PREMIUM GERMAN DESIGN IS NOT LIMITED TO AUTOMOBILES
Fashion may seem like something that happens twice a year, but the reality is it’s a 365-day endeavour. Taking this on board is the Fashion Council Germany (FCG), whose goal is to provide long-term, sustainable support for German fashion designers and improve awareness of their work both at home and abroad. Founded in 2015 as the first national organisation devoted to fashion, the Council lobbies for the positioning of German fashion as a cultural and economic asset.
The FCG President is none other than Editor in Chief of Vogue Germany, Christiane Arp, with the likes of Sung-Joo Kim, Chief Visionary Officer of MCM; Dirk Schönberger, Creative Director of Adidas; and David Fischer, CEO of Highsnobiety, on the advisory praesidium; while Partners include Mercedes-Benz, H&M, the Berlin Senate and Bikini Berlin. Nurturing and showcasing emerging talent is at the core of the Council’s activities, which are built upon the four pillars of: Education, Business, Awareness and Fashion Tech.
To survive the cut-throat world of fashion, the FCG offers programmes and projects to educate emerging designers for lasting success. This includes the FCG Fellowship Programme in collaboration with established companies, such as H&M, where select designers receive coaching in design, collection management, sourcing, marketing and more. There are also specialised, twelve month long Mentoring Programmes, including a sustainability-focused project with the Berlin Senate, and Young Talent Scholarships that provide financial assistance and mentoring to promising design students. William Fan, Marina Hoermanseder, Tim Labenda, Horror Vacui and Julia Leifert (Philomena Zanetti) are just some of the designers who have benefitted from these schemes. In the future the goal is to create an FCG Design Centre: a fashion hub where designers can exchange ideas, partake in workshops, rent studio space and have access to resources, research facilities and educational tools.
As Pierre Bergé, Jenny Meirens and Adrian Joffe have proven, a successful brand is equal parts business as it is creativity. From production to promotion, lookbooks and logistics the FCG offers expert guidance and support in creating a sustainable business plan. Nascent brands can take advantage of one-on-one coaching on legals, tax advice, personnel management, pricing etc., be paired up with high quality manufacturers and be introduced to other key contacts from the Council’s address books. Further business insights can be gained from conferences, masterclasses, fireside chats and other networking events held by the Council, some of which are open to non-members by invitation. Designers are also given opportunities to present their work to a wider audience at showrooms, pop-ups and important trade fairs, such as Berlin Fashion Week – which the Council now oversees – as well as those in Paris, New York and Copenhagen. The FCG is also working towards establishing their own physical and digital multi-brand showroom where designers can make appointments and sell their wares.
Despite Adidas (a German company) turning over as much profit as Chanel, Prada and Dior put together, fashion is still considered frivolous within Germany’s political and economic realms. The FCG therefore aims to elevate its homegrown fashion industry through lobbying the German Government, as well as the EU, so it can be embraced as a cultural and financial commodity, like it is in France, the UK, Denmark or Italy. To recognise the achievements of German brands the Council has also set up the German Fashion Award and works closely with press and PR agencies to make sure designers get plenty of media coverage. Exchange programmes and delegation trips with international fashion councils further serve to raise awareness overseas.
Last but not least, fashion is about the new. Whether it’s materials innovation or online marketing, the FCG ensures brands stay up-to-date with the latest in Fashion Tech. Acting as an intermediary connecting the fashion industry to research institutes, tech startups and specialist machinery, designers can gain access to smart textiles, 3D printing and laser cutting, while experienced web designers and social media strategists are on hand to help maintain a brand’s flawless online presence with UX-friendly sites and carefully curated Instagram feeds.
Interested in joining the FCG? As a non-profit eingetragener Verein, or “registered association”, the Council is made up of Members, Partners and Mentors whose support is needed to keep on developing the programmes. Members range from designers, journalists, retailers, stylists, PR agencies and other fashion-related businesses who benefit from event invites and networking – get in touch with the FCG to find out more:
Fashion Council Germany e.V.
Bikini Berlin, Budapest Str. 50, 2nd floor garden, 10787 Berlin
+49 30 994 0489 – 50
Title image: FCG x German Embassy London, LFW AW18