08.09.2020 Interview

Interview with the initiators of the FASHION POSITIONS Interview with the initiators of the FASHION POSITIONS

"Collect Fashion, Wear Art."

The intention of the initiators of the FASHION POSITIONS is to make the relationship and the interaction between art and fashion visible. Kristian Jarmuschek is the Managing Director of POSITIONS Berlin GmbH. Mira von der Osten is the founder and designer of CRUBA while also being on the board of the Association of Berlin Fashion Designers. Olaf Kranz and his wife, Jennifer Brachmann lead the BRACHMANN label together, and he is also a board member of the Berlin Fashion Designers Association. In collaboration with the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Enterprises Berlin a new event format FASHION POSITIONS has been founded. A platform is offered that allows selected designers to stage the aesthetic signature of their labels at the interface between art and fashion.

© Stephen Wilks, courtesy of Hilgemann Art & the artist
© Stephen Wilks, courtesy of Hilgemann Art & the artist

You launched a new format with the FASHION POSITIONS. How did it come about? Can you describe what the main idea was?

Mira von der Osten: For us, it is about viewing Fashion from a new angle. Just like art, fashion can be experienced in many different ways. „Collect Fashion, Wear Art“ is our motto.

Olaf Kranz: As the initiators of the FASHION POSITIONS, we have actually been talking about a collaboration between fashion and art already back in 2018. We wanted to design new interdisciplinary presentation formats in such a way it would be attractive for both parties. Berlin has led the interdisciplinary coexistence of the creative scenes since the 90s. We would like to pick up on that again. Presenting the fashion collection in a similar way that galleries present their artists will be the main challenge. So, rather than presenting the entire collection, showpieces will be selected that tell a story and reinforce the fashion position. This will certainly be exciting.

Kristian Jarmuschek: Most importantly, we would like to make the relationship and interaction between art and fashion visible! We want to show the value of sustainable fashion in the age of “fast fashion” and develop Berlin as an important location for independent fashion designers. The audience of our art fairs POSITIONS and paper positions consists largely of urban, lifestyle and design-savvy visitors, who are characterized by their curiosity and strong affinity for art, design and creation. So, it made sense to bring these exciting poles closer together and thus support the fashion industry synergistically. Together with the Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises, we then quickly made the new event format FASHION POSITIONS possible. This event offers a platform that allows selected designers to stage the aesthetic signature of their labels at the interface between art and fashion. This can be achieved in the context of and/or in exchange with art.

What can we expect from September 10 to September 13?

Olaf Kranz: Our top-class jury has selected 20 Berlin fashion designers who will present their labels and work alongside 130 international galleries in the Positions Berlin Art Fair, the paper positions and the Photo Basel/Berlin. You will be able to find them in hangar 3&4 of the former Berlin Tempelhof airport during the Berlin Art Week. The idea is to put a spotlight on the creativity of the independent Berlin fashion designers by placing fashion in an art context. The designers will show their fashion items either through a collaboration with an artist or by visualizing the aesthetic and artistic design principles of their labels on selected individual items and in the design of the gallery booths. We are very excited to see how the different participants will realize this mission. All visitors can look forward to discovering new positions in fashion as well as in art. In addition, there will be a pop-up area in the adjoining rooms of the fair where you will be able to try on and purchase the clothing items. So, you cannot only watch fashion and speak to the designers, but you can also purchase and collect the fashion items!

Why does the art and fashion scene go so well together?

Mira von der Osten: Both scenes are interested in the aesthetically new, although with differences in media. Fashion, of course, focuses on aspects such as wearability, fit, etc., and therefore has to deal more with non-aesthetic purposes. Ever since primeval times, both areas have inspired one another. We are excited to see what happens if different creative disciplines are being combined and how people with an interest in creativity will react. Many art enthusiasts ask about the Berlin fashion designers when they come for the Berlin Art Week. We want to make them visible. And of course, a lot of fashion people are also interested in art.

Does it also have something to do with Berlin being a creative location? Why can a format like FASHION POSITIONS be implemented particularly well in Berlin?

Kristian Jarmuschek: It is almost a miracle that we managed to find such a great jury and talented participants on such a short notice. We barely had two months to organize the event. This shows how much variety and versatility Berlin has to offer, which cannot be found anywhere else in Germany. In addition, all participants, ranging from the jury to the designers to the graduates of the Academy, are extremely excited, curious and open-minded with regards to the new format. This openness was also shared from the start by the Senate, who enabled the FASHION POSITIONS, as well as by the Berlin Sparkasse, who supports the event by offering two prices, one for the designer and one for a graduate. Overall, it is a great Berlin mix that highlights how this city immediately creates something new, because there is just so much creativity, energy and diversity here.

The Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Enterprises / Project Future has funded a total of 20 slots for newcomer talents. Do you think that such grants have become even more important this year than before?

Olaf Kranz: The FASHION POSITION would not have been possible without the funding from the Senate. This has, to some extent, to do with the strange exceptional year, however another reason is the completely new event format in which twenty fashion labels have become an integrated part of the art fair. This is a big experiment for all parties involved. And then you have to ask yourself: Who has the financial means and is brave enough to participate in such an experiment during a crisis? So, we are very thankful to the Senate for being open-minded and willing to introduce this innovative format.

The FASHION POSITIONS ACADEMY takes place at the same time as the FASHION POSITIONS: What can you tell us about it?

Mira von der Osten: We decided to join the Academy Positions, which has promoted young talent from art colleges as part of the POSITIONS Berlin Art Fair for a long time. Thanks to the sponsorship from the Berlin Sparkasse, six fashion graduates were able to display their graduation collection. The fashion graduates were studying at the HTW, the Kunsthochschule Weißensee and the UdK. In addition, there is the FASHION POSITIONS Academy Award which is sponsored by the Berlin Sparkasse and for which a top-class jury is selecting the winner.

Are there any plans for the future to expand the project?

Kristian Jarmuschek: For sure. The three of us already have ideas on how to further develop the project. Of course, we hope that our supporters, the Senate and the Berlin Sparkasse will enjoy the event experiment so that they will want to be part of the next edition. After the event, we will sit together and assess what went well, what can be improved and what we will have to do differently. However, at the moment, it is still too early to say something more specific.