The biannual festival has become a platform for new formats, exploring creativity through both physical and virtual realities, and partnering with brands that share its values and visions.
The theme this time around is "Protopia," representing "an alternative vision to utopia and dystopia," which seems fitting following the past year. The festival is situated in Berlin's Bierpinsel, an architectural landmark that was previously abandoned for a decade.
Running through September 12, Reference Festival: Protopia will feature showcases and activations by labels such as 032c, Carhartt WIP, GmbH, Wood Wood, Phipps, and 44 Label Group. Below we've put together a handful of brands you don't want to miss.
Founded earlier this year by Max Kobosil, 44 Label Group is a label that set out to capture Berlin's unique rave scene, creating clubwear that is cool and effortless. Backed by the Antonoli Group's recently established Dreamers Factory, it aims to bring authentic Berlin street and clubwear pieces to a wider audience.
Kobosil, who's a popular DJ for all things techno and often plays at Berlin's iconic Berghain, knows exactly what his audience wants.
Another brand taking inspiration from Berlin's music and clubbing scene is GmbH, and its founders Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby. Launched in 2016, the brand has become one of the biggest labels to come out of Berlin, with stockists worldwide including Matchesfashion, Browns, and more.
Continuously inspired by its diverse community of collaborators, as well as their own multicultural backgrounds, the brand has managed to build a cult following and was also nominated for the prestigious Andam Award ‘Grand Prize’ earlier this year. If you're not already keeping up with GmbH, you should.
Launched in 2018, PHIPPS wants to create a more responsible future and has set about establishing its own rules. Exploring sustainability and environmental responsibility, the brand has gained a big following of like-minded individuals that are curious and want to make a difference.
Partnering with organizations including non-profit groups, institutions, and more, PHIPPS is always trying to reinvent its practices, collaborating with everything from leading astrophysicists, to heritage alpinist brands. Community and sustainability are at the core of the brand, making it an exciting one to follow.
032c has gone from cult magazine to a fashion powerhouse, and for Fall/Winter 2021, the imprint is launching a new 032cReadyToWear collection dubbed "Maria." Announced on Instagram, the label described the range as a fantasy taking place within a game of chess. "This collection deals with the world of fantasy. It is a fairytale for grownups. It explores the realm of the mirror and the dream."
We're expecting to see a lot more from 032c throughout Reference Festival, as well as more from the FW21 collection.