Mercedes-Benz Global Fashion Engagement: Mercedes-Benz affirms its dedication to fashion

11.
May 2016
Stuttgart

Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange Program

Stuttgart. As Mercedes-Benz enters its third decade of global fashion engagement, it does so with a continued focus on emerging talent, introducing designers to new markets and enabling international expansion through its International Designer Exchange Program. Since it was established in 2009, this initiative has enriched fashion weeks globally and enabled designers to create important connections in a fashion marketplace where it is becoming increasingly important to have a global presence. Mercedes-Benz is involved in over 50 fashion platforms internationally, including fashion weeks in Beijing, Madrid, Amsterdam and Berlin, as well as, the acclaimed International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères. Through the International Designer Exchange Program, Mercedes-Benz has affirmed its commitment to nurturing emerging and established designers, by providing them with the unrivalled opportunity to access key international markets.

The Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange Program is a unique scheme within the fashion industry. Often supported by an awards program, the initiative is currently active across all of the Mercedes-Benz supported fashion platforms globally. A key element of the program is the breadth of experience of the designer involved, some of who are emerging but many of which are established in their own right albeit in need of assistance to increase their standing internationally.

Michael Bock, Director Sport- & Lifestyle Marketing Mercedes-Benz says; “The Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange Program not only works to bring designers to new territories, but also helps to foster important relationships, provide networking opportunities and helps to navigate the complexities of international expansion. The provision of key local insight, that Mercedes-Benz offers is invaluable for these designers who are looking to strategically grow their businesses, both locally and internationally.”

So far in 2016, the International Designer Exchange Program has seen five designers showcase their work in new markets thanks to Mercedes-Benz:

BERLIN: In January 2016, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin presented emergering Spanish designer Xavi Reyes who presented his Spring/Summer 2016 collection as part of the Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange Program. A graduate of Central Saint Martins and a former fashion journalist, Reyes is now based in Madrid where he won the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talent Award during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid Spring/Summer 2016. Since launching his label in 2013, Reyes has won much acclaim for his designs that fuse traditional elements of hand craftsmanship and costume from his homeland in southern Spain with a fascination with gender that is truly modern.

LONDON: In February 2016, emerging Chinese designer Xiao Li was awarded the prestigious honour to close London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2016 after having won the Mercedes-Benz China Designer Award in Beijing in November 2015. Inspired by the speed of fashion today, Li presented a technically accomplished collection that was a meditation on the passage of time. Currently based in London, Xiao Li is one of China’s most promising design talents and her involvement in the Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange Program marked an exciting time for Mercedes-Benz and the London Fashion Week catwalk schedule.

MADRID: In February 2016, emerging Czech designer Tereza Rosalie Kladosova, known for her playful designs with a post modern edge, was invited by Mercedes-Benz to present her Autumn/Winter 2016 collection during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid. Based in Prague, Kladosova has previously shown as part of Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Week and, is recognised locally as one of the leading emerging design talents.

BEIJING: In March 2016, in a reciprocal exchange, established London designer Mary Katrantzou was selected to present her Autumn/Winter 2016 collection at Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week to an audience of over 400 VIP’s, buyers and press, a first for the award-winning, London based designer. Katrantzou paid homage to Andy Warhol’s Factory for her well-received Autumn/Winter collection.

PRAGUE: In March 2016, Spanish designer Ela Fidalgo, winner of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talent Award, presented her Autumn/Winter 2016 collection at Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Week. Awarded during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid Autumn/Winter 2016 and recognised for her conceptual work, Ela presented a capsule collection of pieces entitled ‘Work in progress’ � � � � � � which personified as the name suggests, the idea of work in progress using experimental techniques.

International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères

As a hot bed of young talent drawn from around the world, the International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères is the perfect place to scout for new designers to take part in Mercedes-Benz’ International Designer Exchange Program. Since 2014, one of the shortlisted designers has been selected to show their collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, in association with ELLE Germany. This well-established exchange is a great chance for the selected designer to see what opportunities inclusion in the festival can generate at an important stage of their career. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin in particular is seen as a springboard to launch careers and is attended as it is by 200,000 industry professionals each season.

This spring, Mercedes-Benz continued its sponsorship of ‘The Formers’ showroom at the International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères in the South of France. ‘The Formers’ showroom brings together 10 previous festival participants, including two past winners of ‘The Shortlisted’ showroom and affords them the opportunity to showcase their latest collections to the assembled industry heavyweights, who mark the event as a must-see for scouting new creative talent.

