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The buzz from Berlin

January 22, 2010

berlinIt’s Berlin Fashion Week and the catwalk in the big, white tent at the heart of the German capital is buzzing.

The event that started in 2007 is growing steadily despite the global recession, which knocked 8 percent off luxury sales last year. There are 33 designers  showing in Berlin this year, versus 29 last year.

“We’ve not seen some horrible crater of a lack of interest in the event both on the sponsor or the designer site. But it certainly has led people in general to ask more questions how they are spending their money,” said Zach Eichman, vice president at IMG Fashion, the event’s organizer, which also handles New York City’s famed Fashion Week.

“There is a little bit more room in Berlin right now for designers like Custo Barcelona, Hugo Boss or Joop!, Rena Lange, Strenesse or Schumacher to present collections and have everyone’s attention rather than compete for attention. And that’s what has helped the event over the past couple of years,” IMG’s Eichman said.

German luxury ready-to-wear label Rena Lange used the fashion week this year to stage its first catwalk show.  “We are a German brand so it makes sense for us to show here. The atmosphere is lighter, less aggressive and more positive. It’s a soft start,” said designer Julian Neale.

But it is almost getting too busy on Bebelplatz. The tent is getting too small for the growing number of shows. Besides, a brewing controversy erupted over the location as campaigners said public events like fashion shows were an insult to an anti-Nazi memorial in the square.

The spring/summer 2011 shows may well be somewhere else in the city. Where is still unclear.

“We are in the process of working with the city to look at new locations for the event. What the timeline for that is, is not a hundred percent set. I don’t see us … doing anything that would diminish the event in the short term based on the current controversy,” Eichman said.

Already, there are several shows offsite and the fashion trade shows BREAD & butter and Premium are also elsewhere in the city.

(Photo/Reuters)

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