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A fresh breeze is blowing in Berlin: Neonyt announces “Air” as its overarching theme for 2020

16 Oct 2019

Even though it is invisible, air is our omnipresent life elixir. For 2020, Neonyt, the global hub for fashion, sustainability and innovation, has chosen a highly topical overarching theme that is not only unavoidable for the fashion industry, but also for politics and society.

Air masses and volumes of data, greenhouse gases and global warming – the topic of air is as multifaceted as our atmosphere. From 14-16 January 2020, the upcoming edition of Neonyt will be taking a closer look at the fashion industry’s carbon footprint, as well as presenting best-practice labels and encouraging industry-relevant discussions on the increasingly digitalised future – always from the analytical perspective of inspiring pioneers and pragmatic experts in sustainability. With views of the former runway of the decommissioned Berlin Tempelhof Airport, and the expanses of the sky above it, the overarching theme of the global hub for fashion, sustainability and innovation, will certainly be palpable.

“In these times of Fridays for Future and society’s growing awareness of sustainability, many industry players are recognising the necessity of sustainability in fashion. From the very beginning, Neonyt has been dedicated to the major topics affecting the fashion industry – such as the use of resources, working conditions and pioneering technologies. This season with ´air´ we are again setting the theme for the Berlin Fashion Week, and will ask what the future of fashion will look like,” says Thimo Schwenzfeier, Neonyt’s Show Director.

Something in the air
Air serves as our protective coating – a thick layer of nitrogen and oxygen that wraps itself protectively around the earth and warms us. But the air we breathe is polluted by smog and fine dust particles. And a major contributor of that is the textile industry, which is responsible for 10% of global CO2 emissions. [1] Which means it’s high time that we paid even more attention to the topic.

It’s getting hot in here... take off all your clothes? The fashion industry is known for creating a lot of hot air, but the fact is that the earth continues to get warmer and warmer. Performance apparel has to withstand increasingly extreme weather conditions and the fashion industry is no longer working in four but in 52 seasons. [2] From the production to the usage down to the disposal, carbon dioxide is released into the air and condenses the atmosphere. And there seems to be no end in sight: since 1960, the global emissions of carbon dioxide have been continuously rising. [3]

Data is in the air

With the introduction of digital sampling, virtual fashion and the cloud, huge hums of data are meanwhile whirring through the air. New technologies such as visualisation software, 3D body scanning and digital twins are taking the industry to a new level. But in addition to its huge potential for increasing efficiency, digitalisation also poses a whole host of new challenges. Every click on the internet consumes energy and the statistics concerning the number of returned orders in online retail is enough to take anyone’s breath away: a whopping 800,000 parcels are returned daily, causing 400 tonnes of CO2 emissions. That is equivalent to around 250 car journeys from Berlin to Beijing. [4]

Inhale, exhale

We breathe in and out around 20,000 times a day, sometimes more and sometimes less consciously, depending on how much mindfulness and digital detoxing our daily life permits. For the workers of the fashion industry, however, regular breathing doesn’t always come without risk. Cultivation, production and textile finishing are the stages of textile production that are particularly harmful to people and the planet.[5] Toxins are often used to dye and process fabrics, which the workers inevitably inhale and absorb through their respiratory tract.[6]

In 2020, Neonyt is calling for action – before we start running out of air altogether. The change of fashion is now…

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Katharina Koch

Tel: +49 (0)69 65 00 88 65


Background information on Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, convention and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With more than 2,500 employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €718 million. We have close ties with our industry sectors and serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. One of the Group’s key USPs is its closely knit global sales network, which extends throughout the world. Our comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. Headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt  (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).

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[6] Source: Working conditions in the globalised textile industry / BMZ: