Previously, Reference Festival operated separately from Berlin Fashion Week, which has historically carried little clout with the creative community. But this year, the festival will be on the official Berlin Fashion Week schedule and co-funded by Berlin’s Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises.
As part of the festival, which combines a mix of fashion, art and music performances and installations, GmbH will debut its autumn/winter 2021 runway collection, while 032c will host a special presentation to mark its 20th anniversary. Other fashion names in the line-up include Mowalola, who will launch a new collaboration with furniture designer Chapel Petrassi; and vintage archivist Endyma, which will stage a Helmut Lang archive exhibition.
This year, Reference Festival will launch the inaugural Reference Prize, an incubator programme, in partnership with cult retailer Slam Jam to coincide with its 30th anniversary. No formal degree or training will be required of applicants. The prize winner will be announced in the summer and receive mentorship and support from Slam Jam, as well as PR and brand consulting services from Reference Studios.
This is the second iteration of Reference Festival. Its debut in 2019 saw around 2,200 people attend a 24-hour long experience in an abandoned carpark in South West Berlin’s trendy Neukölln neighbourhood. Due to pandemic lockdowns, the festival will be broadcast digitally this year on an interactive platform open to the public. It will run from 21 to 23 January.