Sebastian Klinder has transformed Munich Fabric Start and Bluezone into international platforms focused on sustainability and innovation.
Sebastian Klinder joined Munich Fabric Start Ltd. as a partner and transformed the organization from a regional trade show in Germany to an international platform focused on sustainability and innovation.
He has since amplified the importance of collaboration and community-building within the denim industry, sharing the show’s platform with initiatives like The Women In Denim, which bolsters female denim designers, executives and influencers, as well as hosting a panel with last year’s Rivet 50 honorees.
The show is also home to a robust lineup of educational seminars and to Keyhouse, a space dedicated to the future of retail technology.
Though physical shows as they once were may be on hold in the short-term, Klinder and his team managed to successfully pull off one of the first in-person industry events in September. Fabric Days, a consolidated version of Munich Fabric Start and Bluezone, went off without a hitch.
What will the denim industry be like in the next 18 months?
I believe the denim industry will become much more flexible, and that now more than ever, it is crucial to be able to adapt to change. The industry needs to restructure and redefine itself. I would almost describe this as a paradigm shift toward a leaner, more focused, connected and, above all, responsible future. Ideally, this means we examine the collection sizes and ordering behavior more closely to create a focused offer where quality replaces speed. Less consumption and sustainable manufacturing are the rising priorities, and companies have to adapt to it.
As for our international denim trade fair Bluezone, I see an enthusiastic industry eager to participate in a trade show again to proactively gather information, new inspiration and create new business opportunities.
What change would you like to see in the denim industry as a result of Covid-19?
I would like pre-pandemic selfishness to remain a thing of the past and continue to nurture a sense of community. People must change the way they live and consume in order to stop using earth’s resources so selfishly. I personally believe in the opportunities created by nearshoring and for the industry in general to move closer together again—cohesion, cooperation and the right industrial partnerships will be essential. We should embrace the spirit of ‘many things are possible’ as well as the motto ‘it’s only possible together.’
How do you define sustainability in a post-pandemic world?
I believe that there will be a new, elevated dimension of sustainability with greater transparency, shorter distances and smaller order sizes. There is a need to restore a kind of balance to the environment, which is why I believe there will be a rise toward a circular economy. Our role as a trade show is to show the various players across the entire textile chain as part of a circular economy.
Early on, we recognized our role to shape sustainable processes in our industry and since the inception of Munich Fabric Start, we have been progressive in raising awareness for change. As a team, we take practical steps to reduce our show’s environmental footprint, and have established a bridge between sustainable companies and brands to stimulate education in innovative fields. For us, it is about transparency, education, credibility and information. We want to inspire and raise awareness in dealing with resources where progress and sustainability go hand in hand. We believe the industry is willing to rise to the challenges and embrace a more holistic approach to sustainability, especially now.
Describe your dream jeans.
My dream jeans combine timeless style with comfort. They would be a shining example of the most recent fabric innovation and are, of course, produced locally with full sustainability and transparency.
What is your most worn pair of jeans, and why?
A 25-year-old Levi’s 605.
Name one word that best describes denim.
Democratic. For us, denim is the most democratic fashion item in the world.