of crisis? We’re lucky to have very understanding and financially stable partner brands who, in these difficult times, are willing to meet us and our clients halfway with supportive concepts and are therefore trying to secure the future of our company and that of our customers. Despite the current situation, our customers can still rely on Fattore K. We are all working from home and are well equipped to maintain our high level of customer service.
BUSINESS AS (UN)USUAL? N° 80
BUSINESS AS (UN)USUAL?
HOW A PANDEMIC IS FORCING CHANGE
Seidensticker usually manufactures shirts and blouses, but in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic they have switched their production to make masks.
The world is in crisis. An identity crisis, to be precise. All of a sudden, everything has been turned on its head. Almost overnight we have been confronted with new, unforeseen problems – and it seems like all we can do is passively observe the situation unfolding from the safety of our own four walls. Entire industry sectors have been stopped in their tracks, companies are fearing for their livelihoods and the reduction of employees’ working hours is being used as a rescue measure for businesses. Within a matter of weeks, the corona virus has escalated from a global problem to a regional one that affects each and every one of us. But many of the measures that have been introduced over recent weeks came far too late with early warning signs being disregarded. The gravity of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic can be followed on an hourly basis: the media are tripping over themselves to report the latest breaking news, while on social media channels people are appealing for solidarity and posting about tragic personal losses, a stark reminder that the virus is a real-life threat. Just how long we will have to endure these unprecedented circumstances is anyone’s guess. But we do know that this is far from temporary and there is no clear end in sight. Why these unusual times are now also calling for unusual measures and how the post-pandemic world might look...
DISTANCE IS CREATING CLOSENESS Retail has come to a grinding halt. Three quarters of stores worldwide have had to cease trading due to the coronavirus. Due to these store closures, every day 1.15 billion euros in revenue are being lost in Germany alone. In a survey by German retail consulting agency Team Retail Excellence from March 2020, over 90 percent of the respondents anticipate a severe crisis, which almost half believe will threaten their livelihoods. Companies need to switch to survival mode; the global economy is hurtling into a downward spiral and the fallout is already being compared to the financial crisis of 2008. “Never before has the government taken such fast action or offered so much financial support,” announced German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a telephone conference.
But despite this offer of aid, the threat of bankruptcy still looms over many. “We are mobilising everything at our disposal to give our country security in this uncertain time,” she assured the nation. And yet, chaos is unavoidable. Brands, retailers and suppliers are trying to control something that is beyond their control. “Unfortunately, the daily figures of new infections do not yet give us any reason to slacken or relax the rules,” said Merkel in conclusion, therefore making it clear that public life in the country will, for the time being, have to remain at an almost complete standstill.
UNFORTUNATELY, THE DAILY FIGURES OF NEW INFECTIONS DO NOT YET GIVE US ANY REASON TO SLACKEN OR RELAX THE RULES. For a few weeks now, Germany, Europe and the rest of the world have been practicing ‘social distancing’ in order to slow down the spread of the virus. But as the advice is to physically stay away from others, and not to socially disconnect, ‘physical distancing’ is a much more suitable term than ‘social distancing’. After all, despite creating physical distance and ‘self-isolating’ at home to limit the spread of the virus, people are finding themselves suddenly closer to one another than ever before. A deluge of reassuring e-mails is filling our personal and work inboxes, phone calls are being answered instead of being sent straight to voicemail and a surge in the use of video conferencing isn’t only bringing colleagues closer together than they ever were in the office, but also fast-tracking the digital transformation for employees who didn’t even realise that their computer had a built-in webcam until now. Suddenly everyone is available. And ‘I’ is suddenly becoming ‘we’. Or is it?
EMERGENCY AID VS SELF-HELP After all, everything that we are preaching online still needs to prove itself in the real world. Are we really sticking together in the way that we should be right now? Will help arrive in time? How do we even get help? And what really counts in times like these? The speed at which people are creatively making a virtue out of necessity, even companies who usually
TEXT CHERYLL MÜHLEN
BUSINESS AS (UN)USUAL?
A sense of apocalyptic doom or a new beginning? What will the world look like after the coronavirus crisis? Any future scenarios are merely speculative at this point in time because no one can predict what the virus will bring — but what we do know is that it is forcing us to take a long, hard look at our existing systems and structures.
BUSINESS AS (UN)USUAL?
find it difficult to accept the idea of progress, is verging on the miraculous. But what are most people learning from this situation? Are we seeing solidarity or egoism? To support healthcare workers on the frontline, a lot of the big fashion brands are temporarily adjusting their manufacturing lines to produce masks, hand sanitizer and protective clothing rather than the latest trends. Struggling to keep online operations afloat, luxury online retailer Net-A-Porter temporarily closed its distribution centres in the UK and the USA, “thus temporarily suspending service in these regions”. In London, however, its fleet of delivery vans is still out on the roads as the company has teamed up with a British charity “to deliver care packages to the most vulnerable, including essential food and medical supplies”.
