Berlin Fashion News. Belgium + Berlin = Return To Creativity

ZoneModa Journal. Vol.8 n.2 (2018)
ISSN 2611-0563

Berlin Fashion News.
Belgium + Berlin = Return To Creativity

Lucia BalestriUniversità di Bologna (Italy)

Graduated in Fashion Culture and Management at the University of Bologna in 2018, she currently lives and works in Berlin in the field of brand design, fashion communication and events. Previously graduated in Architecture in 2012, she held her own design practice during four years.

Published: 2018-12-21

Keywords: Exhibition; Berlin; Belgium; German fashion; Fashion Designer.

Six fashion designers, two based in Berlin and four based in Belgium, were given the opportunity to showcase their creative visions with a focus on wool in Berlin, during the German Press Days on the 18th and 19th of November 2018, in the gallery space of the Bikini Berlin shopping centre (Fig. 1). The exhibition was organized by the Flanders District of Creativity together with the German Fashion Council and it was supported by The Wollmark Company. It consisted of a B2B event, to which only the press and relevant trade visitors could have access.

Figure 1 – Exhibition entrance
Figure 1 – Exhibition entrance
Figure 2 – Tape bands on the floor
Figure 2 – Tape bands on the floor

The showcased designers were Christian Wijnants (Antwerp), I Love Mr. Mittens (Antwerp), William Fan (Berlin), Wali Mohammed Barrech (Antwerp), Daniel Andresen (Antwerp) and Ester Perbandt (Berlin). They were invited to freely represent their creative work with an artistic installation, for which they would have a dedicated area. Visitors were led through the exhibition open space footprint by six tape bands running parallel to each other on the floor (Fig. 2). Every tape had the name of a designer printed on it and drove to each of the designated designers’ zones.

Christian Wijnants exposed ten free-standing large-scale prints of his collection lookbook (Fig. 3 and 4); the different dimensions of the images conferred dynamicity to the series, where the subjects themselves were playing with a diverse range of scale, including close up to materials, still life elements and full body shots.

Figure 3 – Christian Wijnants
Figure 3 – Christian Wijnants
Figure 4 – Christian Wijnants
Figure 4 – Christian Wijnants

I Love Mr. Mittens opted to project a video, showing various hand knitting processing techniques, where one could see sixteen pair of hands working on a different knitwear (Fig. 5); the screening underlined the importance of handmade manufacturing as a key element for the label. In order to emphasise even more the uniqueness of each garment, the designer staged an installation of hanging outfits next to some overthrown shopping cart (Fig. 6), as a clear juxtaposition of the elevated handmade garment compared to mass produced objects.

Figure 5 – I Love Mr. Mittens
Figure 5 – I Love Mr. Mittens
Figure 6 – I Love Mr. Mittens
Figure 6 – I Love Mr. Mittens

William Fan designed an installation where clothes were arranged on the floor and on mannequins (Fig. 7). The unusual arrangement of the fashion objects, treated as conglomerated material, diverted attention from shapes and pushed the visitor to focus on the fabrics, their textures and colours. Wali Mohammed Barrech put on display his products on pedestals, in front of their same leather decorations exhibited on canvas (Fig. 8); the trimmings on the wall were bigger though, and made the products look as miniatures of the art pieces.

Figure 7 – Michael Fan
Figure 7 – Michael Fan
Figure 8 – Wali Mohammed Barrech
Figure 8 – Wali Mohammed Barrech

Daniel Andresen hanged his knitwear pieces in the air and lit them from underneath (Fig. 9): as a result, one could appreciate both the loose cut of the garments and the weft of the fabrics, thanks to the play of light and shadows. They looked like spirits dancing in the air to the sound of the knitting machines. Esther Perbandt created an art installation where she overlapped pieces of black garments onto a canvas (Fig. 10). Placing together different materials of the same colour allows to better appreciate their grain and structure and to notice how the dye behaves variably depending on the fabric.

Figure 9 – Daniel Andresen
Figure 9 – Daniel Andresen
Figure 10 – Esther Perbandt
Figure 10 – Esther Perbandt

The six installation provided a glimpse on the importance of the materials used for the collections and on the manufacturing process. According to the briefing they were given, to focus on wool, the designers showcased their collections with a clear-cup perspective on fabric. In addition to the art installations, all the designers also showcased their products on clothes racks (Fig. 11 and 12), so that visitors could see the garments more in detail. This element highlighted the physicality of the collections, allowing people to touch and feel them and created an interesting contrast between the art pieces and the fashion products. Even if they consisted of the exact same pieces of garment, the way they were exhibited made visitors experience them in two completely different ways. The products showcased in a museum-like set entered in the realm of art and were considered as untouchable, visitors only experienced them from a certain distance, admiring the designers’ installations. On the other hand, products hanging on racks were recognized as something closer, intelligible and accessible. It has to be kept in mind that the event was organized by the Flanders district of creativity and the German Fashion Council, two organizations that support, promote and connect the fashion industries, and promoted by the Wollmark Company, the global authority on wool. The aim of the exhibition was to support creativity and talented potential, showing the artistic side of fashion, through installations, but also pushing international Wollmark prize locally and highlighting craftmanship, through the showcase of garments.