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Fashion fairs in Germany. My comment.

We have a trade fair problem. Fewer exhibitors, fewer visitors, fewer buyers. Less attention. Unless you close your doors, like Berliner Premium, which announced in November this year after more than 20 years that there would be no further edition.

Clearly, this news went through the roof. But I don’t mean that kind of attention. We need positive news. Contemporary formats, fashion trade fairs that can be reported on. Exhibitors who are coming back to the trade fairs. Retailers who are looking for new topics and brands despite difficult times. You can’t go wrong with the same goods from the same brands over and over again, but that won’t lure anyone out from behind the oven or into your store. We need media that celebrates the issue and doesn’t talk it down. Those who encourage and shake up. Continuing as before is not an option. Now solutions are needed. The key word, in my opinion, is together.

Instead of the eternal (obsolete because not productive) discussion about the relevance of individual fashion cities, the focus should be on how we can save Germany as a fashion (trade fair) location.


Taking stock // Let’s look back at summer 2023:

Premium, Seek and Beyond in Berlin, Neonyt in Düsseldorf, Innatex in Hofheim. Four or five fashion fairs. Three cities. A month. Similar topics. (Sustainable) fashion. While Innatex has been using (certified) natural textiles for over 25 years, Neonyt is clearly about sustainable (Neonyt approved) style. At the new (second edition) Beyond it was also sustainable fashion – here with a focus on the community. The conventional premium recovered somewhat after the decline, but is no longer relevant for further considerations as it has been discontinued. Seek – also conventional and streetwear-oriented – discovered sustainability after “returning from Frankfurt” and developed the so-called Conscious Club. Sustainable brands are identified with a corresponding icon. It is not known what the basis for this sustainability is. What is interesting – also for buyers – is the combination with conventional brands.

The whole thing takes place twice a year within four weeks.
This raises several questions for me:

1) How should the brands take part in this trade fair circus? (Spoiler: You have to choose)

2) How are buyers supposed to find the time to visit all the trade fairs? (Spoiler: They can’t be everywhere and that’s why there are too few everywhere)

3) How should the community serve this offer? (Spoiler: She is overwhelmed and – if at all – only notices the mass “around the corner”)

Conclusion: We have created a situation that exceeds the need and overwhelms all participants. Now it remains to be seen what the end of Premium means for Berlin and Seek. The “little sister” has developed well over the years, but of course the question of the relevance of a single fashion trade fair remains. The concentrated power of the fashion fairs in Berlin is a thing of the past. No Selvedge Run, no Panorama, no Premium. Now the eyes are on Munich and Düsseldorf, where new formats are currently emerging.


But what I’m actually talking about:

Regardless of the relevance of individual fashion cities, I am of the opinion that B2B trade fairs should exchange ideas. Together you can always achieve more. How? I do not know that either. But I see that it doesn’t work optimally. That the potential cannot be exhausted in this way. That the topic of fashion in Germany cannot be gotten back on track without any changes or goals. That Germany as a fashion (trade) location is in serious danger. And none of us want that.

Therefore my request to you brands.

During the last two seasons, so many brands were not satisfied with their participation in the trade fair. Not enough buyers on site. No international audience. The conclusion: Some brands are considering going to the fashion fairs in Copenhagen or Amsterdam. Apart from the fact that I am convinced that this trip makes no sense other than even greater costs, I hereby send a serious appeal to you brands:

Stay here and please take part in fashion fairs in Germany again.

Yes, I know: these are damn difficult times right now. But it’s the same as with the climate: if we don’t take countermeasures now, it will get even worse. Good to know: There are exciting funding programs for start-ups and first-time exhibitors. Innatex promotes four to six brands every season as part of its Design Discoveries program with reduced stand costs and extra visibility. The application phase for January 2024 is already over – so subscribe to the newsletter and apply for summer 2024. Since the last edition in July, Neonyt has also had its own area to make it easier for start-ups and first-time exhibitors to take part in the trade fair with an attractive price offer. In addition to the opportunity to write orders, participating in a trade fair is always about visibility. About network. Go out. Show yourself.


My request to retailers:

Please go to fashion fairs again. Of course, especially in these uncertain and difficult times, you rely on your long-running favorites, on the cash cows. But your store is also about storytelling. And this works (even!) better with one or two new brands. New spirit. And new customers that you reach together with the brand.

So: come to the trade fairs. Get inspired. Discover new brands.

My request to the community:

I have been exploring the topic of sustainable fashion for eight years now. In the first few years the community was quite active. That was wonderful. Always a highlight when everyone met at the Neonyt (at that time still in Berlin). Things have now become significantly quieter. But you still exist. I know that. And that’s why I ask you too:
Come to the trade fairs. Don’t you have time? Absolutely understandable. But then share the posts. Spread the word. #spreadtheword

My request also to my media colleagues:

You’re not a fashion medium? That doesn’t matter at all, because sustainable fashion has so many more points of reference than fashion: craftsmanship, people, innovative materials, digitalization, entrepreneurship and, and, and… Here the topics are on the street or on the stands.

Come back to the trade fairs. You will be amazed at how much inspiration, creativity and good vibes you will experience here.

What can I say? We will be there. And we are already looking forward to the next round of orders, to seeing “old friends” and new brands again. To the community.

Together we can achieve a lot. Are you there?
Stay tuned for details about Neonyt and Innatex!