Always a highlight on the festival schedule, ‘The Shortlisted’ showroom brings together 10 international designers, whittled down from a 400-strong long list, to compete for the festival’s Chloé Prize – this year’s winner Hanne Jurmu & Anton Vartiainen – and Grand Prix of the Jury Première Vision – this year’s winner Wataru Tominaga – as well as other awards and opportunities with renowned design houses. While the Chloé Prize is soley a financial grant, the Grand Prix of the Jury Première Vision also includes a collaborative project with CHANEL’S Métiers d'Art and a design collaboration with Petit Bateau.

This year, for the first time, Mercedes-Benz was called upon as official supporter of the showroom of exciting young designers that is staged in Villa Noailles. For this project, and following on from the success of the implementation of his vision for ‘The Formers’ showroom last year, Mercedes-Benz enlisted Marc Turlan to create a truly excellent showroom concept.

Meet the designers (Q&A)

Xiao Li: Beijing to London

23 February 2016 – London Fashion Week official venue, Brewer Street Car Park – London, UK

1. What did winning the Merit Award and thus the chance to show in London on schedule as part of the Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange Program mean to you?

Xiao Li: ‘Showing at London Fashion Week was a great opportunity for me, but also a real challenge as the standard is so high. I was really lucky to have the support of the British Fashion Council as well as Mercedes-Benz. Showing on schedule in London has really helped my brand move to a new level of awareness and to be seen by so many important people.’ 

2. What did it mean to you to be able to work with Mercedes-Benz especially on a series of significant moments in your career?       

Xiao Li: ‘It was such an honour for me to work with Mercedes-Benz they have been really professional and generous with time and advice as well as supporting my show. I’ve learnt a lot from this experience about how to develop my brand thanks to Mercedes-Benz.’ 

3. Why was it important for you to have the opportunity to present your collection to a new market at this stage in your career? 

Xiao Li: ‘Having done three seasons of off-schedule shows with Fashion Scout in London as an emerging brand, I felt the time was right for my label to be seen as something more established. It’ � � � � � � s not easy to get on the catwalk schedule at London Fashion Week so this was such an incredible chance for me. And I’ve been able to meet new friends and work with interesting people, like Julia Sarr-Jamois who styled my show as well as connect with more buyers from different markets, all made possible by Mercedes-Benz.’& amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; lt; /em> 

4. What has the process taught you about how you work and is there anything you will now do differently? 

Xiao Li: ‘It’s funny that the theme of my show was about the speed of fashion as I learnt a lot about time management through this process. I also learned how to be more organized and professional thanks to working with Mercedes-Benz and their gobal teams as well as the British Fashion Council.’ 

5. How has the support of Mercedes-Benz and their fashion platforms helped you? 

Xiao Li: ‘There’s no way I would have been able to show on schedule in London without the support of Mercedes-Benz. But they also helped a great deal behind the scenes: developing my collection and connecting me with the creative people who helped make the catwalk presentation such a success.’< /em> 

6. When we met in London before your show you were very nervous - how did you feel once the collection was on the catwalk? 

Xiao Li: ‘Relieved! But also excited for the opportunities that I have to look forward to now.’ 

7. What was the best thing about returning to London with your collection? Did you have a very different experience to working in Beijing? 

Xiao Li: ‘London and Beijing are both home for me – but London is where I studied, and where I live and work now. It’s where I design my collection and the best place to showcase it. 
 
   

Mary Katrantzou: London to Beijing

27 March 2016 – Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week official venue, First Workshop @ 798 Art Zone – Beijing, China

1. What was the best thing about returning to London with your collection? Did you have a very different experience to working in Beijing? 

Mary Katrantzou: ‘China is an important market for us so it was a fantastic opportunity to be invited to be part of Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week and show the full collection in Beijing as part of the International Designer Exchange Program. The show was an exact replica to the show we presented in London and it was really exciting to see the show with an all Asian cast of models.’ 

2. What did it mean to you to be able to work with Mercedes-Benz especially on a series of significant moments in your career? 

Mary Katrantzou: ‘Mercedes-Benz is one of the world’s most iconic luxury brands so they are the perfect partner for exciting international showcasing opportunities.’ 

3. Why was it important for you to have the opportunity to present your collection to a new market at this stage in your career? 

Mary Katrantzou: ‘The growth of our business is dependent on international markets and working with the best partners in each territory. The opportunity to spend time in these markets is invaluable.’ 

