Berlin Alternative Fashion Week 2016

BAFW 2016, REUSE:it Denim Project. Image Pieter Symon for W.O.L

Berlin Alternative Fashion Week has grown out to be the most fun and innovative Fashion Weeks of all. With a week full program, it offers a look in to the realm of alternative concepts in fashion, featuring genre-breaking and daring innovators- building on the fine symbiosis between fashion, music and art. Alternative, bohemian counter cultures have influenced fashion for decades, from Vivienne Westwood’s punk, to Gareth Pugh, Alexander McQueen and Rick Owens’ dark and otherworldly creations that find their origins in subcultures. The zest for something different is undeniably huge and last year Vetements gave an extra push by blowing new life in to the concept of Anti-fashion. One can’t deny that fashion as we know is changing, with a growing interest in sustainable and slow fashion and the merging of subcultures in to the realm of mainstream and high fashion. With all of this going on, one could ask- what is alternative fashion? Or moreover, is there still such a thing as alternative fashion? If you are occupied with these questions, Berlin Alternative Fashion Week is the place to get some answers.

Day one is REUSE:IT – built around the subject of upcycled and vintage fashion. The evening opened with a speech on the current cycle of fashion, the disaster of Rana Plaza and the running Slow Fashion campaign #WhoMadeYourClothes. The message was loud and clear: You don’t have to buy new clothes, you can reuse what you have. Eleven international designers put up a spectacular show, exemplifying the possibilities of upcycling. The atmosphere in the Postbahnhof venue is positive and full of excitement. The crowd runs diverse from Goth, wave, industrial, Japanese street wear, to fashionable Berliners and fashion lovers of all sorts and shapes. Models strolled down the runway in all sizes and races, celebrating, dancing, baring messages on their clothes or playfully wrapped in chocolate wrappers, christmas decorations, ribbons and clad in harnesses.

Day two is Alchemy, giving stage to designers who are blurring the lines between fashion and art. Seventeen designers including Ria Keburia will present their collections throughout the day, including a large designer market featuring over 40 international designers. It’s loud and clear. This is where fashion is democratised, where things are hot and happening and concepts are reinvented. Alternative fashion is claiming its rightful place in fashion, away from the fleeting world of trends and the constraints of big mogul brands. Hands down, this is the best fashion week we’ve visited. You can view the gallery of day one here to get a taste of the vibe and we will follow up later with show reports of the exciting collections we have been privileged to witness.