Meet the creative mastermind behind NEONYT's fashion shows
It’s been a couple of weeks since we attended Berlin Fashion Week and now that we’ve had some time to reflect on brands that we were really impressed by, one stuck out to us that we found especially enticing—NEONYT. Defining themselves as a communication platform, they are a hub for fashion, sustainability and innovation. Bringing together various German and international brands curated by their team, they put together a unique fashion show that was both a visual and physical experience.
We had the chance to have a quick chat with Claudia Hofmann, the creative consultant and brains behind the NEONYT fashion show as well as the co-founder of the German Fashion Council to discuss inspirations for the show, the role of sustainability and predictions for the next big fashion trends.
Q1) Can you speak a little about your journey with Neonyt and what your role is with them?
Since 2017 I have been working as a Creative Consultant, Curator and Fashion Stylist for NEONYT, the sustainable bi-annual fashion show during Berlin Fashion Week presented as part of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. My focus is to highlight sustainable fashion in a fashionable way. In 2017, I initiated the “Editorial Show” format, to curate these multi-brand looks that are from a variety of national and international sustainable fashion labels. This is how the NEONYT fashion show became state-of-the-art in presenting sustainable fashion and turned the vision of a neo-new fashion world into a reality on the runway.
Fashion is an expression of one’s own personality, an individual reflection of our identity. Fashion sends messages and makes statements. Fashion is communication. The NEONYT fashion show is ground breaking in exploring new paths.
For example, I especially coordinate the fashion-outfits to the personality of each model. The looks are consumer oriented like in an editorial shoot for a fashion magazine. The concept addresses the idea of diversity to reflect the current zeitgeist: whether on Instagram or on the high street – brands are being mixed. The more unusual, the better. That is inspirational. For influencers just as much as for buyers looking for an interesting mix of labels for their ranges.
Q2) How do you believe what Neonyt is doing is different to other platforms in this industry?
NEONYT has become “the” global hub where fashion, sustainability and innovation come together. Brands, trade, industry, science or politics —NEONYT brings together the most important decision makers and stakeholders of the fashion and textile industry in an interdisciplinary way. At the same time, it remains consistent with it’s claim to interpret sustainability not only as a fashion trend, but as a holistic innovation process.
(Image courtesy of NEONYT)
Q3) What is the process of selecting brands that Neonyt likes to represent?
Together with my team I am constantly searching for new sustainable brands, within and outside of Germany, through sustainable platforms like NOT JUST A LABEL, online blogs like GOOD ON YOU and different magazines. We look for new avant garde brands as well as well established ones. Some of them are already working in the field of sustainability for over 30 years like HESS NATUR. Also through my position as Co-Founder of the Fashion Council Germany and member of the board responsible for education, I am always looking for new talented designers who work sustainably. I am constantly in an exchange with my colleagues from the CVDA, BFC and the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris to scout new sustainable brands. To create relevant impact, I then mix these interesting fashion brands with great designers for the NEONYT show.
Q4) What was the inspiration behind this year's runway show?
This year the overall theme of NEONYT was ‘Air’. My creative challenge is always to connect the seasonal theme together with the very different fashion aesthetic from 100+ designers and brands. So this time I transformed the theme ‘Air’ into a visual concept, with a special stage-setting, light, music, even with a special smell. And then of course the casting is crucial. The biggest part of preparation goes into editing and styling the looks, to create a creative and fashionable red thread through the whole show. My two focusses are creating a stunning fashion show with desirable seasonal looks and creating a conceptual link with the current emphasis of the fashion industry on climate.I always try to look ahead and predict what the upcoming trends will be. And for a while now I have been convinced that post Athleisure and Streetstyle, the next really big trend is outdoor meets fashion. The outdoor industry has a lot of credibility with innovative technology and performance quality. I believe this will be the next big trend so I am already researching and shooting keeping this theme in mind.So for this NEONYT show I incorporated this new vision of mine and devised the concept of ‘back to nature’
Q5) How do you think brands can take more responsibility in adopting/maintaining sustainable practices not only in the process of creating their collection but also in presentation such as at fashion weeks?
I believe it is essential to educate people and spread awareness on the issues of climate change and our collective responsibility through changing our behaviors (adopting sustainable fashion brands for example). For me the key for successful sustainable garments is to make them look “fashion”— desirable fashion! Nobody wants an unfashionable Öko-style. It is therefore crucial that sustainable brands are presented in a fashionable context and surrounding. With my NEONYT show, I try to create such a fashion level that even international fashionistas take notice. And that is big news, for Berlin and for sustainable fashion, to get noticed by the international fashion community and fashion calendars. Now even Italian Vogue and German Vogue are covering and writing about the NEONYT show.
(Image courtesy of NEONYT)
Q6) How do you see the industry changing in response to the current environmental climate we are in?
Some good progress has already been made, but we need more change and we need it fast. Some great examples of combining high fashion with sustainability are special collaborations, like Rick Owens with Veja, Stella McCartney x Adidas has been around for a while. Gucci is also accelerating, they hired a Sustainability Manager and created an entire new department for it. Recycling and upcycling companies are becoming the new big industries in fashion, also with their new shopping concept for example “pick and weight” or “made in Berlin”. The Vintage market will enormously grow in the future.
Q7) What are some brands you think are at the forefront of sustainable fashion in either their use of technology, innovation in creative/ production processes or otherwise?
VÉJA, PATAGONIA, STELLA McCARTNEY, GRACE WALES BONNER, CHRISTOPHER REHBURN etc.
Q8) As the co-founder of the German Fashion Council, what responsibilities/ actions are you taking to encourage more brands and organizations to rethink their ecological practices?
Since the founding of the FCG 2015 sustainability has been one of the main pillars for us.Sustainability has been one of the issues that has moved and changed the fashion industry rapidly. It was very important right from the beginning to initiate an educational sustainable program first together with our partner the Berlin senate administration for 2 German based designers Julia Leifert und Benu Berlin. After this, in 2016, we initiated a Fellowship program together with our partner H&M to educate and promote talented young designers like William Fan, Anna Heinrichs, Steinrohner and Tim Labender. Since January 2019 the ‘German sustainability concept’ was initiated with our partners NEONYT, Bikini Berlin and Burda Style to promote young talented designers. The brands are Lara Krude, OFT, Phylida, Working Titel. Together with our partners we give the designers the opportunity to learn more about a holistic supply chain and to lead their labels into a creative as well as economic future.