Fashion Week Battle: Berlin vs. Copenhagen

(C) Wael Toubaji

(C) Wael Toubaji

This year, I was able to attend both fashion weeks in Berlin and Copenhagen for the winter and summer edition. And the cities are in fact much different. 

Fashion week happens twice a year. It's a stage to fashion houses and brands to exhibit their new collections for the upcoming summer or winter season. Within this craziness, different events are happening: some present their fashion through a fashion show, some have a stall at a show room and others do their own show rooms. Further additions to this are networking events, influencer related stuff as well as mingles. And after parties of course. All these events are happening to influence trends for the current and upcoming seasons and give buyers the chance to pre-order items for their shops. And it's a place for normals like me to get inspired and spy on an industry that is far away from my reality.  

The big four fashion shows take place in London, Paris, Milan and New York. And I'm actually still dreaming of attending one of these to finally say I've managed to be there. But for now, I am very happy to have seen the comparison between Berlin and Copenhagen. Because both I've experienced majorly different.

Structured as I am, I've identified some basics that are important to me when it comes to an overall picture of a fashion week:

City & location, blogger stuff, sustainable fashion, vibe as well as organization.

Check each category and see which city scores the best in this battle!

(C) Alexander Norheim

(C) Alexander Norheim

// City and locations.

With 3.6 mio. inhabitants for Berlin and 1.2 mio. in Copenhagen, both cities are considered big and you may have the tendency to get lost. I personally have strolled through them enough occasionally, so I kind of know my way around. That's important, as the locations for fashion week events are often spread through out the whole city. Basically, at fashion week I run around between appointments and meetings. The glamorous stuff happens sequentially and the rest of the time I bother with logistics: Where to go, what time to be there and how to fuel my body on the go. 

Berlin locations are geographically further spread than in CPH. That may be because the municipality of København (the Danish spelling. Isn't the ø adorable?!) is much smaller in comparison. Smartly, the sponsor Mercedes Benz offers shuttle services between showrooms (which don't work that well though). Be prepared to schedule enough time between meetings and places. And bring some snacks on the go!

Copenhagen does not offer a shuttle service, but you could jump on a bike or take public transport, as the destinations are not too far away from each other. Copenhageners say that you can cross the city within 20 min on your bike. Although, if you're seriously into the business, cycling in a dress and high heels may not be the best option. 

Soooo, Copenhagen scores over Berlin. 0:1.Most venues are located centrally enough to get around easily. And their reduced travel pass (you pay less than 70% for 72 hours) makes you get around by public transport. Up next:

// Blogger & Influencer Stuff.

With my blog, the main target this year was to get to know some new labels, get inspired by the vibe and meet some like minded people. With my VinoKilo position earlier, I was also engaged in meeting collaboration partners and connect in the sustainable fashion industry in Germany. 

(C) Lydia Hersberger

(C) Lydia Hersberger

Berlin offered the incredibly well-organized PrePeek x Fashionchangers blogger launch. Read more about it here. I was able to finally meet all those other individuals who I've been following for a while. This blogger launch has been organized from bloggers for bloggers, so it felt very familiar. And it has been done incredibly well from an organizational perspective. Good job ladies.

In Copenhagen, I have not found a format specifically for green bloggers. There were events like get togethers and sponsored lunch time for conventional fashion bloggers. And those lifestyle bloggers far outside my reach. But who knows, if I may have tried hard enough to ask for an invite, it could have worked. But I'm not gonna beg for an invite to sit with superficial barbies together. Naaah, not my thing. I prefer meeting people who are on one page with me about materials, crucial production practices and treating humans fair. Just like Jess and Julie on the picture. 

Soooo, - it's a tie, 1:1.

// Sustainable Fashion.

Fashion weeks are originated in the idea to present the latest trends. That may be contradictory to what slow fashion means: long lasting quality pieces. But overcoming this understanding and seeing slow fashion as an integrative part, it is important to give those brands a stage to present themselves and even compete and keep up with traditional fashion brands. And most often as we think of fast fashion, these are not included in fashion weeks. H&M or Zara usually don't have showrooms. Simply because they produce up to 52 seasons a year, instead of two as presented within fashion weeks. 

Each year organizers behind the fashion shows and show rooms may be more or less aware of the impact, clustering of brands may have. The two cities could not be any more complementary to each other...

Berlin can happily present the Green Showroom and Ethical Fashion Show, where sustainable fashion brands all come together. With more than 120 international brands in one spot, this is heaven! Some brands, like Armed Angel, Veja or By Signe keep up with other brands and expose themselves outside the sustainability bubble. These three examples have been at the other showrooms, which I highly support. Because green fashion should become mainstream.