Other brands, on the other hand, have had to deal with the backlash of their refusal to make rent payments on closed stores, which would have a knock-on effect for their landlords. German shoe retailer Deichmann was one of them: “We ourselves are in a situation where we have been forced to close around 1,500 outlets in Germany, which are now no longer generating any revenue. Even though short-time working (Kurzarbeit) helps to ease the burden of personnel costs, we are still faced with ongoing costs for logistics, administration, procurement and rent. […] If this phase lasts much longer, it will ultimately threaten the existence of even financially sound companies,” as it states in the official explanation from the company. Along with Puma and H&M, sportswear manufacturer Adidas also came under fire after announcing it would be holding back rent payments for around 26 of its store premises from April because of the coronavirus, only to then reverse its decision after admitting it had “made a mistake”. But are we really looking at the bigger picture here?
Seidensticker’s manufacturing facilities in Vietnam and Indonesia boast state-of-the-art production capabilities, which are now benefiting the German Red Cross in Bielefeld.
AFTER OUR INITIAL ALARMISM, THE PANDEMIC COULD EVENTUALLY GIVE RISE TO CONSTRUCTIVISM. “Millions of garment workers in Bangladesh and beyond will be jobless,” announced the Center for Global Workers’ Rights in their Research Report. “These are workers who, prior to their termination, were making extremely inadequate wages and for whom saving up for a safety net was never an option.” So is it really the end of the world if a chain like H&M, in our still-affluent Western world, misses a couple of months’ rent in order to pay their Indian production facilities and their employees for goods that have already been manufactured? Or does the concept of solidarity only stretch as far as the nearest ocean?
DIGITAL ABSOLUTION OR GLOCALISATION? Seen from our connected home offices, the world is visibly shrinking and it’s very easy to help businesses that are struggling right now – with vouchers, for example. Buying vouchers from small, local companies could ensure their survival through this crisis. And these are the ones who, if they do it right, will experience a real renaissance: many small brands are offering a personal doorstep delivery service – removing the need for an elaborate e-commerce strategy – by simply taking orders via e-mail and hanging the goods on people’s front doors in a custom tote bag. Is it really that simple? Apparently so. And any online purchases made right now would keep sales buoyant, while also ensuring that people are still in a job and being paid. But there is a big ‘maybe’ hanging over all this. A yes, maybe. Or a maybe not, after all. In its whitepaper entitled ‘The Corona Effect’, the Zukunftsinstitut (Future Institute) in Frankfurt has come up with a total of four scenarios. One of them is ‘Adaptation’, in which the world learns from the crisis and “niches are catapulted into the mainstream”. “The coronavirus has triggered a self-cleansing of the markets,” it says in the forecast. “This has not only created a sensible balance between online and offline, but, above all, a smart handling of globalised retail chains, a balance of local and global retail and a boom of direct-trade platforms.” Or, to sum it up, the merging of local sellers with global organisations. And so, after our initial alarmism, the pandemic could eventually give rise to constructivism. A collective spirit that strives to find solutions and makes us more productive than we were before. But for that to happen, we need to part with old ways and change tack. Reconsider our priorities. Start separating the wheat from the chaff and identifying the superfluous as such. Development, after all, also means letting go. Are you ready?
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DENIM TEXTILE TRENDS
DENIM OF THE FUTURE We all wear jeans and it’s very hard for us to imagine our lives without the indispensable indigo fabric. After all, there aren’t many items of clothing that have seen, survived and set as many different trends as jeans. And where better for the latest denim trends to emerge than the very places where this favourite fabric is made? From materials to colours and even new sustainable innovations – we asked the manu‑ facturers to reveal what the future holds for our beloved blue gold. TEXT ANNIKA DUDA
ISKO Texture and comfort play a major role at Isko, who experiment with traditional yet modern denim attributes.
COMFORT, INNOVATION & STYLE Turkish denim manufacturer Isko is regarded as a pioneer. And their innovative new fabric ‘Isko Scratch & Jeans’ is evidence enough of this. The jeans innovation is the first tri-dimensional denim fabric. The effect is achieved by a special scratch technique on the surface of the fabric, giving the finished designs a rough look and the denim a new character. Texture also plays a big role in the ‘Isko Twill FF’ and ‘Isko BlueJym’ collections, both of which offer the ultimate comfort and soft materials that are suitable for a variety of styles. ‘Isko Selvedge’, on the other hand, is a modern classic and plays a central role in the spring/summer 2021 season. The combination of traditional denim manufacturing processes and the innovation of the 21st century delivers the perfect denim, which is also ideal for modern styles. But it’s not only in fabric trends where Isko is setting new standards – sustainability is also a top priority. Their ‘EFD’ concept, short for ‘Eco/Ecru For Dye’, offers a sustainable alternative to the conventional ‘ready for dyeing’ method and skips the pre-bleaching process, which is normally used for RFD fabrics, thereby reducing the use of energy, chemicals and water. ISKODENIM.COM
KEY ASPECTS N° 80
— Ultimate comfort
— Soft materials — 3D texture
DENIM TEXTILE TRENDS
SUMMERREADY Since 1951, Turkish denim manufacturer Bossa has been synonymous with innovation, quality and discerning denim garments – not to mention a number of new eco-friendly creations as well. And for its spring/summer 2021 collection, Bossa is harking back to its denim heritage. The ‘Heritage Collection’ consists of traditional denim, made using modern technologies and inspired by old-school jeans looks and traditional fabric structures with casual silhouettes and vintage indigo tones. And the SS21 collection also references the 90s. True to the motto ‘what goes around comes around’, Bossa is reminiscing about the decade’s denim trends with body-hugging, feminine styles. The highlights of the spring/summer 2021 season are the ‘Purple Shine’ and ‘Summer Soft’ collections, which are heralding the start of summer with nuances of lilac, pink and blue. BOSSA.COM.TR
BOSSA Modern technologies for traditional denim — including vintage indigo tones and a colourful palette.
