• Mercedes-Benz Fashion Engagement has established itself as a key sponsor and supporter of the global fashion sector, addressing customers and target groups.

    Mercedes-Benz Global Fashion: A World of Engagement.

    Supporting talented designers.

Championing Creativity.

Community is at the core of Mercedes-Benz’s global involvement in fashion. From sponsoring a wide spectrum of fashion weeks ranging from Australia and Mexico to Italy and Russia; to our inclusive International Designer Exchange Program (IDEP) that launched nine years ago and connects promising young designers from around the world to an international audience; it’s clear that Mercedes-Benz has a passion for championing emerging design talent.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Engagement has established itself as a key sponsor and supporter of the global fashion sector, addressing customers and target groups.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Engagement has established itself as a key sponsor and supporter of the global fashion sector, addressing customers and target groups.

IDEP: a Network of Talent.

Springboarding talent from local prominence to global relevance, the Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange Program supports and pioneers evolving designers by offering them unique access to key international fashion markets. In the past year alone, the initiative has supported 16 designers, including Festival International de Mode, de photographie et d’accessoires de Mode à Hyères winner of the Grand Prix de Jury Vanessa Schindler showing in Berlin and International Fashion Showcase winner The Sirius for Milan Fashion Week, and has enabled a direct exchange between China-based designer Angel Chen in Milan and Italian Vivetta during Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week.

A History of Emerging Talent.

When Mercedes-Benz became the first title sponsor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia back in 1995, no one could have predicted the extraordinary relationship with the fashion industry that the brand has cultivated over the past 23 years, but the evolution has continued.

Participating in more than 60 international fashion platforms, including Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks as varied as Tbilisi, Berlin, Istanbul and Madrid, as well as the prestigious 33rd International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion Accessory in Hyères, Mercedes-Benz’s relationship with fashion has evolved into a creative partnership that aims to make the world of style more open and accessible to everyone by creating unique global networks for young designers.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Engagement has established itself as a key sponsor and supporter of the global fashion sector, addressing customers and target groups.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Engagement has established itself as a key sponsor and supporter of the global fashion sector, addressing customers and target groups.

Driving the Future of Fashion.

Technology has shined a spotlight on promoting inclusivity within fashion. The Mercedes-Benz “Generation Now, Generation Next” was the #mbcollective fashion story for 2017, uniting global talent with their accompanying protégés. For 2018, the next stage of the fashion story is entitled #WeWonder, a manifesto that brings together seven of the world’s most innovative and inspiring visionaries to share their thoughts about the future of the industry.

A Digital Revolution.

Mercedes-Benz aims to spark a global conversation about the evolution of fashion in a digital age and the potentiality of the future – generating a whole new approach to the traditional campaign and shifting towards the fast-paced world of digital. This approach to the distribution of fashion content offers a pivotal chance for everyone to get involved and contribute throughout the year, with a series of global events, appearances and digital activations.

Mercedes-Benz’s global fashion Instagram channel is taking the next step and continues to encourage followers to interact, posing their own thoughts on social media.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Engagement has established itself as a key sponsor and supporter of the global fashion sector, addressing customers and target groups.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Engagement has established itself as a key sponsor and supporter of the global fashion sector, addressing customers and target groups.

Stay Connected.

Want to keep up with all things Mercedes-Benz Fashion and everything in between? Then head over to @MercedesBenzFashion to see Mercedes-Benz’s fashion commitment unfold. From emerging IDEP talent, to insights into the international fashion weeks supported by Mercedes-Benz, as well as our digital fashion story – be part of the #mbcollective community and share your thoughts on the future of fashion!

In the first part of the #mbcollective Mercedes-Benz Fashion Story 2017 by filmmaker, photographer and author Luke Gilford, the singer M.I.A and rapper Tommy Genesis get to know the concept EQ.

Everybody can follow the whole story under the hashtag #mbcollective as well as on Mercedes-Benz.com/fashion.

Continuity instead of short-lived trends

Malaika Raiss: Fashion Designer
© Christoph Neumann
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Malaika Raiss has been running her self-named fashion label for seven years now. The young designer has long been an integral part of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin. We spoke to her beside the catwalk.

