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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?


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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