KEY ASPECTS — Summery nuances like lilac, pink and light blue — Grey as the new trend colour for SS21 — 90s revival — Heritage
— Old-school denim
DENIM TEXTILE TRENDS
WHEN BLUE BECOMES GREEN It’s impossible to talk about sustainable denim production without mentioning Italian manufacturer Candiani. As one of the biggest denim factories in Europe, the family-run company invests in both innovation and quality. And the spring/summer 2021 collection is certainly no exception. Developed from Candiani’s mission to push the boundaries of sustainability, the ‘ReFamily’ collection is setting new benchmarks in sustainable denim production. The collection consists of three fundamental fabrics: ReGen, ReLast and ReSolve. Fabrics from the ReGen collection consist of 50 percent Refibra fibres and 50 percent recycled fibres. The recycled cotton comes from Candiani’s post-industrial waste, while the cellulose Tencel x Refibra fibre combines recycled materials such as cotton remnants and wood pulp. For every pair of jeans made using this combo, Candiani saves 2,565 litres of water because no fresh cotton is need ed. Candiani’s Relast fabric has an exclusive, custom-made yarn called Roica to thank for its first-class stretch. It was developed specially for Candiani and is the world’s first recycled elastane made from remnants of the elastane manufacturing process. This combination enables Candiani to save 30 percent energy, 50 percent water and use 70 percent fewer chemicals than normal. All fabrics are 100 percent biodegradable, non-toxic and made without the use of any toxic chemicals such as PVA, which ensures that the dyeing process remains completely free of microplastics. CANDIANIDENIM.IT CANDIANI With its ‘ReFamily’ collection, the Italian manufacturer is proving that sustainability can look good as well as doing good.
KEY ASPECTS — Recycled cotton & fibres — Compostable — Low water and energy consumption N° 80
— Very limited use of chemicals
— No microplastics — Use of Tencel
DENIM TEXTILE TRENDS
ISKUR Recycling & sustainability: For its AW21 collection, the manufacturer has used only BCI-certified organic cotton grown on privately-owned fields.
YOUNG AND DYNAMIC Even though Iskur is one of the newer denim manufacturers on the block, the Turkish company is certainly not lacking in expertise. And they’ve certainly proved that with their autumn/winter collection for 2021. With the ‘Black Reload’ concept, Iskur has developed black denim fabrics that lose neither their colour nor their intensity when washed. The ‘Soft Breeze’ concept, on the other hand, maintains the classic denim look and stands out with its soft feel and comfort. Comfort and elasticity are key aspects at Iskur – the ‘Flexcity’ concept includes ultra-elasticated fabrics for ladies’ and men’s clothing. And the colour trend for winter 2021 is batik. But sustainability and a conscious use of resources are also top priorities for Iskur Denim. For the AW21 collection, Iskur has used only BCIcertified organic cotton grown on privatelyowned fields. The manufacturer also generates electricity from its own wind and solar power plants. And Iskur follows the zero-waste principle by collecting waste from all the Iskur Group’s facilities and reusing it as recycled yarn with fibres like linen, hemp, Tencel and soya as a cotton substitute. ISKUR.COM
KEY ASPECTS — Batik as a colour trend — Sustainable fibres like Tencel, hemp, linen and soya — Produces own electricity from its own wind and solar power plants — BCI-certified organic cotton
PHOTO ISTOCKPHOTO.COM – DLINCA
— Black denim
DENIM TEXTILE TRENDS
KILIMDENIM Starting from SS20, Kilim’s entire production process will be sustainable, including the products themselves.