Malaika Raiss has long become something of a household name for fashionistas. The Berlin-based designer founded her label in 2010 with her feminine designs catching on in a big way, right from the start. A native of the German state Hesse, she studied fashion in Mannheim and worked as an assistant for Lala Berlin and Sabrina Dehoff. We spoke with her about her label, the daily challenges of the fashion industry and the question of whether femininity and power are seen as something of an odd couple.

Malaika Raiss: Photo wall

She’s Mercedes: Malaika, your collection is called “No. 13”. Could you reveal a little more about how you arrived at this name?

Malaika Raiss: A collection is comprised of a host of different themes. We thought it was a shame to always just pick out one aspect for the title. So now we use numbers. I want the collections to tell a continuous story. It’s important to me that each customer creates her own look, independently of any trends. Our garments are designed to win hearts.

One shouldn’t allow oneself to be coerced into following a certain fashion role model – especially when it comes to office looks. I believe a woman must be allowed to be feminine. Malaika Raiss

What defines a woman who refuses to be guided by trends? Do you see this as a sign of strength?

Yes, absolutely. A woman who declines to allow her look and her views to be dictated by short-lived trends is always strong in a special way. She knows exactly what she wants and won’t be told what is the “done thing”. She has her own agenda and sticks to her guns. She does not dress for others - neither men nor women. She wears what appeals to her taste, thereby revealing how she sees herself. One shouldn’t allow oneself to be coerced into following a certain fashion role model – especially when it comes to office looks. I believe a woman must be allowed to be feminine. Many women think that showing femininity is detrimental to being taken seriously. But that is not the case at all.

Is it more difficult for female designers to assert themselves in the fashion industry?

A woman has more of a struggle on her hands, yes. I also believe that men really are better at networking. Also, many women reach a point where they have to decide whether to have a child or to pursue their career. It is difficult to combine these two roles in an industry that involves heavy and seasonal workloads. However, those women who have pulled it off show markedly more continuity in their careers than many of their male colleagues. Take Isabel Marant or Phoebe Philo, for example. That is an important point. There’s a lot of coming and going at fashion houses but these women hold their own. One reason being that they produce fashion that sells because their customers identify with it. This is hopefully appreciated by the companies’ male CEOs.

  • Malaika Raiss: Backstage
    © Cathleen Wolf
  • Malaika Raiss: Catwalk
    © Kai Jakob
  • Malaika Raiss: Handbag
    © Cathleen Wolf
  • Malaika Raiss: Catwalk
    © Kai Jakob
  • Malaika Raiss: Backstage
    © Cathleen Wolf
  • Malaika Raiss: Catwalk
    © Kai Jakob
  • Malaika Raiss: Backstage
    © Cathleen Wolf
  • Malaika Raiss: Catwalk
    © Kai Jakob

What advice would you offer up-and-coming female designers?

Firstly, get some experience behind you before you set up a label of your own, as this is a very difficult move without financial support or the backing of a fashion group. But above all, it takes dedication. Investing time and money in the fashion sector does not always yield fast rewards. It takes patience and you can only stay the course if you passionately believe in what you are doing.

Have your partnerships – such as early on with brands4friends or most recently with Edited – proven advantageous to you?

Definitely. Partnerships provide access to totally different target groups. That is important to enable one to grow. We also enjoy doing projects that allow us to push back the design envelope. The “Star Wars” jewellery collection is a good example. That was very good for the internationalisation of the brand. Today, we sell to Denmark, Japan, USA, Australia – it’s crazy. This collection brought us a great deal of attention. Jewellery also offers a perfect opportunity for our customers to become acquainted with the brand. Not everyone is able or willing to spend 400 euros on a coat. This way, people can carefully try out what the brand has to offer.

Malaika Raiss: Backstage
© Cathleen Wolf

From where do you draw your inspiration for new collections?

I soak up everything – exhibitions, films, music, encounters. So my ideas don’t spring from any fixed pattern. I collect things throughout the year. When I then set out everything in front of me, I usually already have the makings of a new collection. A long process still lies ahead until the models work and match the ideas in my head, though. I’m a perfectionist after all. I expect a lot of myself and of the people who work with me. But you nevertheless have to learn to compromise if you want to work along market lines.

