25 AUGUST ‘22
Words by Varnika Srivastava & Rebekah Smith
Professor Friederike von Wedel-Parlow, a Berlin native, is more than just a co-creator of the upcoming Berlin Fashion Summit. She is a designer, professor, and the founder and director of her own initiative called Beneficial Design Institute (BDI). Friederike teaches about sustainable design methods for AMD Berlin’s master’s program, “Sustainability in Fashion & Creative Industries” She also started BDI to teach quality, beauty and innovation through design research, curation and consultancy. BDI has a vast network of institutions, partners and companies.
Friederike first recalls learning about sustainability during the German “Atomkraft Nein Danke!” (“Nuclear power, no thank you!”) movement of the 1980s. Her turning point towards living a more sustainable life came when she was offering her collection to buyers in a showroom in Paris. Friederike realized she was experiencing mass consumption patterns first-hand, as other designers were offering their work to the same buyers whose stores were already packed with items being sold to people with fully-filled wardrobes.
When she began teaching a “Sustainability in Fashion” master’s program at Esmod in 2011, the German sustainable clothing brand TRIGEMA released their first “Cradle to Cradle” collection.
“It felt like the response from the cosmos on my question of how to make really intelligent fashion design with high quality products that fulfill real needs,” Friederike recalls.
This revelation began Friederike’s journey toward circularity and sustainability, as well as the positive impact agenda and vision that she is fostering through BDI. Over the past ten years, many students have followed and began their careers in that industry with great success. This month, she is bringing such knowledge to the stage through the Berlin Fashion Summit.
“My need as a designer was to escape the unhealthy pressure of too-tight market rhythms and to really finish the product design to a point of full satisfaction”
- Friederike von Wedel-Parlow
“It requires a positive intent and outlook, as well as a feasible roadmap for a sustainability discussion that is not driven by fear but is geared toward regenerative transformation - visionary, holistic and shapeable”
Where does so much inspiration come from?
Friederike is inspired by the 202030 team, network and the common spirit to make change together. According to the designer, “there is such a great atmosphere and professional drive to really do it” (to create change, that is).
With its position in information curation and the partnerships created through the Summit, Friederike and the Beneficial Design Institute have a significant chance to advance knowledge of sustainability issues and set the course for future goals and actions. The Summit encourages a holistic, cross-disciplinary and critical conversation by bridging the creative design and start-up scene with leaders in the fashion and textile industries, as well as cutting-edge academia and science, politics, and decision-makers. Friederike hopes they can take stock, ensure sustainable development is headed in the correct direction, participate in reorientation, and at the same time, foster innovation through their network and engagement.
According to Friederike, the Summit is an excellent opportunity to create this positive narrative. This narrative must be countered with an image that shows the beauty and quality of a possible life within the planetary boundaries, in harmony with nature, following true needs and aiming for fair coexistence in the biosphere, technosphere and metasphere.
We at Staiy encourage you to keep up with Friderike and the other creators by visiting the Berlin Fashion Summit and hearing all about how circular fashion meets technology, politics and more! Meanwhile, check out our other 202030 articles, and get your tickets here!