100% SUSTAINABLE Denim is everyone’s go-to so it’s quite ironic that the popular fabric can do so much damage. But the emphasis here lies on the word ‘can’, as the manufacturing of jeans doesn’t have to be harmful to the environment. And for quite a few years now, a whole host of international manufacturers, from Europe to Turkey and from Asia to the USA, have been showing us how it’s done. Every season anew they surprise the industry with innovative production methods, sustainable packaging options and new technologies. Like Kilimdenim, for example: true to their slogan ‘Be conscious. Be aware. Wear Kilim denim’, the Turkish denim producer is also dealing with the key issues of our time, especially sustainability in the denim business, for the spring/summer 2021 season. From now on, their entire production process will be sustainable, starting with the product itself. Every denim fabric they produce is made from entirely organic or recycled materials such as organic cotton, BCI cotton, Lyocell or recycled polyester and will also have its own organic production certificate. KILIMDENIM.COM
KEY ASPECTS — 100 percent sustainable — BCI cotton — Lyocell — Recycled polyester
— Organic production certificate
PHOTO ISTOCKPHOTO.COM – ANDREY DANILOVICH
— Organic or recycled cotton
DENIM TEXTILE TRENDS
PHOTO ISTOCKPHOTO.COM – ANDREY DANILOVICH
INNOVATION & SUSTAINABILITY Turkish manufacturer Çalik is aware that denim production is a resource-intensive process with a significant environmental impact. To address this, the company is doing its bit with the further development of its denim technology: this season they are introducing brand new concepts ‘Functionage’ and ‘Skinlithe’ to the AW/2021 collection. With ‘Functionage’, the manufacturer wants to include the end consumer in its sustainable denim world. Excessively washing our jeans uses up resources like water, energy, chemicals and pollutes the environment. But thanks to the functionality of ‘Functionage’, consumers no longer have to wash their jeans often to keep them clean and Çalik is taking a huge step towards saving resources. And ‘Skinlithe’, on the other hand, stands out with its impressive stretch function: thanks to specially developed yarns, jeans with the ‘Skinlithe’ concept have an elasticity of 60 – 100 percent, as well as being soft to the touch and ultra-comfortable.
ÇALIK DENIM The ‘Functionage’ collection will include the end consumer in Calik’s sustainable denim world.
KEY ASPECTS — Three new concepts — ‘Functionage’ saves water, energy and chemicals — High stretch content of ‘Skinlithe’ N° 80
— Retro looks
DIGITAL TRADESHOWS & SHOWROOMS
WAKE-UP CALL This is an industry that thrives on per‑ sonal interaction. The majority of us plan our professional calendars around the numerous trade fairs, fashion shows and showroom events that take place every season. So what happens when all these face-to-face events are suddenly taken out of the equation?
TEXT CHERYLL MÜHLEN
Asia Apparel Expo, Bangladesh Denim Expo, CFDA Fashion Awards, Chic Shanghai, Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Expo Riva Schuh and Gardabags, Ispo Beijing, Kingpins Amsterdam and Hong Kong, Men’s Fashion Week in London, Paris, Milan and New York, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia, Modefabriek, Outdoor by Ispo, Panorama Berlin & Selvedge Run + Zeitgeist, Performance Days, Pitti Uomo, View in Paris and many more: all either cancelled or postponed. As of 2 April 2020, according to Expodatabase.de around 161 out of 328 tradeshows (in Germany alone) had been rescheduled, 97 had been completely cancelled and 70 still hadn’t announced a later date.
Premium Berlin, Seek and Neonyt are currently in the process of finding alternative dates. And the entire sector is eagerly awaiting the announcement of these by the end of the month. Even though no official postponements were announced at the time of going to press, it is clear to everyone that these three shows won’t be taking place as originally scheduled. Nevertheless: ‘cancelled’ could become the most overused word of the year — at least in the fashion industry. Cancellations and postponements of tradeshows and showroom events are suddenly the order of the day and over time the industry is reacting less and
less shocked, perhaps even somewhat relieved. After all, no one wants to travel anywhere right now, let alone make any financial commitments when they don’t have to. And in any case, it feels completely absurd to even contemplate voluntarily mingling through crowds of people in the near future – even if the respective governments were to allow it. We haven’t just temporarily distanced ourselves from each other for the sake of our health, but also from the idea of doing everything as we have always done. Many people have embarked on a surprisingly radical rethink of their priorities lately. But where will tradeshows find their place in this new world order?
A QUEST FOR NEW HEIGHTS According to the German FAMA (Association of Trade Fairs and Exhibitions), trade fairs and exhibitions are “vital platforms” for both companies and visitors, and therefore also essential to a country’s economic success: every year, German trade fairs contribute around 28 billion euros to the country’s total economic output. According to a study by the ifo Institute for Economic Research, tradeshows in Germany secure more than 230,000 jobs annually.
The content of the cancelled edition of Performance Days, which was due to take place in April, will be provided in virtual form. “Even if exhibitors and visitors cannot meet personally at the fair in this currently very challenging situation, we will find ways to inform the industry about the latest products and trends,” says Senior Marketing Manager Lena Weimer. Ramping up their digital repositioning seems to be a shortterm solution for many. Andrew Olah, founder of the Kingpins Show, reacted to the cancelled April event astonishingly quickly, announcing just a few days later that there would be a digital, two-day Kingpins 24 event. “We believe Kingpins24 can give our global industry a chance to connect and share information. We have no other desire but to be a conduit for the denim world during these difficult times, where most of us, including me, are at home, far away from our normal world,” said Olah. Although the 48-hour event is not intended to be a replacement for the Kingpins Show in Amsterdam, live streams of panel discussions, interviews and other exhibitor content can take place nonetheless and prove that digitalisation can also be initiated by trade fairs — if it has to. Digital progress, we have to admit, isn’t something we would have associated with tradeshows in the past, but now it could be the very thing that ensures their survival.