I’m the quiet type, really. So Fashion Week can sometimes be a bit of a strain for me. But it really touches a deep chord within me when everyone is beaming after the show. That’s the loveliest thing about my job. Malaika Raiss

Malaika Raiss: Fashion Designer
© Christoph Neumann

Now that we’ve talked so much about your work: How do you recharge your batteries after all this stress? How do you recuperate?

I’m rather a quiet sort of person. I enjoy sitting on my sofa or my bed and drawing most of all. I socialise when I have to. So Fashion Week can sometimes be a bit of a strain for me. But it really touches a deep chord within me when everyone is beaming after the show. That’s the loveliest thing about my job. Above all, friends and family help to keep me on an even keel. I’m often at home. In the summer we all go on holiday together. We also enjoy engaging in long political discussions. That’s always a pleasant contrast to all the fun of the fashion circus (laughs).

Susie Wolff: On the road in Berlin

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week: Susie Wolff
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Against the backdrop of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, we’re taking a spin around the German capital in the new E-Class Coupé with She’s Mercedes brand ambassador Susie Wolff. Between Potsdamer Platz and Kaufhaus Jandorf – the Fashion Week’s new location – the 34-year-old Scot tells us about her passion for fashion and speed – and lets us in on a forthcoming happy event.

During the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, former race driver and She’s Mercedes brand ambassador Susie Wolff has an exclusive opportunity to put the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé through its paces on the Berlin roads. But how exactly do fashion and car design go together? For Susie, the two sectors have far more in common than just the name Mercedes-Benz. Design is an important component. But it is the passion aspect that is much more important – a passion for one’s chosen vocation.

This is precisely what Susie Wolff is seeking to inspire in young women with her initiative “Dare to be Different”. Since her retirement from active racing, she has been dedicated to opening up motorsport to talented young female drivers – and her efforts have paid off. In Great Britain, she has been awarded the most impressive title Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her work in this area. An event under this motto is also planned in Germany for the first time in 2017.

So, although her official racing career is over, we will still see plenty more of Susie Wolff. She’s never been one for routine and the quiet life, anyway. She loves to feel the blood pacing through her veins, and has always been looking for something different to occupy her in her day-to-day life, too. That shouldn’t be an issue in the near future: Susie and her husband are expecting their first child. It goes without saying that its mother will be more than happy for the child to discover racing cars. For Susie, though, it is more important that her child will later have the opportunity to discover its own passions and realise its own dreams.


Contrary to all the clichés, a self-assured and driven woman like Susie Wolff is also interested in fashion. She describes her style as straightforward and classic. In keeping with this taste, at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, she attended the shows by Hien Le and Riani at Kaufhaus Jandorf. In the video interview, Susie Wolff exclusively reveals what she thinks of Berlin design and what she saw and experienced on her trip through Berlin.

Georgia’s secret ambassador

Fashion Week ambassador Sofia Tchkonia leaning on a Mercedes-Benz S 500 4MATIC in Tbilisi.
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Sofia Tchkonia puts a chic spin on patriotism.

The rise of a certain Demna Gvasalia, now creative director of Balenciaga, and of London-based designer David Koma, artistic director of Thierry Mugler since 2013, put Georgia on the map of the international fashion scene. Suddenly fashion insiders from all over the globe scrutinised the former Soviet republic by the Black Sea for the next shooting star, and glossy magazines like Vogue, Elle and New York Times T Magazine dispatched editors to the Georgian capital Tbilisi to report about this newly discovered creative hub.

Enter Sofia Tchkonia. A born and bred Georgian with a global mindset and the refined sophistication of a true cosmopolitan, she can be described as the driving force behind the ongoing fame of the small nation at the intersection of Europe and Asia. We met the fascinating founder and creative director of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Georgia for a joy ride in a Mercedes-Benz S 500 4MATIC through Tbilisi’s picturesque old city. Driving past quaint historic structures, we talk to Tchkonia about her ambitious work behind the scenes to further her home country’s reputation as an international hub for design and creativity.

S 500 4MATIC: Fuel consumption combined: 9.3–8.7 l/100 km; combined CO₂ emissions: 216–202 g/km.*

Sofia Tchkonia driving a Mercedes S 500 4MATIC.

What is the status quo in Georgia’s design and culture scene?

Many good things are happening at the moment. We have a growing number of talented designers, not only in fashion but also in interior and furniture design, jewellery, and much more. Besides Fashion Week, we have countless other cultural events, exhibitions and festivals taking place in Georgia.

