Till Milius, courtesy of Berlin Fashion Week
New York Fashion Week might be just starting stateside, but over in Europe, the fashion shows have not stopped. Following a highly buzzy couture run and men's collections in Milan and Paris, Berlin Fashion Week picked up the baton from February 5–8, pushing its traditional January slot ever so slightly to February in an effort to establish itself as another competitor in the international ready-to-wear scene.
This season, Berlin Fashion Week filled every corner of the German capital with fresh talent. With 32 official shows on the fall-winter 2024 schedule held across different venues around the city, plus multiple off-calendar events, the city transformed into a breeding ground for community and creativity.
For a slew of seasons now, Berlin Fashion Week has already been home to more established talent like Namilia, the Berlin-based duo behind the first drop of Kylie Jenner's Khy brand, notorious for their NSFW designs. While brands like Namilia will always have a top spot in the German scene, it's the emerging designers that swing big for BFW in terms of international appeal.
Initiatives like Berlin Contemporary, aimed at supporting and highlighting up-and-coming labels, help launch talent from a local stage to a global platform. In total, 18 brands were selected as winners this year, including newly-created labels — more on that below — and veterans like William Fan, Dennis Chuene, Richert Beil, and Ukrainian-born designer Kristina Bobkova.
Each designer at BFW has its own distinctive flavor. However, some common threads connect them all: unbridled creativity, an underground sensibility, unmatched fluidity, a focus on sustainability, and more than a touch of wearability.
With new funding from Berlin's Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises, Berlin Fashion Week, organized by the Fashion Council Germany, is slowly but surely finding its footing within fashion's main pillars, not unlike Copenhagen, to fully display the talent coming outside of fashion's Big Four.
Below, find Teen Vogue's top 10 emerging designers from Berlin Fashion Week's fall-winter 2024 season that should be on your radar — if they aren't already.
SF1OG was one of the clear standouts from this season of Berlin Fashion Week. The genderless brand, founded by Rosa Marga Dahl in 2019 and co-helmed by Jacob Langemeyer, transported guests to the Ernst-Reuter-Gymnasium, a school in the north of the city, for a class-in-session show. Guests sat around on school chairs around the gymnasium while models made their way to class, sitting one by one facing a blackboard. “The SF1OG FW24 collection weaves a tale of school days, intertwining memories from different generations in a forward-looking perspective,” folder paper hats read.
Set to remixed versions of Wheatus’s “Teenage Dirtbag” and blink-182’s “What's My Age Again?” and with models carrying props like an old issue of teen mag Bravo, the show used 2010s nostalgia as a vessel to present a highly modern collection, mixing leather, tartan, and more, and hiding a sneaky Eastpak collaboration. With an ethos rooted in sustainability and innovation, SF1OG only works with responsible, repurposed, deadstock fabrics via two product lines: 101-Line, which features experimental, made-to-order, upcycled designs, and their ready-to-wear multiplied line produced in small batches.
Aside from the show as part of Berlin Contemporary, SF1OG was also awarded the UGG Culture Changemaker Prize in partnership with the Fashion Council Germany at BFW for their reworked Classic Mini Boot made with repurposed Apple chargers, for which they received an extra 40,000€.
Lou de Bètoly, an anagram of designer Odely Teboul’s real name, which she now uses as a moniker, is a Berlin-based label founded in 2017 already worn by the likes of Dua Lipa, Rosalía, and Beyoncé. A Jean Paul Gaultier alum, Bètoly entered the BFW calendar and 2019 and has since become a highlight.
Rooted firmly in sustainability, the brand almost exclusively works with upcycled fabric to create delicate couture-like pieces. Big on embroidery, knitting, and beading, almost all Lou de Bètoly garments are made by hand at the brand’s atelier by the designer — the only exception is the brand’s first-ever bikini, featuring real pearls, which can be produced “without my hands,” Bètoly says — with only minimal external help required, which means the brand is working at a pace of one collection per year.
The Lou de Bètol fall-winter 2024 show took place in a former furniture store located at Potsdamer Platz, which was wrapped with black foil for the occasion, contrasting with the soft, powdery pieces in black, white, turquoise, and lavender. The collection featured skirts made from bras, as well as fine knitting made from torn-up underwear, and a two-piece bone set featuring recycled dog hair wool made in partnership with a local Berlin company. “If we wear Merino, why not dog hair?” the designer said in a showroom showing her pieces two days after the debut of her collection, emphasizing her no-waste approach to fashion-making.
Founded by Royal College of Arts graduate Marie Lueder in 2019, LUEDER blends sportswear and functional aesthetics to create clothes that are meant to be worn — and can easily be. “I design so people can wear my pieces to death,” Lueder says, showcasing her garments post-show.
The brand’s fall-winter 2024 "MONO-MYTH" collection, also shown at Potsdamer Platz, put the emphasis on genderless, circular pieces made from organic denim, recycled jersey, and eco-nylon, as well as an over-a-pound-heavy merino wool scarf-cardigan hybrid made in a muted color palette resembling fire, earth, and dust, with red as the only outlier. Operating on a made-to-order only basis with an all-female production in London, LUEDER’s pieces draw elements from medieval craftsmanship and adapt them to modern wearers. A standout for the designer is an asymmetric knitted dress that is one-size-fits-all — or perhaps more accurately “most” — that is meant to adapt and mold to the wearer, achieving a different look depending on each different body type.
Abarna Kugathasan's Kitschy Couture held its very first show at BFW, thanks to the support of Berlin Contemporary. Kugathasan describes her brand as “a celebration of diasporic identity,” using it as the medium to merge her Sri Lankan and Tamil ancestries with her Western upbringing in Germany.