4. How has the support of Mercedes-Benz and their fashion platforms helped you? 

Mary Katrantzou: ‘The opportunity to show your full collection in an important market is not something that would normally present itself, as a catwalk show can be cost prohibitive. The Mercedes-Benz team went out of their way for us to feel welcome and organised everything we needed to produce the show.’< /em> 

5. What did you want to achieve out of your exchange in Beijing and do you think you have succeeded? 

Mary Katrantzou: ‘We really want to meet the local influencers and customers which is something that we were able to do. I always take any opportunity to meet the retailers and listen to feedback first hand. It helps you create a deeper connection with the customers buying your brand.’ 

6. Why are China and the Far East important markets for you? 

Mary Katrantzou: ‘I think it’s an important market for anyone growing a fashion brand. There is a new generation of well-educated, well-travelled consumers looking for luxury products with a point of difference.’ 

7. Was this your first time in Beijing and did the city/people/China fashion week meet with your expectations? 

Mary Katrantzou: ‘I’m lucky enough to have traveled to China and the Far East a number of times and each time I have a great experience. The people are very welcoming and very fashion forward.’ � � � � � �   
  

Annelie Schubert: ‘The Formers’ Showroom at the International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères

23-24 April 2016 – ‘The Formers’ presented by Mercedes-Benz, villa Noailles x Mercedes-Benz

1. What did winning the opportunity to participate and show as part of the Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange Program mean to you? 

Annelie Schubert: ‘I am honored to have been given the opportunity to take part in the Mercedes-Benz Designer Exchange Program. Presenting my collection to the public, press and industry professionals is an incredible opportunity which allowed me to gain valuable feedback and contacts.’ 

2. Why was it important for you to have the opportunity to present your collection to a new market at this stage in your career? 

Annelie Schubert: ‘It was a wonderful experience and great opportunity given to me by Mercedes-Benz. Putting a show together and presenting it to the public gave me first hand experience and incredible exposure.’ 

3. How does it feel to be returning to Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères with so much more experience? Do you feel that you have grown much as a designer in the last year?  

Annelie Schubert: ‘I am excited to return to Hyères. Personally I am more confident and relaxed about presenting. I think knowing the festival and its program really helped as all was the support from Mercedes-Benz.’ 

4. As a German designer, was it a particularly special experience to show in Berlin with the help of such a renowned German company as Mercedes-Benz? 

Annelie Schubert: ‘I loved showing my collection in Berlin. Putting a fashion show together can be an overwhelming experience if it wasn't for the organization and tremendous support I received from Mercedes-Benz.’ 

5. What was the atmosphere like showing at Festival Hyères and as you plan to return, what are you most looking forward to?  

Annelie Schubert: ‘Hyère has a wonderful atmosphere and everyone one present is very supportive – feels more like a family get together rather than a presentation. I look forward to meeting the incredibly talented and interesting personalitiies who will be present.’ 

Mercedes-Benz Fashion social media launch

In support of their ongoing fashion commitment worldwide, Mercedes-Benz has launched a collection of new fashion-focused social media channels. Alongside forming a centralised hub for online audiences to explore the 50 plus fashion-related platforms supported by Mercedes-Benz, the channels cover emerging talent, inspiring moments in fashion history and feature collaborations with established and up-and-coming digital influencers. 

Mercedes-Benz is also supporter of established events such as Paris, London, and Milan Fashion Week; it is however the exclusive access to markets such as Africa, Australia and China – to name a few – that set these social media channels apart from others. Moreover, diverse content from over 50 fashion platforms worldwide allows the brand to tell a real ‘ global’ fashion story – an all-encompassing look into the impact of culture on fashion design and a celebration of diversity and talent in emerging markets.

While the ‘Mercedes-Benz Fashion’ Instagram (@mbfw) channel is the go-to place for highly curated content with a strong editorial voice, the brand’s fashion-focused Twitter, Snapchat and Periscope channels (@mbfwofficial) present audiences with exclusive behind-the-scenes content, live from selected, key Mercedes-Benz Fashion engagements.

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  • 16C432_02
    Mercedes-Benz presents Mary Katrantzou at Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2016
  • 16C432_01
    Mercedes-Benz presents Mary Katrantzou at Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2016
  • 16C432_03
    Mercedes-Benz presents Xiao Li at London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2016
  • 15C672_01
    Mercedes-Benz & ELLE present Annelie Schubert at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin Spring/Summer 2016
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