Mercedes-Benz Fashion Engagement 2019: Lena Waithe Demonstrates The Sustainable Power Of Inquisitiveness With Mercedes-Benz’ How To Initiative

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Engagement 2019: Lena Waithe Demonstrates The Sustainable Power Of Inquisitiveness With Mercedes-Benz’ How To Initiative
June 2019
London / Stuttgart.

London / Stuttgart. On the 7th June, Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Lena Waithe touched down in London to drive the second instalment of Mercedes-Benz’ How To up a gear. Here, during the spring/summer menswear shows, the Chicago native gave her wardrobe a new lease of life by learning how to upcycle – and so showing how we can use our inquisitiveness and thirst to learn to help put an end to the world’s wasteful habits.

Just as Waithe scrupulously observes the world around her, using it as stimulus for her razor-sharp screenplays for the likes of Boomerang, Netflix TV show Master of None and autobiographical drama The Chi, she worked to turn pre-existing materials into something new.

Waithe’s passion in learning how to sustainably produce impeccable design parallels Mercedes-Benz´ Ambition2039 for a more sustainable future, including a new fleet of carbon-neutral passenger cars in 20 years, with carbon-neutral production plants having already launched. By 2022 all European plants will follow. The automotive industry cannot achieve a greener future alone, however, and the fashion industry must also take responsibility for environmental protection and engineer a holistic approach along the entire production chain.

Waithe’s How To is a story of power in numbers, too. Along with Mercedes-Benz, Lena was guided on her mission by upcycling expert, Creative Director of RÆBURN and Global Creative Director of Timberland, Christopher Raeburn. This year marks 125 years in motorsports for Mercedes-Benz; inspired by this heritage and its future involvement with Formula E, the mobility service provider shared uniforms from Formula 1 and Formula E race teams, which Raeburn upcycled into a one of a kind jacket for Waithe. Dutch designer Duran Lantink also helped Waithe hone her upcycling expertise. By “collaging” together vintage luxury garments– a technique Lantink famously employs for his eponymous brand – he created a full custom look for her.

Then, on the 8th June, Mercedes-Benz and Waithe hosted a panel discussion with Raeburn, Lantink and Aleali May, a revered voice for the future of fashion, and the first female collaborator to design Air Jordans for both men and women.  Moderated by Waithe’s creative partner and executive producer, Rishi Ranjani, the talk shared the protagonist’s How To experiences with members of the press who, along with members of the public, were invited to partake in an upcycling masterclass so they too could learn how to upcycle. Waithe’s upcycled creations were showcased at a party on the opening night of London Fashion Week Men’s, featuring an hour set from Radio 1’s Clara Amfo.

The EQC took centre stage on the evening in a bespoke wrap designed for Mercedes-Benz by Lantink. The bespoke print was also used for the event e-vite and throughout production. The opportunity to work with Mercedes-Benz as Creative Partner for Lena Waithe’s Mercedes-Benz event arose February 2019, when Lantink was nominated by the pubic as an exciting designer to watch during the cocktail celebrating the 10th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talents.

On Lena Waithe’s How To event in London, Bettina Haussmann, Head of Branded Entertainment Mercedes-Benz Cars said, “As with any creative and fast-paced industry the challenge is to stay ahead of the curve. We pride ourselves on our passion for innovative design that dynamically works towards a cleaner and more sustainable future, and we are excited to see how we can continue to progress this theme through our mobility solutions and fashion activations. Both Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talents, our program which has supported global design talent for over 10 years, and the Fashion Story are invaluable vehicles for us to support creative talent in working towards a cleaner future”.

Lena Waithe said, "I’m proud to be a part of this fashion story campaign that is opening up doors for emerging creatives and fashion talent which is impactful for the culture. This type of forward thinking will support the development of a diverse community of future creatives, and that’s what I’m all about. I’ve always shopped vintage tees; building a collection of pieces that have memories and emotions attached to it. It’s been great to take an active role in learning more about sustainable processes in fashion, upcycling with Chris and Duran.” 