PHOTO ISTOCKPHOTO.COM – ALVAREZ
And what about the showrooms? As hubs for brands, retailers and media, this is where numerous orders are placed, both in large and small groups. They are smaller than tradeshows, but just as influential. And their reaction to the current situation has also been very fast. Countless agencies are fine-tuning new business models to ensure that they are well-equipped not only during the pandemic, but also
DIGITAL TRADESHOWS & SHOWROOMS
after it. International agency Karla Otto, for example, announced that it will be going digital: “For autumn/winter 2020, we will launch a digital showcase via Instagram. […] Here, we will present highlights of the collections and achievements from our global client portfolio in fashion, design, beauty, lifestyle, and arts & culture,” announced the company in an email. Larger showroom events like The Welcome Edition Showroom in Paris will also be taking place digitally. In the words of its founder Mark Batista: “The Welcome Edition Online Showroom is launching on 25 June and has already over 60 collections preparing to show SS21. W.E. Online Showroom is a world-class solution to the current challenges facing our industry and will be an essential resource for both retailers and brands both in the coming months and future years.” For those who still don’t know their way around virtual and mixed reality, companies like BrandLab can be a helpful partner. “Trade shows are being cancelled en masse and showrooms have shut all over the world — our solution means you can continue to do business with virtual reality buying appointments,” writes the Berlin agency. And as the BoF McKinsey & Company Report ‘The State of Fashion 2020 — Corona Virus Update’ states: “Almost overnight, the global fashion industry’s reliance on digital channels has accelerated faster than anyone could have anticipated prior to the crisis.” But are digital solutions only a temporary solution for trade fair and showroom events? Or a long-term one?
THE REAL DEAL Perhaps they can be both! In the short term, those who are able to reposition themselves with new formats – both offline and online – will manage to stay in contact with their target group and remain visible. They will prove that not only can they react, but perhaps more importantly: they can also adapt. There is not the slightest doubt that this industry is based on direct contact and communication. It lives and breathes – and loves – socialising. Event organisers are therefore being challenged to reinvent themselves. We are certainly still only at the beginning of this crisis and no one knows where it will take us. But, if there’s one thing we do know, it’s that things cannot, should not and will not simply carry on as before.
Will virtual reality concepts for tradeshows and showrooms thrive in the future? Probably. Not as a replacement, however, but as a useful addition.
As early as mid-March, Panorama Berlin and Selvedge Run + Zeitgeist cancelled their events completely. After repositioning themselves with a new concept at Tempelhof Airport in January, things weren’t looking too bad for the summer edition. But a pandemic like the one we are seeing is inevitably the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Jörg Wichmann and his team are now working flat out on a digital solution that could perhaps even give the fair an unexpected advantage.
Berlin To be announced premiumexhibitions.com seekexhibitions.com
SEE YOU … SOON? “Essentially, we have to wait to see how the situation continues to develop and look at when the current restrictions will ease. When will the stores open again, when will people be free to travel again and will it even be officially possible to hold an event at the end of June? Together with other tradeshow organisers in Berlin, Dusseldorf and Munich, we, the Premium Group, are currently checking whether it would make sense for the majority of the stakeholders involved to move the dates forward and, if so, to when. We are initially discussing an alternative and realistic date that is feasible for all segments and has been agreed with all other protagonists. As soon as we can confirm a date, we will introduce a concept with new thematic focal points adapted to the current situation. The spotlight will be on sponsorships, communication, budgets and digitalisation. In parallel, we are working closely together with the worldwide leading B2B marketplace and our strategic partner, Joor, to determine how digital ordering can be made simpler, which options exist and how they can best be implemented. Even if it is abundantly clear at the present time that this can never replace live events and getting together in real life, we hope to find solutions that will benefit the industry. As event organisers, just like every other individual at home right now, we too have to wait and see how the official requirements develop. We have therefore decided not to make a decision regarding dates until the end of April. This is the only way we can make a reliable, informed decision.”
POSTPONEMENT INEVITABLE “Messe Frankfurt organises more than 50 textile trade fairs worldwide. That is why the COVID-19 situation is affecting us so greatly. To protect our exhibitors and visitors and their health, we have either cancelled or postponed all events around the world as of mid-February. We are monitoring the developments very closely and staying in close contact with exhibitors, associations and authorities worldwide. However, it is extremely difficult for us and for experts to make any forecasts at the moment. So we are working on a plan B and speaking with market participants and the authorities in Berlin. We expect to know more about the authority requirements by late April. And then we can decide whether Neonyt can go ahead as planned, or whether it has to be postponed. And of course we’re following the discussion about order rhythms and the demands of the retail sector as well. We believe it is important to talk about the situation and remain in touch. We will refuse discount battles once the stores open again — also with a view to the value of the products and sustainability. And we don’t need to be experts to know that this virus and the current crisis will have long-lasting effects on our economy and society as a whole. My team has been working from their homes for the past two weeks — please stay at home too.” Olaf Schmidt — Vice President of Textiles & Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt
Anita Tillmann — Managing Director of the Premium Group
Berlin To be announced neonyt.messefrankfurt.com
The above statements were submitted shortly before we went to print in mid-April.
