Quo vadis, German Fashion?

Lookbook Frank Leder Men's fashion AW 2019 in Wien

Since 2019, the German Craft Council has been increas­ingly committed to coop­er­a­tion with fashion asso­ci­a­tions to strengthen German fashion produc­tion. To this end, votes are held with the Fashion Council Germany (FCG), the Asso­ci­a­tion of German Fashion Designers (VDMD), the German Fashion Designer’s Feder­a­tion (GFDF) and the Asso­ci­a­tion of Berlin Fashion Designers (VBM). The aim is to develop a coor­di­nated strategy to support medium-sized fashion and textile manu­fac­turers, which has become neces­sary due to the changed envi­ron­mental condi­tions of recent years.

As far as fashion is concerned, we do not have the same cultural tradi­tion in Germany as in France, Italy or England. This applies to the entire spec­trum of “sensual design produc­tion”, including luxu­rious product design, for example, but above all: fashion. Some German fashion labels sell quite well, but if you want to be one of the top 20 players, you have to think in inter­na­tional terms.

These uncer­tain­ties are offset by ideal­istic shifts within the industry: Consumers are changing, demanding not only direct shop­ping expe­ri­ences, but also absolute corpo­rate trans­parency — from produc­tion processes to sustain­ability issues and data protec­tion. Fashion manu­fac­turers must there­fore ques­tion or even dissolve previous busi­ness models. This includes above all an inno­v­a­tive approach to digi­tal­i­sa­tion and a rethink towards on-demand produc­tion.

If you take a closer look at the sales figures, you can see that the German fashion labels expe­ri­enced several decades in which things went very well — and that things will not neces­sarily continue like this now. In the past 20 years, some compa­nies have earned a lot of money, the founding gener­a­tions of these compa­nies have achieved a lot. But now there are moments of disrup­tion and the current retail trade is reaching its limits. In general, less money is spent on clothing, people prefer to invest in expe­ri­ences, such as travel. How can you still get people excited about fashion? These are simply chal­lenges that this industry has never known before. More­over, there is no longer a general upswing that pulls all compa­nies with it.