And on top of that, selected slow fashion labels have their own two shows. Scored! Hence, you can visit BLN fashion week without preparation on which brands to visit, as the majority you can check at those two show rooms, that even share the exact same location. 

Copenhagen on the other hand does not have one venue for most green labels. Neither do they have a categorized overview. Which means that without preparation, you would need to manually screen a couple of hundreds labels within that one week. Impossible. So here I recommend to do research, reach out to experienced bloggers of the city like Johanne from bedremode, a Danish slow fashion blog, or know your shit. I have visited both bigger fairs, CIFF and Revolver. There I have been successful to check out a hand full of labels each. But be aware that CIFF is uber-dimensionally big. You'll get lost without a map.

And unfortunately CPH has to disappoint once more, because there is no fashion show. Maybe a 'somewhat sustainable' label has its own show. And by somewhat sustainable I mean niche brands I've seen quite often: They produce fairly in Europe to create high valued textiles for quality reasons. 

Copenhagen, sorry, Berlin definitely scores once more. 2:1. It's much easier to browse the one venue and check out the shows. 

// Street styles and vibe.

(C) Alexander Norheim

(C) Alexander Norheim

Each time after visiting fashion weeks, I return home rather exhausted and at the same time incredibly inspired. You spot people with perfectly styled outfits, looking effortless and much cooler than yourself. Imperfect or styled to death. Fuzzy or well-prepared. Basically any individual style you can imagine, - but more outgoing. Overexcited to finally show of the nicest items of their wardrobes. Because people want to express their individuality specifically this time of the year. You spot the most incredible combinations and would love to soak in the vibe for the rest of the day, instead of heading to the next meeting. And ideally, I would sit in my camping chair with a bottomless beer and watch all of this happen...

Berlin has great street styles in a more edgy way. Mia from Stilinstallation is hunting down and capturing street styles from BLN fashion week, so make sure you check them out here. Sadly though I realized that you have to either attend the right event or be at the right spot. Whereas Scandinavians seem to be born with a sense of aesthetics... 

Here, Copenhagen for sure scores. Scandinavian fashion is not only much more of an eye candy to me, but Scandinavians hit the right spot. They just know how to pull of outfits while looking effortless. And due to the warm summer season, there has been little of all black outfits. 

2:2. Last category:

// Organization.

(C) Frida Gregersen

(C) Frida Gregersen

The last category is less visible to generic visitors and the masses, but I'm a person of structures and details. And as a consequence of knowing the organizers and having helped to run the first ever VinoKilo fashion show, I look at it more thoroughly. Just like anything I do in life. 

#BLNFW is being hosted approx. 3 days of a week. Of those I have two days with an extremely packed calendar and little sleep. And then one day remains to walk around zombie-like. The rest of the actual fashion 'week' only minor events are happening. More influential people thus have to decide which show or event to attend, as many are running simultaneously within this small time slot. 

Copenhagen has a more hyggelig approach to it. To them, fashion week is exactly one week. Most shows are also hosted Wednesday to Friday, but a lot of parties and pop-ups are available much longer than simply three days. Another fact that really caught my attention is the great availability of WiFi at all the fairs (only imagine to host thousands of people at the same time in one location, which all need quick and accessible WiFi. That's a technical challenge and quite costly as well. I know for sure, because I've been looking into it for VinoKilo and WiFi is incredibly expensive for a greater amount of people). And Revolver fair even has their own app, including your ticket, a venue map and notifications. That is also a more sustainable way than printing tickets. 

(C) Alexander Norheim

(C) Alexander Norheim

(C) Alexander Norheim

(C) Alexander Norheim

And the winner is...

Both cities have their own charm and advantages. For me personally, I've enjoyed Copenhagen more, as it is still somewhat exciting and a new and more professionalized setting. Hunting down the labels makes me have a great time, as I barely meet friends or people I know in Copenhagen, which makes my calendar be free for browsing around. 

Berlin feels cozy. It's like the smaller sibling of Copenhagen trying to discover the world and do it's first steps. CPH though impresses by it's professional and clean setting. It is cool, yet anonymous and maybe even too clean. It misses out on the intimate feeling you get in Berlin with all the green labels. Berlin is rough and playful. It has its imperfections but learns every year to grow a bit bigger and better.

Anything else I've missed? Have you attending one of the Fashion Weeks as well? Would you like to know more? Comment below and let me know