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.