As I enter Hangar 4 of the former Tempelhof Airport, I take a deep breath in, followed by a deep breath back out. After all, the theme for this year’s NEONYT – home to the world’s most sustainable fashion brands – is AIR. How apt for it to take place in a decommissioned airport. It definitely doesn’t get more CO2 friendly than this fashionable, sustainable reappropriation. My colleagues and I have to stop for a moment to take in the scenery; we’ve got lots of questions to answer throughout the day, sent to us by our community on Instagram. We’re ready to have a whole lot to think about and, above all, we’re excited to be inspired by stories from the brands and speakers we love. But first: coffee. Only then will we be able to really throw ourselves into the exhibition full of sustainable fashion, jewelry and accessories, as well as (of course) fair-trade, organic coffee.

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NEONYT – SOMETHING’S IN THE AIR

Category: Fashion     Text: Angela Peltner
As I enter Hangar 4 of the former Tempelhof Airport, I take a deep breath in, followed by a deep breath back out. After all, the theme for this year’s NEONYT – home to the world’s most sustainable fashion brands – is AIR. How apt for it to take place in a decommissioned airport. It definitely doesn’t get more CO2 friendly than this fashionable, sustainable reappropriation. My colleagues and I have to stop for a moment to take in the scenery; we’ve got lots of questions to answer throughout the day, sent to us by our community on Instagram. We’re ready to have a whole lot to think about and, above all, we’re excited to be inspired by stories from the brands and speakers we love. But first: coffee. Only then will we be able to really throw ourselves into the exhibition full of sustainable fashion, jewelry and accessories, as well as (of course) fair-trade, organic coffee.
HI, IT’S ME, NEONYT
It’s hard to believe that NEONYT is only on for three days. Held in Berlin, it is the global hub for fashion, sustainability and innovation, and offers loads to go alongside its 210 exhibitors. In addition to the NEONYT party and the technological showcase, for example, there is also the “Fashionsustain” conference. Through panel discussions, keynotes and masterclasses, international speakers share their expertise on how they want to bring real innovation and change into the fashion and textile industries in order to permanently reduce the huge CO2 emissions these businesses create. A potential solution was suggested by the VEIT GROUP, who are developing a garment press which, in the near future, will be able to filter pollutants out of the exhaust air/steam it emits. Sounds exciting! We enjoyed the event “Prepeek” the most, the heart and soul of which were all the interviews with young, extremely inspiring bloggers and influencers. This was a specific group that showed how the next generation will make their consumer choices: that consciously purchasing something sustainable isn’t contradictory to buying something that’s cool. Rather, that the two together are – finally – a necessity, an idea we want to pass on to all consumers. The idea, also, that everyone can contribute to it, and doing so is cool and right and important. There, I really had a Woodstock moment; I felt a trace of revolution in the air. Most of all, NEONYT offers a platform upon which sustainable fashion brands (even big names like Armedangels and KnowledgeCotton Apparel) can present themselves to shoppers not just as sustainable, but as conventional. It all leads towards one big goal: to continually increase the amount of people invested in sustainable fashion. Therein lies the strong, content-powered approach to NEONYT, which is what makes the event so unique.
With each part of its program, NEONYT references an ever-prevalent theme in the industry: FAST FASHION. The focus of last summer’s NEONYT HUB lay in fashion’s unbelievably high consumption of water resources, particularly with regards to denim production. This year, it lies in the air. Ten percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are a product of the textile industry, and I had absolutely no idea. It’s inconceivable that, while this is the case, some fast fashion chains bring out new collections every fortnight. Everybody always talks about last-mile mobility and coal mines, but the sad truth is that, in the last 20 years, our textile production has doubled, the least of which actually occurs in our own neighborhoods. And it’s awful that I only learnt here at NEONYT that the average piece of clothing in Germany is worn just four times on average before it ends up where everything else does – in any case, not in the wardrobe of who bought it.
BACK TO OUR ROOTS
Let’s roll up our sleeves (which are made from recycled materials, of course) and do something, we all think. And at the exhibition, no matter with which companies we spoke, everyone was united. Slowing down is the solution – the opposite of fast fashion. I inevitably think of my childhood, where it was, for example, completely ordinary for younger siblings to wear the outgrown clothes of the elder. It was completely ordinary for my parents not just to perpetually wear and repair old clothes, but to excitedly share and swap them within families and friendship groups. It was completely ordinary, when the day finally came that I’d outworn a t-shirt, to then use it to clean the windows. Every piece of material was valued, repurposed, and used until it no longer could be. Recycling – and reusing – at its best. And this sparks the biggest question facing us today: how can we transfer these old values into our new age of consumerism and growth? The questions from our community at Green Window showed that even when it comes to sustainable fashion, the same topics of price and credibility always arise. “Is that not really expensive?” was a classic, about which Robert DIeckmann, CEO of “Recolution”, said:
“We aren’t much more expensive than non-sustainable brands. Perhaps, people should just buy a bit less in general. Then they’d find it even cheaper. Everyone needs to recognize that they have the power to make a change.”
And with that, we’ve clarified the issue of price. But what about the topic of credibility? How can I recognize a piece of sustainable clothing and who will tell me if it actually is?
This was discussed by Aki Tuncer, country manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland at KnowledgeCotton Apparel:
“The most sustainable behavior is obviously to buy second-hand, which is what my daughter does. I’m really proud of the new generation – they give me courage. I myself only buy what Is classic and I never blindly follow the trends. That’s how I was raised and that’s how we’re raising our daughter. Fashion doesn’t really change all that quickly, which is the idea we follow at KnowledgeCotton. Plain, well-made, GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified materials in beautiful colors. And that will always be the case. All you have to do is look for the GOTS logo.”
However, shopping sustainably doesn’t just mean to look for logos like those of GOTS, Grüner Knopf or IVN (International Association of Natural Textile Industry”, but also to shop conscientiously. The knowledge that I as a consumer can really make a difference is something that’s stuck with me, even become a part of me over the course of the day. This was really clear to me when we were at the leather-ware stand of the company “Leid & Held”. Up until then, I had thought that vegan bags were really great, but I had lots to learn from talking to the two businesswomen there.
“You can’t really say that vegan leather is leather. It always sounds so great, but the truth is that is comes from oil. It’s in no way sustainable and doesn’t at all match up to an animal by-product like real leather. Moreover, vegan leather doesn’t last a lifetime, whereas you’ll still be able to buy real leather from second-hand shops in 30 years time.
EVERYONE CAN DO FASHION WEEK
But NEONYT sucked us in for eight whole hours and we’ve come out of it knowing so much more:
Buy what is good, high quality – more classic, favorite pieces than just impulse purchases. Wear things for a long time and repair them in all possible cases. If you want to buy things second-hand, that’s even better.
We are all in agreement that NEONYT doesn’t have anything to do with greenwashing. A really strict and important part of it is that the three themes upon which they focus – ecology, social responsibility and transparency – aren’t just empty words. In fact, every company is required to undergo a written sustainability check before partaking in NEONYT, who check the validity of each and every logo or certification. In addition, at least 70% of the pieces exhibited in the collection must meet these sustainability criteria. These include transparency of the work and supply chain, company philosophy and commitment to sustainability goals, to name but a few. There are so many other aspects it would be impossible to mention them all here. As we head back out into the night, the air at Tempelhof is beautifully cold. Once again, I take a deep breath in and a deep breath back out. It’s the most normal thing in the world, this breath. Someday, though, if this were not to be the case, it would become, from one second to another, no longer the most normal but the most existential. Yes, there’s definitely something in the air on this January day in Berlin Tempelhof.

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By |2020-02-04T12:19:51+00:00February 3rd, 2020|FASHION, Fashion_Highlight_EN, Highlight(EN)|Comments Off on BACK TO THE FUTURE NEONYT – SOMETHING’S IN THE AIR