Fashion goes green in Berlin

Berlin might not be able to compete with fashion centres like Paris, London and New York, but as Emma Duester reports, some at the city’s Fashion Week are hoping to make the industry a little bit greener.

Fashion goes green in Berlin

The Berlin Fashion Week attracted thousands of designers, models and industry insiders to the German capital over the past few days for shows, trade fairs and parties.

While there were plenty of skinny models strutting their stuff on the city’s catwalks for tradition fashion labels, some exhibitors came with a decidedly different agenda.

This year’s event for green fashion,, promoted environmentally friendly and fair-trade fashion in Berlin by bringing together 65 green fashion brands under one roof.

‘Pants to Poverty’ was one of the organic exhibitors at Ben Ramsden, the label’s founder, was part of the Make Poverty History campaign and then started his crusade to use clothes to change people’s opinions. “Fashion can change the world. I saw Calvin Klein’s exhibit at the Bread & Butter show last night and was inspired because my products mean something, Calvin Klein just has its name,” said Ramsden.

Click here for a photo gallery of green fashion.

But have such “green” events been pushed out of the limelight by the conventional catwalks and other events because such fashion is regarded as unstylish and quirky?

Norbert Kähler, from the French based label Article23, said he didn’t think that was the case. “The future of fashion is here,” he said. “We must persist for a few more years and it will become the mainstream. This event has only been here for three years but in that time it has grown and gained more credibility.”

He explained that Article23 goes against all assumptions of green clichés and designer Naia Rico had created a clothing line comparable with “mainstream” fashion seen on the catwalk.

“I wouldn’t want to be part of the conventional fashion events,” Noema Suchant, from the German company Slowmo, said. “The cramped and busy feel of those events do not go with the ethos and style of my work.” She said Slowmo aimed to put the quality back into clothing, taking the idea that sustainable fashion meant that the production process must operate in slow motion resulting in clothing that will last for many years.

As eco-friendly fashion and lifestyle trends continue to catch on, its proponents also hope the industry will use fewer chemicals and people in developing countries will be offered a decent wage while working in good conditions.

Only then will fashion truly be green.

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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.