Düsseldorf Likely to be postponed — no official statement as yet gallery-düsseldorf.com
AN OUTSTANDING PARTNER
GALLERY SHOES Düsseldorf Likely to be postponed — no official statement as yet gallery-shoes.com
FOCUS ON FLEXIBILIT Y
“Very early on we recognised how important it is to offer agencies an economically viable platform that removes the need for them to lease showrooms in the longer term. Only then – especially in the future – can budgets can be sensibly distributed and orders placed in an efficient, functional way. And for avantgarde labels, for whom there isn’t a comparable platform anywhere else in Germany, we are an ‘outstanding’ and valued tradeshow partner.” Ulrike Kähler — Managing Director of Igedo Company
“We will continue to be a flexible, consistent and steady partner, keeping a close eye on the needs of the market. Our principal task is to maintain our platform in a way that responds to the constantly changing needs of our clients. It’s important that the market is given the opportunity to showcase collections in one place at one time — on an order platform that is relevant in terms of scheduling and content.”
Ulrike Kähler — Managing Director of Igedo Company
The above statements were submitted shortly before we went to print in mid-April.
MUNICH FABRIC START Munich 1 – 3 September 2020 munichfabricstart.com
WORKING AT FULL SPEED The planned dates for Munich Fabric Start (1-3 September 2020) could give the event a decisive advantage over the numerous trade fairs planned for the summer months. Nevertheless, it will still have changed beyond recognition by then; the anticipated consequences of the coronavirus crisis are simply too far-reaching. We talked to the show’s Managing Director Sebastian Klinder to find out more.
INTERVIEW CYNTHIA BLASBERG
In an interview in Munich Fabric Start’s Trend Book for SS21, the first question is: ‘A fundamental rethink is happening in many aspects of the textile and fashion industry. How much will this new orientation change the image of Munich Fabric Start?’. This question is more topical than ever before — what would your answer be today? My answer basically remains the same: from season to season, Munich Fabric Start continues to develop in a consistent and credible way. We see the current rethink as confirmation of our consistent development because we reacted to the coming changes early on, recognising the fact that sustainability and digitalisation will change processes and can only work when both are taken into consideration. The fact that a new type of awareness has to take place in terms of the use of resources. And very importantly, that transparency and information are essential in order to strengthen the
community of manufacturers, fashion brands and us as trade fair organisers. This is the only way we will be able to get a handle on the situation. The next Munich Fabric Start, including Bluezone, will be taking place at the beginning of September. So compared to other trade fairs that are planned for June/July 2020, Munich Fabric Start has a certain advantage in terms of scheduling. But you don’t need to be a prophet to predict that even when the next edition takes place, it will be different to any other before it. What kind of plans are you making at the moment? Have you had a plan B, such as a digital alternative, from the outset? We are currently putting all our energy into working at full speed to ensure we can hold Munich Fabric Start as planned at the beginning of September 2020. Of course we don’t know how the situation will be in a few weeks’ time, but we are currently continuing as usual. After this period of isolation and distancing, the whole sector will be longing for a reunion and will really appreciate it more than ever. This is also something we are seeing from the
positive response of our exhibitors to the forthcoming dates, as we have already registered a high number of registrations at this stage. But the current surge in digital alternatives does obviously offer us interesting approaches. We look forward to seeing what opportunities will open up. At the same time, we are convinced that a digital solution for our core business – textile products – can never be a satisfactory replacement. That’s why our plan B is not fully digital, also bearing in mind that a digital format brings many different parameters and functions that need to go hand in hand. Which is why a digital solution within a few months could never fully meet our requirements. In addition to the question of whether trade fairs will even be permitted this year, assuming governments may put a stop to larger events for a longer period of time, there are other questions still unanswered. How freely will we be able to travel by then? Do the companies still have budgets for trade fairs? I assume that you are in touch with your exhibitors. How do you see the situation in that respect? Which solutions are preferable? It goes without saying that we are in regular contact with our exhibitors and are grateful for the loyalty and trust they have in us. The exhibitors know that we, as partners in the textile industry, want to support them in the best possible way and value our open communication. The situation poses great challenges for everyone in the textile industry, but that’s exactly why the next possible get-together in person means so much to everyone. And also why the coming edition is already filling up quickly — Bluezone is already fully booked. We do hope, however, that due to the dates of several events being moved that there won’t be any overlap and are counting on the cooperation of all other organisers.
