Whether it’s haute couture, second-hand or from a cut-price outlet, clothing is more than just something to wear. It’s a way of displaying to others our attitude to life and social status and associating us with a certain type of music or youth culture.

On Sept. 8, the symposium Fashion@Society zooms in on fashion design, youth culture and social identity and aims to highlight the social dimension of fashion as a medium of social differentiation and identification. The focus will be on the importance of subcultures at the outset of the 21st century and their political potential.

The event organized by the Federal Agency for Civic Education and the Goethe-Institute takes place at the Berliner Academy of Arts Berlin at Pariser Platz.

Among the speakers are fashion journalist Jeroen van Rooijen, Dr. Heike Jenß from Parsons The New School for Design in New York, former GDR fashion journalist Dorothea Melis, Klaus Farin from Archive of youth culture Berlin and fashion designer and createurope finalist Michael Sontag.

Alongside speeches and discussion, there will be a fashion cafe and numerous presentations of fashion projects by labels such as Mitumback and Worn Relics, which produces new creations from old clothes.

The symposium is part of createurope: The Fashion Design Award, a design competition initiated by Goethe-Institute, which is taking place this year for the second time and a project of the Goethe Institute. This year’s 30 finalists, who come from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, will present their collections on Oct. 23 in a final catwalk show at Uferhallen under the patronage of Dirk Schönberger, creative director of the fashion label Joop!

Throughout September, createurope’s new 30 finalists will showcase their portfolios at the Galeries Lafayette. Visitors to the department store will also be able to vote for their favorite designer to win the createurope Audience Award.