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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 Hoff­man, 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.

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(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 JUSTLABEL, 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.

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(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. 

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