Fashion Week Berlin in July 2011

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A series of articles will give an inside view of a very special world. Fashion weeks are a highlight for a designer and the “acid”-test for his or her collection – live or die!

A world on its own

I am accompanying a Swiss designer with her S/S collection 2012 to the Fashion Week Berlin next week. It is a thrilling and unique experience!

I remember the excitement when I was working in a Formula 1 motorsport team, and the fashion business is not that far away. It is a very special world with very special people – and very much like the prestigious Formula One world, the fashion business is focused on publicity at one hundred percent. Without the fashion magazines, the online bloggers and the newspapers, it would be literally impossible to attract the attention of the customers.

Publicity at any price

For a fashion label it is paramount to appear in magazines. If nobody knows you, nobody buys you – and the buyers, first and foremost, are the purchasers of fashion stores. Most of these people are simply being overrun by hundreds of new collections every year. They usually stick to the brands which they are already ordering every season, and it is a tough call to convince them to try something new – unless this new collection has already had a broad appearance in the fashion magazines.

At the end of the day, it is much more a question of having been at the right place at the right time and met the right people than being extraordinarily skilled and original.

“Come up with a solution or get out of my way”

My designer – her name is Alexandra – is now 5 days away from her fashion show in Berlin. Ideally, designers try to tailor and manufacture the whole collection well in advance because it is quite important to have a “look-book”. This is a bundle of pictures with all the pieces of your collection and the description of materials, and colours, and sizes, and other details. However, the ideal world does not exist, and therefore Alexandra is still tailoring pieces, and is far from being ready…

This is usually a time close to despair and things tend to rather go wrong than right anyway. Pressure mounts, tension mounts, and the atmosphere starts to vibrate. While people usually find a dozen excuses and reasons why something would not work – in circumstances like these, people have to focus on solutions, and NO is no longer accepted as an answer. Be smart and quick!

Countdown

On Tuesday afternoon, the whole team will be in Berlin, and the collection hopefully as well. Some of the pieces have to be sent directly from the ateliers all over Europe to Berlin because the schedule was just too tight. And from there the countdown to the show on Wednesday evening will be ticking…