The Fashion Week, until this year held in Berlin, will take place in Frankfurt from 2021 onwards. The driving force behind the relocation was trade-fair and event organizer Anita Tillmann. An interview about the motives.
Ms. Tillmann, the Fashion Week is moving from Berlin to Frankfurt. What prompted your decision?
There are several reasons why we are relocating to Frankfurt. We have been active as a trade-fair and event organizer in Berlin for 18 years now and about 15 years ago established the Fashion Week in Berlin. Much has happened since then; the times have changed, and we too had to view ourselves critically and face up to the challenges of today. To that end, we need a new narrative, one that has a strong future, is good for business, and is creative. One of the most important partners in our discussions in this context was Messe Frankfurt Managing Director, Detlef Braun. We’ve known each other since the 1990s, when we were both working for Joop, and at the end of last year we asked ourselves how we could consolidate our trade-fair formats in Berlin in order to create something really big, and Frankfurt seemed the obvious choice. Frankfurt is a trade centre recognised throughout the world, is multi-faceted, and has perfect infrastructure links. The city ideally combines highbrow culture and subcultures, and we’re very well networked with the creative crowd there. Added to this, the trade fair is part of the urban culture, which is very important when it comes to creating an event world in the city. The timing is perfect to present a new narrative to the fashion industry, since the world has changed and we must, too, in and from Frankfurt.
What highlights can we look forward to in summer 2021? What are the plans?
We’re still in the concept phase and it’s too early to answer that meaningfully. What I can already say is that if fashion, lifestyle, digital innovations and sustainability enter into a synthesis, then something new and unexpected happens. And that’s exactly the standard we set ourselves. Unveiling the unexpected. Frankfurt is a new and fresh location for that, so we’re really looking forward to it.
What does that mean in terms of numbers? How many designers, companies and visitors are you expecting?
Judging by the figures from our recent events, we expect that we will be welcoming about 1,300 brands and around 40,000 visitors, but probably more. If you add the events outside the exhibition ground, then the numbers will be a lot higher.
Which of the region’s assets do you want to make use of? What fascinates you about the Frankfurt RheinMain region?
We are gradually interacting with all the stakeholders. After all, that’s in the interests of everyone concerned. For Detlef Braun and for all the politicians who focus on the topic, starting with Frankfurt Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann, and including State of Hessen Minister of Economic Affairs Tarek Al-Wazir, City Councillor Markus Frank and City Treasurer Uwe Becker, the new fair is a top priority. How we embed ourselves in the city is not a question of a one-off event, as the planning is long-term and strategic. As a rule, the Fashion Week is simply the kick-off of for many other events that then take place in Frankfurt over the course of the whole year. That was the case in Berlin, too. It is a huge advantage that Frankfurt has such a central location in Germany and Europe. Everything is close at hand, the airport is well-known the world over – and it’s merely 15 minutes from the trade-fair grounds. The main railway station is only one tram or subway stop away from downtown, and all routes into town are very short. While that has always been the case, it has a new quality now, one that was perhaps not as strongly appreciated in the past.
Let’s turn briefly to you: You were born in Düsseldorf, a true fashion city; you recently ran the fashion trade fair in Berlin, and you are now moving to Frankfurt. What do you personally find so appealing?
In fashion, you constantly have to “destroy” things to create the new. I love shaping things. I personally really like Frankfurt; I’ve got a great network here and am looking forward to being part of something really great. Frankfurt as a city tends not to receive the appreciation it deserves, as it is all too often seen “only” as a banking city and finance capital. That’s not the case, however. And that’s what is so appealing: Frankfurt still has the capacity to surprise us all!