15 July, 2020

Concept Car 4 by BMW, for Zoo Magazine, Munich 2019

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Concept Car 4 by BMW, for Zoo Magazine, Munich 2019 © Gregor Hohenberg

  10 World’s leading trade fashion magazines present the Future of Fashion. Joachim Schirrmacher answers the questions for Germany in a summer interview with Iris Schlomski, Editor-in-Chief of Textile Network.

Textile Network: What is the status of luxury in Germany?

Joachim Schirrmacher: Germany is an important market for luxury goods, even though luxury is rarely celebrated here and tends to have a rather clean appearance, reminiscent of the “Murkudis” concept store. Brands such as Mercedes, Miele, Rimowa and A. Lange & Söhne are revered as luxury goods internationally, but in Germany they are associated with respectability and quality.

How important is the role played by German based fashion designers?

The field is led mostly by niche products such as those by Acronym, Iris von Arnim, GmbH, Diehm Bespoke, Horror Vacui, Mykita, Odeeh, Nobi Talai or 032c. You’ll also find German designers working for almost every international fashion house, often as head of department.

Bricks-and-mortar retail sales are still high

Online shops are booming. Which names stand out here?

Zalando and Highsnobiety from Berlin, Mytheresa from Munich and the Otto Group with its more than 100 companies, like About You. Otto is widely considered the second biggest online trading company in the world, but in contrast to Amazon or Zalando, it has almost always been profitable. There are several new online stores specifically for fair fashion, such as thewearness.

And we shouldn’t forget the bricks-and-mortar retailers. It wasn’t until they had to close during lockdown that we became aware of just how high their sales are.

Do you think that sport- and streetwear and performance wear will continue to experience growth?

Both segments have had a strong commercial footing in Germany for decades and they’re still experiencing growth. This is reflected in the turnover of corporations such as Adidas and Puma, and in the world’s leading trade fairs: ispo and Outdoor for sport, and previously Interjeans in Cologne and Bread and Butter for jeans and streetwear.

Sportiness is a key element in the fight for jobs, partners and status

Why is sportswear so important?

Sportiness is a key element in the fight for jobs, partners and status in Germany. By implementing a “smart-casual” dress code, companies want to be perceived as attractive employers. And even today’s pensioners prefer the Rolling Stones to classical concerts and Acne jeans rather than slacks. Health and physicality have become even more important since the coronavirus reared its head. Every form of fashion is having to embrace this new sense of freedom.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone’s walking around in joggers. On the contrary, people want to live life to the full, and they want to take pleasure in the power of beauty. Even before the pandemic, there was a perceived longing to dress up rather than down. But if you wear a suit today, it’s more likely to be casual – à la Nicolas Bos of Van Cleef & Arpels – and not because you have to but because you want to.

Although we’re always talking about the globalisation of trends, here in Berlin there’s a different look in every neighbourhood. Life is much more diverse than is perhaps reflected by the fashion media and brands.

A Project by David Shah from “Textile View” with Textilia (Brazil), China Textile (China), Fashion Network (France), Textile Network (Germany), Rtm Magazine (India), Zoom On Fashion Trends (Italy), Senken Shimbun (Japan), Profashion (Russia), Twist WTiN (United Kingdom), and Sofia Celeste (USA).

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