Step Inside Reference Studio's Second Annual Fashion Festival

Berlin-based Reference Studio recently held its annual fashion festival, Reference Festival as part of Berlin Fashion Week. Being only the second edition, this year was undoubtedly a little different from the norm but the show proceeded in the face of adversity.

Following the year’s theme of “Navigating Parallel Realities” the festival was staged on a virtual platform aptly titled Reference Realities. The three-day hybrid festival saw a mixture of physical and online shows all live-streamed which included concerts, art installations, and panel discussions featuring Hans Ulrich Obrist, Honey Dijon, Soo Joo Park, Kenneth Ize, and many more.

Berlin’s Zeiss Major Planetarium was the event’s main venue and witnessed transformative performances by Die Hässlichen Vögel. In partnership with Carhartt WIP, Anne Imhof & Eliza Douglas, MJ  Harper, Pan Daijing, and more all showcased their talents on the big stage through the small screen. Lost Souls of Saturn provided an audio virtual experience that combined music, technology, and storytelling displayed via a 360° video. Despite performing to a crowdless arena, visitors were able to communicate and share their experiences through the live chat, giving a glimpse of normality to an otherwise abnormal event.

GmbH premiered its AW21 collection onto the virtual platform titled Welt am Draht taking inspiration from the 1973 German sci-fi movie of the same name. Whilst EBIT™ and Michel Gaubert were able to collaborate to honour the release of the latter’s debut Blue Monday mix with an entire Blue Room for a unique virtual audio-visual experience.

Setting up the second physical space for the event, Reference Studios opened up its gallery space in the famous Potsdamer Straße district. The multidisciplinary exhibition space hosted a number of installations including two Balenciaga sculptures created by Tobias Spichtig, an edit of Endyma’s 1,600 piece Helmut Lang archive, an interactive installation by Treffpunkt and a film screening by designer PunkZec’s brand, COLRS.

Other highlights included Mowalola, who unveiled her first venture into furniture design with the launch of a side table in collaboration with Chapel Petrassi. The gallery space was also home to the creative studio acte™ and collective Sucuk & Bratwurst’s collaborative suit made exclusively to commemorate the festival.

Elsewhere, 032c celebrated 20 years since the magazine’s conception with a special edition 28-page fold-out issue. Alongside archival videos showcasing 032’s journey were its inspirations and principles ranging from “Freedom, Research, and Creativity” to the Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci’s words “Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will” these were conceptualized through LCD-clad trucks that circulated Berlin.

The three-day festival was wrapped up with the announcement of an upcoming prize for best emerging talent in partnership with Slam Jam. The winner will be enrolled into Slam Jam’s incubator programme whilst Reference Studios will take care of their PR and consulting needs.

Keep an eye out for more information regarding the competition and how to apply releasing soon, and in case you missed it, you can watch the visual recap of last week’s festival above.

See Balenciaga repurpose archival pieces for its latest “Cut-Up” capsule.
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