How was the first Frankfurt Fashion Week?

EIt took until the textile work of art made of virgin wool was completed. Shearing, washing, carding, pickling, dyeing, drying, laying out, felting, washing, drying: textile artist Stefanie Salzmann worked for days on the picnic blanket made from the wool of black-nosed sheep. The wall hanging was finished on Thursday – and hung in the back yard of the Margarete restaurant in Frankfurt as a symbol of what fashion can and should and should and must do.

Alfons Kaiser

Responsible editor for the section “Germany and the World” and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin.

Because hessnatur had invited to the presentation on the occasion of the “Frankfurt Fashion Week”. The brand from Butzbach has been a pioneer in natural fashion since it was founded by Heinz and Dorothea Hess 45 years ago. The topic of sustainability, which everyone is now discovering, has been taken seriously there for a long time – with materials that are not chemically treated. The managing director of hessnatur, Andrea Sibylle Ebinger, shows that eco-fashion can bring something economically: Sales grew by 30 percent in this financial year. “This market is no longer just a niche,” says Ebinger. Natural fashion can be worthwhile. Germany has to learn, Frankfurt can show how.

Plans for next season are already under way

Because Messe Frankfurt, the largest organizer of textile fairs in the world, has big plans for “Frankfurt Fashion Week”. Unfortunately, they looked small this week, fashion week was almost entirely virtual. When the plans for moving Fashion Week from Berlin to Frankfurt were presented last year, one could still hope that the pandemic was over this summer. But Corona thwarted the plans. So now only digital formats took place. A side program from small private shows suddenly became the main program. The supporting actors were partly bizarrely dressed protagonists of a fashion week that didn’t even exist.

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All the more surprising that despite the meager offer, there was great enthusiasm. Be it at the show by Anja Gockel at the Hotel Frankfurter Hof, be it at the pop-up shows in many parts of the city, be it on the catwalk at the Alte Oper, which was partly relocated to the Sofitel because of the rain: it was everywhere There was a big rush, everywhere passers-by looked curiously over the barriers.

The organizers are not at all irritated by the pandemic-related conglomerate and rain-soaked beginning. Detlef Braun, Managing Director of Frankfurter Messe, and Anita Tillmann, Managing Director of the organizer Premium Group, are already working on the next season. The Berlin Fashion Week will continue, but the Frankfurt organizers will also bring Berlin fashion designers to show where the catwalk music is now playing.

That is also necessary. Because the fairs only attract a specialist audience and are of little interest to the public. In order to become a credible national authority, the best German designers must come alongside the industry giants. William Fan, Ottolinger, Lutz Huelle, Damir Doma, Esther Perbandt, Frauke Gembalies, Dorothee Schumacher, Lala Berlin, Rianna + Nina, Working Title, GmbH, Vladimir Karaleev, Michael Sontag, René Storck, Odeeh, Nobi Talai, Talbot Runhof, caviar Gauche, Lara Krude: If the organizers, together with Christiane Arp, President of the Fashion Council Germany, were to manage to offer even half of these names – then Frankfurt would suddenly be the fashion capital that Berlin always wanted to be.

There will also be “greenwashing”, an attempt to wash away one’s ecological guilt with fake calculations. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at the digital conference on the “New European Bauhaus” on Wednesday: In order to achieve the European Union’s climate goals, the fashion industry is in demand. “Fast fashion is poison for our planet.” We need products that cause less waste and last longer.

Stefanie Salzmann did a good job with her picnic blanket. Their dyes are natural, made from leaves, mushrooms or indigo. Perhaps she now wants to experiment with the seven herbs in Frankfurt’s green sauce. The city would like it.



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