For several years now MFS has represented topics like sustainability and digitalisation, both of which, since the coronavirus, have gained new significance in the consciousness of the fashion and textile industry. How can you capitalise on your pioneering role and use it to your advantage? From our point of view, we already considered sustainability and digitalisation to be a given in the industry so we are really pleased that these topics are gaining relevance in increasingly larger circles. We are seeing regional sourcing coming to the fore more as a result of the crisis. Because we are based in the centre of Europe, we see an opportunity to expand our core of European exhibitors and continue developing the sustainable and digital offers of our fairs. The title of the last Bluezone ‘Reject egoism. Create Ecoism. Rewrite future.’ is even more apt from today’s point of view. Especially now that people are being called on to consume less and produce more consciously. How can, or will, you take things further for the coming Bluezone? That’s absolutely true — the main theme of ecoism represents a rethink for the entire branch, which won’t only change consumer and manufacturing behaviour in the sector. Beyond that it’s about a new awareness and set of values, a new relevance of partnerships and a strong community. Bluezone is a special place for sharing visionary ideas where lots of new cooperations and innovative projects are developing. This special feeling of togetherness, open exchange and the willingness to develop the industry together is what defines Bluezone. With the right cooperation partners and industry insiders, we will continue to intensify this development. Where do you see the opportunities for yourselves as a trade fair? What positives will come out of this crisis? Along with the aforementioned digital surge, we see a growing appreciation of partnerships and long-term collaborations as an opportunity. In these times, it becomes clear which values and partners are important. The relevance of trade fairs as a place of inspiration and personal exchange with various players in the textile industry is once again coming to the fore. And innovative solutions and products will now have a chance to establish themselves on the market.
THE RELEVANCE OF TRADE FAIRS AS A PLACE OF INSPIRATION AND PERSONAL EXCHANGE WITH VARIOUS PLAYERS IN THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY IS ONCE AGAIN COMING TO THE FORE.
ILM OFFENBACH Offenbach 5 – 7 September 2020 ilm-offenbach.de
Florence 2 – 4 September 2020 pittiimmagine.com
EXPERTISE IN THE TIME OF CORONA
KICK-OFF IN SEPTEMBER
The most recent edition of ILM Offenbach at the beginning of March was very much dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. It wasn’t until the night before the event that the responsible authorities in Offenbach made the final decision for it to go ahead. For the next edition in September, the show’s Managing Director Arnd Hinrich Kappe is looking ahead and reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic with a comprehensive set of measures for exhibitors. “We’re not just going to wait around and see what happens in the hope that it won’t be so bad. I think it’s wrong to just wait around and see! We want to send out a clear message now and provide everyone involved with more time to make the necessary plans.” In plain text that means every exhibitor who had a stand at the March 2020 edition of ILM will receive a one-off 50 percent discount off the base rental fee of their existing space at the upcoming ILM in 2020. Every new registration for the upcoming ILM in September 2020 will receive a 20 percent discount off the base rental fee. The exhibitors who have opted for a standard booth will receive a one-off 50 percent rental discount for the upcoming edition. The package also includes reductions for visitors and buyers and there will be no increase in the ILM admission charges for September. Parking ticket charges will also be waived. Special rates are currently being negotiated with hotels and catering providers. So far it’s looking hopeful for the September date, but the organisers still may postpone it if necessary.
After it became clear that Pitti Uomo 98 wouldn’t be taking place as planned in June, the trade fair has now been postponed until 2-4 September. “Over the last few weeks, we have obviously been in constant and close contact with manufacturing companies in Italy and abroad” says Claudio Marenzi, President of Pitti Immagine. “The strong request that emerged was to maintain, at all costs, leading events like the Pitti fairs, which will be the first fundamental instruments to be activated that gradually get the entire commercial fashion industry machine going again. And that is what we will be working on non-stop over the next few months.” Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine adds: “It is clear that […] our primary duties will be to guarantee the complete maintenance of hygiene of the exhibition space and prepare the spaces and layouts to take into account people’s health and safety. It will be an experimental layout that could also turn out to be useful on future occasions. The other fundamental element of innovation we are working on that we consider to be decisive for the purposes of the promotional and commercial capabilities of the exhibitors, is Pitti Connect, a completely new and advanced version of the previous digital platforms, which is also designed according to the specific requirements of the various types of product and fair. Pitti Connect, with its original system of networking functions for buyers and high-quality editorial structures, is more than a complementary tool to the actual fair — it’s an organic integration of the physical event which will help to define the new face of the Pitti fairs.”
Arnd Hinrich Kappe — CEO of ILM Offenbach
TEXWORLD Paris 14 – 17 September 2020 texworld-paris.fr.messefrankfurt.com
FINDING OPPORTUNITIES IN A CRISIS
INTERVIEW CHERYLL MÜHLEN
Tradeshows are currently being forced to reassess their structures and perhaps even rethink the overall concept itself. What do you think should definitely change after the COVID-19 crisis? Every economic shock leaves a legacy and the deadly corona virus will be no different. It will change how we shop, travel and work in the coming years. But crisis also presents opportunities for improvement: for example, we will be more sophisticated and flexible in our daily use of technology; we will diversify the ways we source and do business; we will appreciate the importance of long-term partnerships more and, last but not least, we will cut down on business trips and only focus on what’s essential. Some of the cancelled tradeshows are already working on digital solutions and alternatives. Could that also be an option for Texworld Paris? Together with Messe Frankfurt, of course Texworld Paris is also exploring different digital and alternative options because digital marketing solutions are extremely costeffective and great in terms of measuring your ROI. You’re
able to target the right people under the right circumstances. There is a lot of control on the part of the ‘seller’ and analytics help you understand the effectiveness of your strategies so you can adjust accordingly and optimise the right areas. But as all marketing experts know, it’s all about the mix and balance. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, as digital marketing will not resolve all your problems. Some critics are currently questioning whether tradeshows are still relevant. What would you say to them? Being relevant is not about the format, but about the purpose. Tradeshows these days have to justify their purpose. Studies show that exhibiting at tradeshows is still ranked as one of the top five marketing tactics. Shows are still effective in terms of connecting sellers and buyers, whether they are services or products. One of the toughest parts of growing your business is creating a strong network and making new connections. Take Texworld, for example, we connect exhibitors with buyers in a very targeted way, we work with fashion consultants to do runway shows for selected brands to tell their bespoke stories. Our Trendbook helps buyers to predict what they need and encourages meaningful conversations inside the show. Digital platforms like social media and our website are complementary ways to support the tradeshows before and after and to keep our community connected. How will the pandemic affect the upcoming Texworld Paris in September? Despite the current uncertainty, the Texworld team is continuing to organise the show which is due to take place from 14 to 17 September 2020. The online visitor registration will open in early-May as scheduled. We all hope that business and travel will be back to normal by mid-summer. You’ll also be showcasing around 100 suppliers of organic cotton, linen, hemp, recycled material and other sustainable textiles. What do the next five years hold for sustainable fashion? Having anticipated the demand for such products, we have been showcasing a sustainable offer for more than 10 years now. There are more and more initiatives in this regard as the end consumers’ awareness is still increasing, especially in view of the current situation. We expect sustainability to be a central element of the shows in the years to come and are determined to highlight it further.
Frédéric Bougeard only assumed the role of President of Messe Frankfurt France on 1 April, taking over from Michael Scherpe who had been at the helm for 40 years prior to that. A position that, in these tumultuous times of the corona pandemic, is no easy feat. But Bougeard recognises the significance and purpose of Texworld Paris, as he explained to us in an interview.
INSIDER OPINION — NDL NAVEENA
SUSTAINABILITY BOOSTER The crisis situation unfolding from the COVID-19 pandemic is raising several questions for the denim industry: now that supply chains have ground to a halt and production is at a standstill, there has been a gradual shift in favour of the people who work within the industry, as well as in terms of sustainability in general. A conversation with Pakistani denim manufacturer NDL Naveena about sustainable hemp denim — and what could happen post-lockdown. INTERVIEW RENÉE DIEHL
What are the different methods and products used to make sustainable denim fabrics? NDL uses sustainable raw materials, among them organic cotton, BCI cotton, recycled PCW yarns, recycled polyesters from PET bottles, recycled pre- and post-consumer waste such as the ‘Refibra’ fibre from Lenzing and cellulose fibres from traceable sources such as Tencel and Ecovero. We have reduced water waste by using our own recycled water and use modern, cleaner chemical dyeing techniques like the ‘advanced denim concept’ by Archroma and finishes that save water such as G2 Dynamic from Jeanologia.
You have a denim fabric made from hemp in your assortment. How does hemp differ from the usual cotton fabric and what makes it more eco-friendly? We are using cottonised hemp, which is aesthetically similar to cotton denim. Our hemp is soft as well as antibacterial, which will boost the wearer’s confidence in the product – especially in the post-pandemic world where antibacterial properties will be more in demand than ever before. Additionally, our hemp has a greater yield, growing much faster than cotton while using no pesticides and requiring 70 percent less water for cultivation. We are therefore able to invest more time and energy in research and development to create and perfect the best possible hemp offer. But the usage of hemp yarns in fabrics dates back around 10,000 years. Archaeologists have found remnants of hemp cloth in Iraq, spun in around 8000 BC. So we are learning both from the past as well as from our own innovations. Where do you source and produce the hemp fabric? We mainly source our hemp from China and Europe, which we then produce at our own facilities in Pakistan. Do you see hemp as the future of denim and how does cotton compare? Cotton will always be an important part of denim. Nevertheless, we are convinced that hemp, being a more sustainable crop, will reduce our dependency on cotton, without totally replacing it. More likely, the two fibres will coexist and complement each other in the future. Denim made partly out of hemp can offer an interesting and authentic appearance with the added bonus of a high level of sustainability – which is the most important reason the world should embrace the fabric. NAVEENADENIM.COM
GRAPHIC ICON ROMINA IKEN
Naveena is all about sustainable approaches: what makes sustainability so important during this time? The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a virtual standstill – and the global denim supply chain with it. We believe that the companies that will survive and even thrive in the post-pandemic world are the ones who are truly sustainable. Sustainability is as much about how we treat people as it is about sustainable practices. Here at NDL we regard people as our most important asset, which is why we continue to pay employees who needed to be temporarily furloughed. But as soon as our business is reset to the new normal we will, of course, be welcoming them back. During the lockdown, the world has had some time to rethink practices and people might even have become sensitive to cleaner air and quieter surroundings. We think that in the postpandemic world, a reduction of air and noise pollution will be a necessity. Consumers will expect all the goods they buy as well as the packaging to be sustainable. Our brand customers have a choice – which is why we will insist on making sure our consumers are provided with the most sustainable products possible. NDL is committed to being a part of tomorrow’s sustainable supply chain.
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