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“Neonyt on Air”: The future of fashion is transparent and authentic – also in a digital context

22 Jan 2021

For the past week, the Neonyt community has been live and on air – from 18-22 January 2021, the focus of numerous panel discussions and interviews was on how to encourage more transparency and sustainability in the textile and fashion industry. Playing a key role in the digital event were its “Presenting Partners” Grüner Knopf, Hessnatur and Oeko-Tex.

Transparency in fashion, or in textile supply chains to be precise, has been a topic of conversation for a long time now. But the events of the past year and the coronavirus crisis have shown us once again that something needs to change in the textile and fashion industry – customers want immediacy, transparency and authenticity1. How that can be achieved was discussed by more than 20 speakers from the sustainability scene during Neonyt on Air. “We have resolved to play our part in making the future of fashion sustainable and that is exactly what we are doing: Together. Now and here,” says Thimo Schwenzfeier, Neonyt Show Director. “The reach of Neonyt on Air, which goes way beyond its actual community, has shown us the importance of partnerships and the need for collaboration and that together we will find a way to make sustainability a universal topic – in society and across all industries.”

As well as the Due Diligence/Supply Chain Act that is currently being discussed in Germany, there was also a spotlight on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. “Once again we have noticed that innovative ideas and new concepts need a space for discussion and dialogue, the right audience and a fresh outside perspective. That is something we will always offer – whether physically or digitally,” said Olaf Schmidt, Vice President of Textiles & Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt. “Of course we really hope that the next time we see each other in person will be in the summer, when the premiere of Frankfurt Fashion Week supported by Conscious Fashion Campaign and the United Nations Office for Partnerships will host the future of fashion.”

The fact that sustainability has become a mainstream topic that is discussed across all sectors is being shown by the Neonyt community: around 24,000 international followers, including from the worlds of politics, economics, the IT sector, the lifestyle business and of course the textile and fashion industry, accessed the Neonyt on Air content more than 120,000 times during the digital week. The contents will remain accessible on the Neonyt Instagram account.

MONDAY, 18.01.2021

Keynote presented by Hessnatur

“For most people and probably most of you, 2020 was a tough year. But, it was also a year with some bright spots, knowing we all have the same goal of creating a better tomorrow!” said Andrea Sibylle Ebinger, CEO of Hessnatur. “2020 showed us more than ever the needs of the environment but also of the textile and fashion sector. At the same time, it showed us that we can change how clothes are made in collaboration. Let's continue to strengthen partnerships with each other, because innovations and ideas, big or small, lead us to be better in our doing.” Watch the full keynote here:

TUESDAY, 19.01.2021

The future of transparent supply chains presented by Oeko-Tex

“We are seeing that people are thinking more about their consumer behaviour, especially since the Fridays for Future movement, which has also been accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Annika Sauerhoefer, Product Manager at Made in Green by Oeko-Tex. “Companies should meet the responsibility for people and the planet on their own initiative, without any regulations from the government. It should be normal that workers’ rights are respected, but as we have all seen, unfortunately that isn’t working.” Watch the full panel discussion with Annika Sauerhoefer, Product Manager at Made in Green by Oeko-Tex, Mirjam Smend, founder of Greenstyle Munich and Andreas Bothe, Head of CSR & Sustainability at Bay City & Chiemsee, here:

Due diligence – due tomorrow? presented by Grüner Knopf

“Sustainable supply chains require corporate due diligence: With the Textile Alliance, we support companies in implementing their due diligence obligations,” says Anosha Wahidi, Head of the Sustainable Supply Chains Unit at the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. “A Due Diligence Act will regulate the requirements clearly and bindingly in the future. And the Green Button shows consumers which companies are already complying with their due diligence obligations.” Watch the full interview with Anosha Wahidi and Max Gilgenmann, Content Director of Neonyt, here:

Anosha Wahidi also answered the most pressing questions from the Neonyt community in a brief Q&A session:

