The digital conference Werkstatt der Zukunft will bring together international experts for the first time at Frankfurt Fashion Week next week to unite the “New European Bauhaus” movement with the fashion industry. Scott Lipinski, CEO of the Fashion Council Germany, gives an insight into the idea behind the interdisciplinary event on 6 July 2021 – and explains why the New European Bauhaus idea is highly relevant for fashion.
Why did the Fashion Council Germany set up the conference ‘The New European Bauhaus – Werkstatt der Zukunft’? What is the message and goal?
Scott Lipinski, FCG: The idea of organising an EU-wide conference to unite interdisciplinary sector experts is not new to us in the Council. Together with our board members, we have been working on a plan for some time to accelerate processes of change and rethinking. Unfortunately Covid-19 made it difficult to plan an event. But a couple of months ago, Frankfurt Fashion Week provided the necessary platform with its digital FFW Studio to bring our idea of an interdisciplinary exchange to life.
The aim of our conference is to bring together interdisciplinary experts to share their knowledge on sustainability, innovation, technology, inclusion and design. It is time to work on concrete solutions that will lead Germany – together with the other fashion locations – into a sustainable future.
Why is the idea of the ‘New European Bauhaus’ so important for the fashion industry?
The negative impact of fashion and textile production on our environment is immense, the development towards sustainable production is inevitable. The dyeing and finishing of textiles alone accounts for around 20 percent of global water pollution (source: EEA) and causes 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions (source: EPRS).
The ‘New European Bauhaus’ movement, first outlined by Ursula von der Leyen in September 2020, is a call to collectively develop and realise visions of a sustainable, inclusive, intellectually and emotionally engaging future based on the European Green Deal. The initiative encourages projects that combine sustainability with aesthetic design. And that’s where we come to fashion, because fashion should be sustainable, for sure, but also appealing in design. If sustainable brands manage to reach a large mass of end consumers with their designs, the products will increase in demand on their own. With our conference, we would like to create a new movement that combines the ‘New European Bauhaus’ idea with fashion. → #NewEuropeanBauhausFashion.
Where do we stand and what needs to change?
Our study on the Status of German Fashion showed that fashion is a big economic factor – in Germany we contribute 66 billion euros to the gross domestic product. However, when it comes to production, we are the only industry that does more offshoring than reshoring. In order to promote sustainability, innovation and inclusion, we need to initiate changes to be able to control production paths. We need to stick together and learn from each other, create new technologies to drive the circular economy and protect resources. But we also need to reach consumers, preferably with good design and transparency: the awareness for sustainability is definitely there, we now need to work to ensure that the products are in high demand. Therefore, it helps to educate people from all sides.
Furthermore, fashion needs to be taken seriously in order to be heard in politics. We have achieved a first step with the study on the status of German fashion, which was supported by the Federal Ministry of Economics. And we really feel that our industry is being seen more and more. Another measure that would help the industry to become more sustainable would certainly be the reestablishment of local production capacities. The willingness of the brands is there. What is needed is an incentive to be able to build these capacities. We need to work together to achieve our goals. This is exactly what we are doing with our conference and the resulting next steps. Also, we are uniting all European Fashion Councils with their voice and vision to help shape the future. It is the start for something new.
The conference ‘The New European Bauhaus – Werkstatt der Zukunft’ on 6 July, 10 am – 6 pm, is accessible digitally and free of charge.
To access the stream, interested parties must register via the website www.neweuropeanbauhaus.fashion/. The programme and an overview of the speakers and topics will also be provided on the website.
Also, feel free to check out the Instagram channel: @neweuropeanbauhaus.fashion.