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Berlin fashion week opens amidst 'upheaval'

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A model opens the Charlotte Ronson fashion show marking the start of Berlin Fashion Week. Photo; DPA
12:28 CET+01:00
If you're suddenly feeling more unstylish than usual walking the streets of Berlin, it's not just you. Berlin Fashion Week kicks off on Monday, attracting 200,000 fashionable visitors to the German capital.

Opening the week, British designer Charlotte Ronson took over the tents at Brandenburg Gates to show her latest fall/winter collection.

The biannual event will host 12 different trade shows and 100 fashion shows, featuring a total of around 3,000 brands - though some notable German names are missing, such as Boss, Escada, Wunderkind and Wolfgang Joop.

After filling for insolvency last summer, Bread and Butter, which traditionally held its three-day trade show at the defunct Tempelhof airport, will now hold a smaller-scale version of their previous event in their own offices.

Leatherware designer Michael Michalsky also cancelled his annual Stylenite event, until now always considered a highlight of the week, though in his case it was for altruistic reasons.

"I've decided that in January, there will be no StyleNite, and instead donate the money that we would normally invest in the fashion event to Doctors without Borders (to help fight Ebola)," the Berlin-based designer said in a statement released in October.

But the event still holds sway, insists one expert in an interview with Süddeutsche newspaper released on Monday.

"I would not call this a crisis, but rather a time of upheaval," said Jörg Buntenbach, who penned the book on Berlin's fashion scene, called Fashion Metropolis Berlin.

"'This is very typical in Berlin where there is no permanent infrastructure, so sometimes something gives way, but in its place, something new pops up."

This year, that something new is an all "Made in Germany" exhibition and Fashiontech, which brings technology to the sartorial side of life, Buntenbach added.

Other shows being featured in the German capital this week include Kaviar Gauche, Lena Hoschek and Anja Gockel.

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"Nowhere else in Germany is there more inspiration than here (Berlin)."

Berlin Fashion Week has been a semi-annual event since 2007. City economic senator, Cornelia Yzer, said that the event is increasingly important to the Berlin economy.

Last year, visitors brought in an extra €120 million to the city each year.

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