For the first interview in our Why Berlin series, we’ve had a chat with Camille Maciet, Business Development Manager at Stylight. We were very excited to talk to industry professionals about tech, fashion, and trends in Berlin for this series!
What is your role in the fashion industry?
I work as a Business Development Manager at Stylight. Stylight is a German-based fashion & lifestyle aggregator which helps consumers to discover and buy fashion from more than 700 stores in 15 different countries. My work is quite broad, but in a nutshell I’m in charge of all business relations between Stylight and lifestyle companies. I am always reaching out to the main players in the fashion industry to find ways to cooperate, while nurturing the existing excellent relationships we have with our current partners. It’s fascinating to be in contact with different types of people working in this industry from a diverse range of fashion companies.
What first drew you to work in fashion retail?
I was always interested in working for an industry where the product fascinated me to a point where work and leisure merged together. As a young, fashionable woman, fashion retail is a never-ending passion of mine. I find it incredible to work in an industry where so many players constantly push for innovation: from the bigcouture houses, runway designers, and high street brands, to the fashion startups. It’s such a diverse industry where so many things are constantly happening that I can never get tired of being at the heart of it all.
What trends do you predict will rise in popularity in Germany and, in particular, the Berlin fashion scene?
On the one hand, fashion aggregators and marketplaces are the rising star in the German landscape, increasing Germany’s connection and influence to the fashion industry. International well-known pure players, such as Zalando, are the best example of this. On the other hand, Berlin’s alternative take on things has started to transcend to the fashion industry. For example, Berlin Fashion Week has an unconventional setting compared to other fashion weeks across the world’s fashion capitals. Other rising trends are environmentally-friendly textiles, as well as locally made designs: the green showroom and the ethical fashion show are two events not to be missed during Berlin Fashion Week.
Who has been instrumental in shaping Germany’s recent fashion trends?
In the past years, Germany has seen the creation of a flourishing network of startup companies. Many of them operate in the fashion industry (Stylight, Zalando, Modomoto, Mytheresa) and have helped to increase the awareness of Germany as a fashion destination. Some of these companies have become leading players in the industry and are now investing and participating in fashion events to contribute to the country’s fashion scene (for example: Bread&Butter Fashion and Music Festival by Zalando).
Who are your favorite German designers?
Although he claims to be “European,” Germany has given one of the greatest fashion geniuses of all time: Karl Lagerfeld. His work at Chanel and Fendi still shape many of the clothes we wear in our daily lives. Jil Sander (the Queen of Minimalism) and Kostas Murkudis are also at the top of my list.
Until recently, Berlin has not been ranked among the world’s fashion capitals. How has Berlin increased its presence in the industry and how will it continue to influence international style?
Berlin has exponentially increased its fashion presence over the past few years. A variety of factors have contributed to this rise: exhibitions, salons, and parties hosted around the city during fashion weeks, the burgeoning fashion startup tech scene, and the international population in Berlin. Nevertheless, there is still marginfor Berlin to grow as a global player in the fashion scene: for example, the comeback of international German brands to expose their collections in the city (Hugo Boss, Jil Sander) or perhaps, the entry of pure online players to the catwalk.
How are people in the industry using technology in their day-to-day lives?
As stated before, I believe that one of the most fascinating characteristics of the fashion industry is how much innovation comes out of it. Different companies making very diverse fashion pieces are constantly using technology at the heart of their business: the emblematic couture houses are always pushing the boundaries of innovation in textiles in order to produce one-of-a-kind garments–they are always using new technologies for coloring, shaping and producing different movements of the garments.
Premium brands such as Tommy Hilfiger are now introducing streaming via social media in order “democratize” their fashion shows and give the opportunity for customers to buy clothes right after the show. High street brands (the easiest example being Inditex) have invested a lot in logistics: today, they are able to track a single garment in any of their stores to be sure that stocks are always up to date on a daily basis. Finally, fashion startups (and mainly the online pure players) are changing the way we shop through technology: mobile has opened new possibilities to be inspired and shop at anytime and anywhere while fashion aggregators, like Stylight, let you search all fashion on one page. With the constant rise of online shopping, these players also need to set new standards for their clients: fast and free delivery, 360 degree product views, click & collect features, plus many others.
Berlin has a burgeoning tech startup scene–how does this influence the fashion scene?
I strongly believe that tech startups are now at the center of Berlin’s rise in the fashion industry. These companies are not only increasing customer awareness, but also capturing the interest of big investors internationally. It will be very interesting to see the evolution of these companies in the coming year. Nevertheless, it’s not just Berlin that’s dominating fashion startups or gazelle companies in Germany. Munich, the Bavarian capital, has also confirmed its influence in the fashion scene through companies like Stylight.
Why is Germany a great country to do business?
Germany’s business culture and heritage have made the country an attractive spot for international and creative talent. Though the country and its main cities, such as Berlin and Munich, were not particularly famous for their fashion market in the past, this has radically changed, hosting a variety of gazelle companies and startups connected to fashion and lifestyle. On top of a pool of international talent, there’s also room for numerous co-working spaces (Betahaus, Cluboffice) and startup accelerators (Berlin Startup Academy, Seedcamp).
Where are the growth opportunities for German businesses?
German businesses can expand more by seeking opportunities internationally. Since German consumers have very high expectations in terms of service and product quality, German companies are extremely competitive in foreign countries. Nowadays, being able to sell products abroad has never been easier: through marketplaces or fashion aggregators, German companies are able to easily reach customers in other countries and grow their business.
Read the next interview in the Why Berlin series here.