It’s already pretty much a given: Twice a year, at the end of January and at the beginning of July, the international fashion world makes a pilgrimage to Berlin. Parallel to the catwalk shows of Fashion Week, the PREMIUM trade show now attracts over nine hundred labels and almost sixty thousand professional visits to the STATION-Berlin at Gleisdreieck. With dates before the fashion shows in Paris or New York, Berlin has, in just a few years, established itself as an international trendsetter. Here’s where you can view the new collections even before they’re shown elsewhere.

And you can order them. Which is something that sounds perfectly logical but which is, in fact, a small revolution, because fashion shows and order trade fairs usually take place on different dates, and are again subdivided into men’s, women’s, sportswear and accessories. Buyers, then, are constantly chasing after the collections, whereas Berlin offers everything under one roof.

When the PREMIUM founders first developed their concept for a new fashion trade fair, there were many who believed that the idea could not function. After all, since the 80’s, any attempt at reviving the fashion business in Berlin had failed miserably. Berlin offered creativity and lifestyle, business was done in Düsseldorf and Munich. Thus, perhaps the biggest achievement of the PREMIUM makers was that they managed to recognize the potential of the city and to create a platform that unites creativity, emotionality and professionalism.

Hence, it only followed that the concept for Berlin Fashion Week would also come from the makers of PREMIUM. When, in 2005, they first talked about their idea at the IMG sponsored New York Fashion Week, it had consequences. Two years later, IMG produced the first Fashion Week in Berlin, advised by Anita Tillmann.

The animated Anita, constantly bubbling over with ideas and never sitting still. Conventional trade show operators sell square meters; the PREMIUM makers sell an idea. What they share, besides their enthusiasm for fashion, is a healthy self-confidence and the conviction that they are doing the right thing.

“PREMIUM is not about mass, but perfection”, says Anita Tillmann. This requires curating the exhibitors anew each season to match the profile of the fair, and it’s what makes the PREMIUM mix so unique. Stars of the industry are presented here alongside young labels, accessories alongside denims, progressive sportswear alongside classic men’s collections.

The PREMIUM makers also promote young talent. Since 2005, the PREMIUM YOUNG DESIGNERS AWARD is presented, which, for the winners, has a direct influence on the success of the label.

Today, beyond the field of fashion, the PREMIUM team is developing new ideas for events and trade fair concepts. The “Berliner Bicycle Show” not only shows bicycles, but also focuses on concepts of intelligent mobility, and the “next conference” is regarded as one of the most important future conventions for digital trends in Europe.

One of the reasons for the success of the PREMIUM enterprise certainly lies in the personalities of its makers. The PREMIUM founders demonstrated that they are not afraid to think big, and that they also don’t shy away from risk, when they bought the former Dresden train station in 2007, once one of the largest postal freight depots in Berlin. The enormous halls at Gleisdreieck in the immediate vicinity of Potsdamer Platz have established themselves today as event locations for trade fairs, galas and conventions. To really put ideas into action, doesn’t just call for unconventional thinkers, but unconventional doers.

Author: Martin Schacht, September 2011