What are the things that set Georgian creatives apart from their international peers?

I don’t know if this is good or bad, but Georgian creatives are not spoiled by marketing yet and they think more about creativity itself rather than focusing on the commercial side of things.

You are the founder and creative director of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Georgia. What does your work for this event entail?

As soon as one season’s event ends we start working on the upcoming fashion week. I invite guests, work with the designers, and liaise with potential sponsors and the government. There is always plenty to do.

What were the biggest challenges in creating and establishing Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Georgia?

Discovering the most talented designers and keeping up with the changes we see each season are probably the most challenging tasks.

Georgian creatives are not spoiled by marketing yet. Sofia Tchkonia

Growing up, did you always want to work in fashion? What made you choose this path?

I’ve been studying films and wanted to become a film director. I’m not entirely sure how it happened that I now work in fashion, but the two things I love most of all are fashion and the cinema. I’ve been organising international fashion design contests for seven years now. There we provide scholarships for outstanding participants and finance collections, giving the designers exposure and helping them find work placements. I found that we need a professional fashion week in the country because I felt we are ready for it. We have many talented designers in Georgia who are ready for the international market. This is also a perfect opportunity to promote the country itself through art and fashion.

Sofia Tchkonia leaning on a fence in Tbilisi.

Growing up in Georgia, was patronage of the arts a big topic in your family?

My family has always been actively involved in Georgia’s cultural scene, sponsoring and also organising events from theatre to art, fashion and much more. They supported many different projects that were vital to the country’s cultural scene and educational sector. My father originally brought major American brands here in 1993, right after the Soviet Union collapsed. My mother had a charity foundation and was organising design contests for young fashion designers. My parents always gave me a lot of motivation to move forward and supported me throughout. I’ve been working since the age of 18 and did many different things. I think most of all it is my passion for what I do that helped me to get where I am now, as well as the desire to constantly improve.

Sofia Tchkonia at the steering wheel of a Mercedes S 500 4MATIC.

Would you consider yourself and your work as the work of a patriot and cultural ambassador?

Maybe. I think culture, art and fashion are the perfect ambassadors for the country. My ambition is to enhance the prestige of my country.

My ambition is to enhance the prestige of my country. Sofia Tchkonia

The contest you described is the BE NEXT International Fashion Design Contest. What is the aim of this event?

It is an annual platform for creative people from all around the globe, bringing together young designers and providing them with the opportunity to showcase their talent and creations to a jury of international experts and professionals. It has been going on for ten years now. Prizes range from financial opportunities, work placements, participation in international study programmes and fashion weeks to participation in major trade shows and showrooms, PR and Sales opportunities and much more.


You also organise a biannual art and design salon in Paris, ARTGeorgia. What is the focus here?

ARTGeorgia is the place where fashion meets art. Creatives from all around the world from the fields of art, fashion or photography can present their work and their ideas in a relaxed atmosphere to an audience of fashion representatives, specialty fashion buyers, selected VIPs, socialites, journalists, stylists, magazine representatives, and fashion and art professionals.

Our mission is to support, to give visibility to artists and our aim is to build the bridge between creatives and professionals from around the world.


What are the best spots to experience contemporary Georgian culture and design?

I would recommend visiting the old city of Tbilisi with its narrow streets to experience the real Georgia. Amongst the museums I would suggest to go see the National Gallery or State Museum, the Theatre and Cinema Museum, and the Lado Gudiashvili Gallery. Turn to Gabriadze Café or Keto & Kote for authentic sustenance. Rooms Hotel is a Georgian brand and a popular meeting place for many locals and people who visit Tbilisi.

What makes Georgia unique in your eyes?

As a Georgian, this is a hard thing for me to say. For me my country as a whole is unique. The culture, the fashion and art, the capital Tbilisi, the environment – these are all things I love about Georgia.

Founder of Mercedes-Benz fashion week Tbilisi Sofia Tchkonia in a Mercedes-Benz S 500 4MATIC.

What is next on your busy agenda?

My next projects will be the upcoming Fashion Week and various projects in Paris, Milan and London. There are many things happening right now, which is very exciting for me.

Thank you very much for the interview!

The scope of functions may vary according to country.