Waithe follows hot on the heels of model Jazzelle Zanaughtti, who launched Mercedes-Benz’ How To fashion story with a voguing masterclass in Oslo in May. These women will soon be joined by singer Rina Sawayama and fashion designer Samuel Ross, both of whom will also be given 24 hours to learn new skills. These stellar collaborations see Mercedes-Benz continuing to drive creativity forwards and demonstrate the magic that happens when you think outside the box.

About Lena Waithe
Emmy® Award-winning creator, writer and actor Lena Waithe, first made headlines in front of the camera as Denise in the critically acclaimed Netflix series MASTER OF NONE. Waithe co-wrote the “Thanksgiving” episode, for which she received an Emmy® Award in the category of “Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series” and a NAACP Image Award nomination. She currently serves as creator and executive producer of the Showtime drama series THE CHI which was recently greenlight for a third season and also BET’s BOOMERANG which will return to the network for a second season. Waithe’s upcoming projects include TWENTIES which she created, wrote and will produce for BET and QUEEN & SLIM which she wrote, starring Daniel Kaluuya and directed by Melina Matsoukas which will be distributed by Universal Pictures as well as Showtime’ � � � � s HOW TO MAKE LOVE TO A BLACK WOMAN which she is set to executive produce. As a writer, producer, Waithe’s credits include STEP SISTERS and DEAR WHITE PEOPLE. She also has THEM: COVENANT a horror anthology series for Amazon and HBO’s Untitled Kid Fury Project, both of which she will produce.

About How To
How To is the latest iteration of Mercedes-Benz’ #mbcollective fashion story, which is dedicated to championing emerging fashion talent and bringing people from different creative spheres together to generate pioneering ideas. Throughout 2019, the platform will see a cast of leading creatives from around the world spend a day with experts learning a new skill, before demonstrating how to do it. Stepping outside your comfort zone is never easy, and on this journey of self-growth, the participants will motivate and inspire with their stories of strength of character and determination, as well as break down stereotypes. The 2019 #mbcollective protagonists comprise some of the most exciting names in the worlds of film, music and fashion; aside from Lena Waithe , model Jazzelle Zanaughtti, singer Rina Sawayama and menswear designer Samuel Ross will also take part. Members of the public will be invited to participate in a masterclass so that they too can increase their creative agility and in turn improve themselves.

The How To fashion story is just one signifier of Mercedes-Benz’ evolution from automobile company to mobility solutions provider, developing unique offerings for car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodal transport. Through combining pioneering technology and unparalleled engineering, Mercedes-Benz is making moves to reduce traffic in urban areas, minimize pollution and dynamism. More than just cars, Mercedes-Benz is about constant innovation, recognising people’s ambitions and adapting to facilitate them; learning how to increase mobility in a holistic sense.

Follow @MercedesBenzFashion to explore @lenawaithe’s journey to learn a new skill from experts. #BenzKnowsHow #MercedesBenzFashion

Ten years of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talents
In 2009 Mercedes-Benz established the group's own programme, "Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talents", to support young people in the world of fashion. The goal has been to help pave the way for talented designers to enter the fashion sector outside of their home markets and provide them with support in their international careers. Over the past ten years, as part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talents the automotive manufacturer has enabled shows to be held for more than 90 aspiring designers on approximately 30 platforms around the world, including in Milan, London, Prague, Istanbul and Berlin. The programme is growing continually and is being extended on an on-going basis with new initiatives and partnerships. The overview of engagement is updated on a yearly basis.

24 years of Mercedes-Benz fashion activities
Over a period of 24 years Mercedes-Benz has established itself worldwide as a major player in the fashion industry and title sponsor of selected fashion weeks and events. The brand is currently active at about 80 fashion events in more than 40 countries, including the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks which take place in Sydney, Mexico City, London, Madrid, Tbilisi and Berlin, and also the famous International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessories in Hyères. Furthermore, since 2017 Mercedes-Benz has been a member of the Fashion Council Germany (FCG) and since 2018 a member of the German Fashion Designers Federation e.V. (GFDF). The overview of engagement is updated on a yearly basis.

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