Tuesday 26 January 2021

202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit

Leading international visionaries came together at 202030–THEBERLIN FASHION SUMMIT to shape a meaningful future for fashion 

The first edition of 202030 – THE BERLIN FASHION SUMMIT, which took place as part of Berlin Fashion Week from 21-24 January 2021, strengthened change in the fashion industry and inspired rethinking. Despite the pandemic, the organizer studio MM04 cooperated with Sqetch and the Beneficial Design Institute to facilitate a vivid exchange between high-profile thought leaders and visionaries from fashion, tech, politics, science, business, and the creative industry. The conference had 2155 views by 1468 registered participants from all over the world, including high-class experts such as Amanda Parkes (Pangaia), Amber Jae Slooten (The Fabricant), Bandana Tewari (Journalist), Eva Kruse (Global Fashion Agenda), Matthew Drinkwater (Fashion Innovation Agency), Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart (Cradle to Cradle) who came together to discuss the future of Fashion Culture, Fashion Economy, and Fashion Product.

The 202030 – THE BERLIN FASHION SUMMIT was conceived in two parts, with a non-public working format for professional exchange and vision development and a public part for the translation of the content to a wider audience. The organizers agree that their virtually executed event was a success. The digital platform allowed the participants to connect before the summit, interact with each other during presentations, and exchange expertise after each day. Nearly 900 users took advantage of these networking and chat possibilities. "We are pleased about the vivid and curious exchange within the interactive community and the many questions from the chat that were taken up via the moderators," says Max Gilgenmann from studio MM04. Participants came from France, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, the United States, India and Brazil, just to name a few. The 202030 – THE BERLIN FASHION SUMMIT was funded by the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises. “We are delighted to have such an impactful format as 202030 - THE BERLIN FASHION SUMMIT with leading experts in the line up as part of the realigned Berlin Fashion Week focusing on sustainability and digitalization. With up to 1500 registered participants per day and high international participation, the summit has far exceeded our expectations. It is important to me that we now incorporate the findings into our activities," says Ramona Pop, Senator for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises.


Sustainability is omnipresent and now is a good momentum to put goals into action. The pandemic has shown that most of the system the industry is operating in is dysfunctional. “We cannot continue to evolve under these circumstances and covid-19 has acted like some kind of giant magnifying lens. It has been so obvious that brands increase their profits while owing billions of garment workers in unpaid wages”, highlighted Orsola de Castro from Fashion Revolution. Leading experts agreed that a more sustainable fashion industry is not just the goal of one individual, but the goal of an entire industry. Eva Kruse from the Global Fashion Agenda emphasized in an interview with Magdalena Schaffrin from studio MM04: „Brands are coming together, deciding to fight against the system that has been created. But we also need bold leadership again, and then let that be the vision. And that’s the cool thing about fashion, that it can influence so much – also how we think about the product.“

And fashion goes far beyond the product. The lifestyle journalist and sustainability activist Bandana Tewari from Craft Diplomacy argued that fashion needs more compassion: “It is about understanding that we need to be compassionate human beings to be creators and to be consumers. Compassion and human understanding should also be the choice when we decide what to wear.” A crucial point is that fashion brands have to offer better options. Prof. Dr. Braungart, one of the founders of the Cradle to Cradle design concept, stressed that „Fashion is about holistic beauty. A product that becomes waste has a quality problem and that is not beautiful“. The industry is becoming more and more aware of this new demand: “During the pandemic, we observed that customers start to think more about their choices. Thus, we want to give them more sustainable options”, said Jade Buddenberg from Zalando. 

One of the biggest upcoming shifts in fashion will be from physical to digital fashion and that will change the way we communicate, design, and interact with products. Matthew Drinkwater from the Fashion Innovation Agency in London demonstrated that we are going to a completely new fashion ecosystem, where fashion does not need to be physical to be real. Digital fashion allows designers to show their creations first digitally to the consumers before they start producing physically what would enable them to produce on-demand. Leslie Holden from the Digital Fashion Group pointed out that the new generation of designers needs to be educated on how to use technologies to reshape the industry and use technologies to their advantage: “This is the end of fashion as we know it. Through digital technology, we have so many new opportunities to rewrite how we want the industry to be. For example, I don’t know any fashion school that is teaching designers how to work with big data.”. 

The second edition of the 202030 – THE BERLIN FASHION SUMMIT will take place in summer 2021. For further information please see ​www.202030summit.com 

Instagram @202030summit

202030 – The Berlin Fashion Summit – Fashion Culture > Recap.mp4 from studio MM04 on Vimeo.

202030 – THE BERLIN FASHION SUMMIT is organized by studio MMO4 in cooperation with Sqetch and Beneficial Design Institute. 

studio MM04 is a Berlin-based creative strategy consultancy with an international network that supports companies and organisations in shaping their future with a radical passion for fashionable aesthetics and profound sustainability expertise. 

Sqetch is an innovation agency and IT company that connects fashion brands with producers and suppliers worldwide on their B2B online sourcing platform ​sqetch.co and helps them establish transparent supply chains. Sqetch is based in Berlin and Amsterdam. 

The Beneficial Design Institute GmbH is a design research and development institute for sustainable and circular products with a focus on fashion and textiles. The BD-I researches, develops and tests holistic innovation concepts. It designs fashion, textiles and products from prototypes to series production.

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