When Magdalena Schaffrin set up the Greenshowroom with her colleague as a trade fair for sustainable design fashion in 2009, she rented herself at the Berlin luxury hotel “Adlon” at the Brandenburg Gate. A clever move. How you can emerge “green fashion” from its own shadows better than to push it into the spotlight during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in sight of the fashion tent.
Magdalenas Mission: sustainable fashion as mainstream
She had to give up her own eco-label *magdalena schaffrin, which she had founded two years earlier. Both could not be reconciled. Not a simple decision, but like everything in the life of the in Stuttgart born woman, this happened as a part of an even greater mission. Her future vision: sustainable fashion as mainstream!
Their commitment seems to be worthwhile: Meanwhile, the sustainable designer platform has been extended by the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin, with a focus on streetwear and casual wear. Magdalena Schaffrin sold the project to Messe Frankfurt in 2011, but the founder still acts as creative director. The “Adlon” had to been left because of space reasons. At the Berlin Postbahnhof the Greenshowroom a sufficiently large home on the found. In 2009, Magdalena Schaffrin was awarded the Berlin Environment Prize in the category of business and innovation by virtue of her commitment to sustainable fashion. Two years later, thanks to her creative innovations, she is included in the “100 Women of Tomorrow” initiative by the “Germany – Land of Ideas” site initiative.
Interview with Eco-pioneer Magdalena Schaffrin
my-GREENstyle: For the production of the two Fashionshows, you have brought with Eymeric Francois professional support from Paris to Berlin. How satisfied are you with the result?
Magdalena Schaffrin: Very. I got very good feedback and liked the show. The music was also fantastic. It has expressed our focus on the way ahead.
my-GREENstyle: Berlin is the only fashion week location with such a strong presence of sustainable fashion. How is it with an expansion of the Greenshowroom in the direction of London, Paris & Co.?
M.S.: Messe Frankfurt is an international company. Currently, however, nothing is planned – we are concentrating on Berlin.
Magdalena Schaffrin has given green fashion a platform
my-GREENstyle: Again and again I hear from press colleagues that they do not take the way to the Greenshowroom at the Postbahnhof in the tightly packed Fashion Week schedule. To bring sustainable fashion locally closer to the other Venues would be a possibility to put Eco-Fashion further into the spotlight.
M.S.: The location search in Berlin is not easy. And we have already created a very good connection with the joint ticket for Greenshowroom, Premium, Show & Order and Seek. And also the connection to the Mercedes-Benz shuttle service makes a visit with us very easily. With the Salonhow, we have a cooperation with the IMG and are therefore represented in the official Fashionweek calendar. Overall, we are quite well integrated into the official Fashion Week with our events.
my-GREENstyle: That’s right, of course. But I still hear that again and again..
M.S.: Then it is a priority issue. The Seek in the arena is even farther away. This has nothing to do with the distances, but with the interest. In addition, we see a positive trend of conventional buyers. They are more interested in our topics and come to our event.
When people do not come to the Greenshowroom, it has nothing to do with distances but with disinterest
my-GREENstyle: Less collections and a focus on quality are supposed to slow the conventional fashion down. High fashion labels, such as Gucci and Burberry, are currently launching e.g. unisex collections – an attempt to slow down the fashion. With your label *magdalena schaffrin you have made unisex 10 years ago. What made you think so?
M.S.: (laughs) Creating unisex collections makes absolutely sense. What can I say? (Laughs) The fact that sustainability is a future issue is now slowly entering the conventional fashion. The whole effort that Kering (including Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney) undertook to bring his whole group to sustainability is personally quite exciting and good. We will see.
my-GREENstyle: What do you mean, what we have to expect from this direction? How fast will you see success?
M.S. I talked with Michael Braungart, the Cradle-to-Cradle founder, when I was pregnant. He asked me if I would take a break. But leave me a year out of fashion? That happens in the meantime so much. But Michael said the mills are grinding so slowly in this industry – they would have needed 20 years to ban PVC in children’s shoes in the EU. So we’ll wait …
The mills in the conventional fashion business grind slowly. But they grind
my-GREENstyle: Eco-Warrior – is it one term with which you can live? Or what title would you give yourself?
M.S.: (laughs) This is a good question. I have just made new business cards – where sustainability and fashion stand, because I simply do not know what I am. I am Creative Director for the two fairs, I have a consulting job where I make assortment development for manufactory, and I just have brought out a book. What do you mean? If you have an idea for me – you´re welcome!
my-GREENstyle: You have given up your own collection for time reasons. What labels can we find in your wardrobe?
M.S.: At the moment I wear Alex Kurkowski, the pants are from Goodsociety. Meanwhile I got some things from Lanius and Umasan in my wardrobe.
If I mean sustainable fashion, I speak of quality fashion.
my-GREENstyle: What do you want for sustainable fashion?
M.S.: I wish we could no longer talk about sustainable fashion. I wish we could find a term for the other fashion. I call it conventional fashion, because I do not like the term as much as the conventional fashion itself. When I mean sustainable fashion, I speak of quality fashion. This is because the concept of sustainability is part of the concept of quality. A high quality manufactured garment can not have been created by children’s hands and can not contain any harmful chemicals. And I will go there. Social and ecological factors, on the other hand, gives the product even more quality.
my-GREENstyle: And how do you rate the development of sustainable fashion? Where do we stand in 10 years?
M.S.: Not here. But in Berlin.
Thanks for the conversation, Magdalena!