Kugathasan transformed Berlin’s Ballhaus Pankow into a wedding hall to present her fall-winter 2024 collection, "Buttercream Fantasy," a sugary bridal confection. Despite the minimalistic color palette of beige and whites, Kitschy Couture’s collection felt like the most colorful on the schedule. The brand is known for its lingerie-inspired, ruffle-heavy aesthetic, which was delivered with a side of saris shown by way of a sangeet dance interlude. The brand’s final look, a cake-inspired wedding gown, had its own stage and was also retreated in an edible mini version with a doll to greet guests as they left the venue, making the kitsch in Kitschy Couture loud and clear.
Founded by Julius Weißenborn and Johann Ehrhardt in 2021, Berlin Contemporary winner HADERLUMP only entered the BFW schedule last year, but it's already becoming a staple. The fashion atelier workers exclusively with textile scraps from the Textilhafen Berlin, deadstock fabrics from Recovo, and recycled fabrics self-produced in Spain for a truly circular approach.
HADERLUMP's fall-winter 2024 capsule collection, titled “Circularis,” was a lesson in impeccable tailoring and weightless knitting that also incorporated a section of clothes made in partnership with courier DHL, crafted from discarded workwear from the company. “The Capsule Collection aims to draw attention to the ecological impact of the fashion industry and advocate for a shift away from the throwaway mentality and fast fashion towards sustainable fashion consumption,” the brand shared.
Central Saint Martins graduate and Balenciaga alum Gerrit Jacob hails from Hamburg but has chosen Berlin as its main turf. Already stocked on sites like SSENSE, Jacob's eponymous brand was set up in 2022 and merges his background in both women's and menswear with a genderless approach.
Shown as part of Reference Studios' Intervention showcase, Gerrit Jacob's presentation opening BFW's fall-winter 2024 schedule while staying faithful to the colorful graffiti-esque prints that have already been worn by the likes of XG, Dua Lipa, Lil Nas X, Lewis Hamilton, Lil Uzi Vert, and A$AP Rocky — among others. The key for Jacob is disparity — making oversized silhouettes and corsets and kitten heels and cowboy boots coexist seamlessly.
Hailing from New York, 28-year-old Berlin Contemporary designer Olivia Ballard set up her eponymous label in 2020, putting an emphasis on handmade garments. Her fall-winter 2024 collection, called “Le Lit” (French for “The Bed”), explored “the allure of the bed and revolves around themes such as longing, sensuality, and solitude” and was presented as the continuation of fall-winter 2023’s “At Dusk.”
The predominantly white color palette makes sense when given this prompt, as do the duvet-like 3D pieces and the model holding a pillow, but there’s also room for functional pieces in “Le Lit,” mainly in the form of leather, jersey, and knits. However, the clear standouts are still the hand-twisted woven gowns.
Founded by Sophie Claussen in 2020, Avenir is a circular fashion brand based in Berlin. Borrowing its name from the French word for ‘future,’ Avenir works exclusively with recycled and upcycled materials to convey its message. The brand showed its fall-winter 2024 collection, “SWEAT,” at Berlin's Kühlhaus on the last day of BFW, but sometimes the best things, like dessert, come last.
Playing with the contrast of warmth and cold, “SWEAT” was big on layering, tailoring, and fraying. Doubling down on the dichotomy, models also wore mismatched red and blue socks and heels, mirroring the brand's two lines: a Blue Line comprising made-to-order upcycled garments and Red Line of eco-conscious ready-to-wear.
"Avenir means future. Our greatest inspiration always comes from nature and our commitment to environmental protection," Claussen told BFW. “The collection serves as a somewhat uncomfortable reminder that Earth's temperatures are rising and our planet is in distress. It conveys a sense of discomfort and the urgency of environmental protection measures.”
Also part of Berlin Contemporary, Anonymous Club, the latest creation of Hood By Air's Shayne Oliver, which was founded in 2022, brought controlled chaos to BFW. Shown as part of Reference Studios' Intervention showcase, Anonymous Club's fall-winter 2024 collection aimed to “redefine the urban uniform,” relying heavily on streetwear, oversized silhouettes, and layering. Everyday pieces meant to feel extravagant but a bit rugged is the ethos of the brand, which is already gaining attention from the controversial Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, who flocked to the German capital to see the show in person as models walked the runway in Gummo-esque headpieces with bunny ears despite being on the verge of entering the Year of Dragon.
Founded in 2021, Ukrainian label PLNGNS makes all of its clothes from existing ones, mainly reused sneakers, which were rightfully displayed scattered all over the brand’s presentation at BFW as part of Berlin Contemporary, which featured only street-cast models. The show proudly showcased a Ukrainian flag as its backdrop with the hashtag #FreeMariupolDefenders emblazoned across it.
Helmed by Mitya Hontarenko, PLNGNS operates with a small team sourcing materials from the prevalent secondhand shops in Ukraine. “We transform garment leftovers and waste into wearable art, challenging the conventional narrative,” Hontarenko tells BFW. “[This collection] is a call to change the way big fashion companies handle their waste ‘management.’ We want to spotlight that there are alternative approaches. Our main concept is to reveal a more intricate, non-standard method of creating captivating pieces, playing with materials in innovative ways. The collection reflects our evolution over the past few years, experimenting with diverse materials and manufacturing techniques. It’s a comprehensive showcase of time and experimentation all in one place.”
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue
Want more style stories from Teen Vogue? Check these out: