Ten years after its initial launch as Berlin’s go-to showcase for eco-friendly fashion, Neonyt returned to Fashion Week on July 2-4 with new tech, big ideas for the future of sustainability in the industry and — of course — the best of fair fashion at Kraftwerk Berlin.

It was Neonyt’s second appearance (the first was at Fashion Week in January) since the founders of Greenshowroom and Ethical Fashion Show announced last summer that the two would be combined into a singular hub for sustainable fashion and innovations. 

Though historically smaller than some of Berlin Fashion Week’s bigger trade shows, Neonyt managed to fill three floors of the power station-turned-showroom with more than 170 brands from around the world that passed sustainability checks for social responsibility and ecology.

The building — a warehouse aesthetic complete with metal staircases and leftover control panels from its days as a power station — was filled with foot traffic for much of the three-day show.

An upstairs room set up for panel discussions
Photo: SI Team
An upstairs room set up for panel discussions

Here’s a few of the highlights:

Brands

Luxury footwear brand Nat-2 had some of its most innovative designs on display with sneakers made from leftover animal blood, hay, cannabis leaves and recycled Swarovski crystals — many of which were featured on a 3D-printed “Eco Wall” embedded with a drainage system made by BigRep.

Luxury footwear label Nat-2
Photo: SI Team
Luxury footwear label Nat-2
 Sebastian Thies, nat-2 founder and designer, said this is the brand’s fifth year at Neonyt, which he said contains “the most innovative, avante garde of sustainable fashion.” With so many alternatives to what Thies dubbed “old-school materials,” he said there’s no reason more labels shouldn’t be sustainable.

“If the design is not sustainable, it’s not a good design,” Thies said. “Simple as that.”

Petra Wentholt, co-owner of Mud Jeans, said this was the denim brand’s first year back at Neonyt after a few seasons exhibiting at Seek. Mud has a circular manufacturing process, allowing customers to send back any pair of jeans (not just their own, as long as the pants contain 95 percent jean material) to be shredded and repurposed.

Wentholt said Neonyt used to feel like one big party that attracted a lot of students and press but lacked enough retailers. Now she said the sustainable show has grown and matured with a lot more retailers on hand— similar to the sustainable fashion industry as a whole.

“Before you could choose sustainable or fashionable,” Wenthold said. “But now you can look good and feel good.”

Fair fashion denim by Mud Jeans
Photo: SI Team
Fair fashion denim by Mud Jeans
 Showcasing for the first time was Stuttgart shopping center Das Gerber, which recently launched “Econic Goods by Gerber.” The retailer sells a selection of curated sustainable brands in an effort to give smaller labels the chance to sell in a store, which are often difficult to fill up alone. 

Reps from Das Gerber said they primarily look at production when considering sustainable labels, asking themselves, “What’s behind the label?” People often think sustainable clothing should be boring, one rep said, but Gerber’s collection offers anything from streetwear to Garden Party attire. 



Technology

Another first at Neonyt was the technology showcase on the top floor of Kraftwerk. There, tech supplier Gemini CAD Systems operated a micro factory in which a woman’s dress — from design to production — was created in under four hours. Julian Boia from Gemini said the goal was to show how easily production can be done in Europe without going overseas, an affordable alternative for young designers.

A laser machine cutting fabric for the Gemini CAD Systems micro factory.
Photo: SI Team
A laser machine cutting fabric for the Gemini CAD Systems micro factory.
 The micro factory began with a pattern at a 3D design station that was then printed on transfer paper. The transfer paper is combined with fabric made from recycled plastic and later cut with a laser machine before a seamstress assembles the pieces.

Texi Atelier, a Polish company that makes machines designed for in-home design studios, also had several of its products on display — including an octopus ironing board, iron press, embroidery machines, lock stitch machines and an industrial cutter.

An embroidery machine by Texi Atelier
Photo: SI Team
An embroidery machine by Texi Atelier

Runway Show

The Neonyt Fashion Show, which was presented at the MBFW on Tuesday at Ewerk, focused on denim. Around 80 national and international sustainable fashion brands and designers presented their designs, including Ackermann, Camper, Dzaino, EKN, Fade Out, Friedrich Dippmann, Graciela Huam and Hess Natur, HØYEM, Humour Noir, Maison Matz, Marita Moreno, Mud Jeans, NAKTNat2 Shoes, Nouare Jewelry, Schmidttahkashi, Sepideh Ahadi, Silfir, SKFK, Sophia Schneider-Esleben, Spatzhutdesign, VEJA, Velt and Wunderwerk. 

The show was curated by Claudia Hofman, stylist and co-founder of the Fashion Council Germany, who put together the multi-brand looks. The sustainable denim pieces were combined with leather, silk, mesh, satin or cord and the looks ranged from bohemian, western, motorcycle and skater to streetwear, folklore, sports and techno styles.

Presenting partners of the show for the first time were Dr. Hauschka, Lenzing and Oeko-Tex. The Neonyt Fashion Show is also supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

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