WEDNESDAY, 20.01.2021

Resilient Orchestra by Luxiders Magazine

A sustainable fashion editorial featuring brands from Neonyt and the Fashion Council Germany draws attention to the current conditions and is calling for resilience in society. Watch the full fashion editorial here:

The long financial thread of sustainability presented by Maleki Corporate Group

Transparency and circularity not only in products and materials, but also with regard to the financing aspect – what role can banks and investors play in the creation of a sustainable future and a balanced investment strategy? Watch the full panel discussion with Dr Sabine Schlorke, Global Head Manufacturing of the IFC World Bank, Christian Heller, CEO of Value Balancing Alliance e.V., Hans-Jürgen Walter, Global Leader of Sustainable Finance at Deloitte and Darius Nader Maleki, Project Manager at the Maleki Corporate Group, here:

THURSDAY, 21.01.2021

Sustainable sourcing – at the beginning of the chain

The textile and fashion industry is one of the most globalised and also most resource-intensive industries in the world. Its procurement market is highly fragmented and the COVID pandemic has made it clear just how vulnerable global supply chains are. And so for the textile and fashion industry, the sustainable sourcing of materials has become more important than ever before – to enable it to recover from the crisis and create a more sustainable future for the entire industry. Watch the full panel discussion with Johannes Fürst, Head of the Blue Lab by Drip by Drip, Anurag Gupta, Managing Director of Usha Yarns and Gunnar Heller, Head of CSR & Member Compliance at Foursource, here:

Product is key – the Timberland 2030 vision for net positivity

A “net positive impact” by 2030 – that is Timberland’s goal. To achieve it, the cult US brand has set itself the goal of having a net positive impact on nature by designing 100% of its products for circularity and making them from natural materials sourced from regenerative agriculture. Watch the full interview with Elisabetta Baronio, Sustainability & Responsibility Manager at Timberland, and Max Gilgenmann, Content Director of Neonyt, here:

Certification – transparency, credibility and trust

Guaranteeing transparent processes and supply chains, preserving brand credibility and building up consumer trust are the most important and also difficult aspects for certifiers and environmental labels. And in these times of the coronavirus in particular, it is proving a real challenge to maintain the quality of the certifications at a high level and to guarantee good and transparent results. Watch the full panel discussion with Franziska Dormann, a representative from the Global Organic Textile Standard, Rapha Breyer, spokesperson for textile policy and partnerships at Fairtrade and Ingo Strube, spokesperson for sustainable consumption at Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Environment, here:

FRIDAY, 22.01.2021

Textile trust – driving transparency by using blockchain

The journey that an item of clothing covers before it ends up hanging in our wardrobe and the conditions that it was made under should become more transparent and traceable with the use of blockchain technology. Watch the full panel discussion with Christian Schultze-Wolters, Director of Blockchain Solutions at IBM, Dr Stefan Rennicke, founder and CEO of Kaya&Kato and Michael Krake, Deputy Director General at the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, here:

10 x positive from the start – the future is Somwr

Consumption that contributes to protecting the environment, reduces the amount of plastic in the ocean and ensures that mangrove trees are planted – still a utopia or already reality? Watch the full interview with Svein Rasmussen, world-class windsurfer, future fighter and CEO of Somwr & Starboard, and Thimo Schwenzfeier, Show Director of Neonyt, here:


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1 McKinsey: The State of Fashion 2021:

Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, convention and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. Approximately 2,500* employees work for the Messe Frankfurt group in 30 subsidiaries. In 2020, the company generated an annual turnover of around 250* million euros, after closing the year 2019 with an annual turnover of 738 million euros. Even in these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic, we still have close ties with our industry sectors all around the globe 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. We are expanding our digital expertise to include new business models. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, as well as personnel and catering services. Headquartered in Frankfurt am Main,  the company is owned partly by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and partly by the State of Hesse (40 percent).

For more information, please visit our website at:

* Provisional key figures for 2020