Interviews mit den Organisatoren der „Fair Fashion Affair 2007″ Berlin

Die „Fair Fashion Affair“, die im Oktober 2007 zum ersten Mal in Berlin veranstaltet wurde und aus Filmvorführungen, einer Modeperformance/Schau, einem Symposium und einem Showroom bestand, ist ein ambitioniertes Projekt, das auf die ökologischen und ökonomischen Defizite in der Mode aufmerksam machen, und Impulse für Lösungsmöglichkeiten geben will.

Im Rückblick geben die Organisatoren Cecilia Palmer und Frans Prins Auskunft über ihre Erfahrungen und skizzieren Ausblicke für die Zukunft der „Ethical Fashion“.

Cecilia Palmer, project designer
If you look back to the Fair Fashion Affair 2007, what ́s your impression?
I am enthusiastic about the event. It was something in the atmosphere that you feel that´s just the beginning, that there is something special happening, that there is a need for more, for likeminded projects.
Interested visitors, people who want to know more.
I am also happy to have noticed in the process of realizing this project, that there are actually already quite a few labels in Germany, that there are already things happening and there is already a scene, a fair fashion scene.

A scene?
Small, young labels, spread over Germany, that have started during the past couple of years.
They are innovative, trendy and sexy. Fashion from streetwear to couture, its all there, you know!
The people behind these labels combine vision and creativity, they design fashion with a vision.
They engage their creative work with social and environmental issues. These people don´t have anyone to follow, they do their own thing, they have to find out themselves how to realize their ideas. And the result is creative fashion with social attitude.

What was your idea behind the project?
To give an impulse in Berlin and Germany, in the consuming and the making of fair fashion, and make people realize that a lot has happened, that the times of the old nature textile era is far back, and that the meaning of fair fashion today is something completely different.
You don´t have to compromise your ideals and your looks. How we designed the project and why we made the project is that we wanted to reach fashion people, but just as well the consumers. Because they are the ones that create the demand.
Most often fashion events are something exclusively for fashion people. We wanted to make an open access event, so that we could reach consumers as well.
We want to give an impulse to get more things happening.
We did not organize a Fair, we have organized a smaller event, an Affair, to cause a snowball effect.

Why did you choose an underground atmosphere for the performances?
The choice of organizing this event with a certain underground atmosphere was that it suited the labels that we had collected as well as the whole grassroots concept, it is already there but you have probably not seen so much of it yet.
It is small scale but growing. And starting to influence the mainstream.

Frans Prins, project coordinator
What is your impression of the Fair Fashion Affair?
It was inspiring and creative, also for me personally. During the performances I realized that what started as a one time event is something we will do more often, combining art performances and fair fashion, to make the statement that fair fashion is innovative, something connected to the future.
Ethical fashion is not a trend, it´s a revolution of our consciousness, and influencing style.
That´s why Kuyichi call themselves €˜style conscious´. This is important because in Germany organic, ethical clothing has a bad image, which is completely unnecessary as the ethical fashion revolution is actually one of the most important innovations in the fashion industry of our times.

Can you give an image of the performances?
There was the visual part, the clothing, the fashion show, which looked great with its mix of street style as from the Berlin label Slowmo and designer statements like the child labour issue sewn on dresses by Lisa D. under her label Global Concern.
The atmosphere was exciting, an old factory with people standing side by side. It had something avant-garde. For me, the most important was the unconscious aspect, to influence the mind by subtle symbols, the language of music…
This gave the performance a direct connection to the soul of the audience. That´s why I found it so important to work with “normal people, young people without experience, no professional models. Because of their personal presence and their tension. They were no models, not ready-shaped for the role, just people. The image of a person sleeping behind the sewing machine says more than the slogan “Stop child labour. Because it makes us feel we are humans, we all are, and the clothing I wear was made by another human.
That´s something radical because the images spread by fashion brands are often dehumanizing and proclaiming the human body as a pure object, an object of lust, of desire, of aggression.
In this way our performance could be called postmodern activism.
Also the way we present fair fashion is open, it is a research on what could be fair fashion. I don´t want to give a dogmatic vision on the subject, it´s open for forming your own opinion of it.
Ethical fashion means, let´s think about it!

What do you think is the influence of the Fair Fashion Affair?
To be honest, I think this is just a small push, there is much more needed!
On the other hand, we showed with a very small project how big the interest is for the topic. Both for designers
and consumers. This is something important for the deciders in the fashion industry to pick up.
Where are the stores for ethical fashion? Where to get organic textiles? I want to stumble over these shops. We reached a lot of young fashion designers and fashion students, our main target group. Say we reached about 300 young and future fashion designers and 5 % would decide to seriously do something with it, that would mean 15 new ethical fashion labels in Berlin.
That would be already a great success. I believe in the small steps. It´s also nicer, because the way we
worked, we had good, personal contact with almost everyone we worked with.

Do you have plans for the future?
The coming time we will put more time in the launch of our own ethical fashion label Pamoyo.
Then, I would like to give more pushes in Berlin and Germany, organize creative actions, maybe a guerilla store. But we need more partners to make this happening. We work on a ethical fashion brand database, also.
And we discuss to organize the Fair Fashion Affair again next year as a bigger event, a Berlin concurrent to the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris.
But actually personally I like working on small-scale projects more. The mainstream fairs and brands will take
it up anyway.
Yeah, we have a lot of crazy ideas to realize…