Casting Call: Media all-rounder Rabea Schif and Frankfurt’s evolving cultural scene
The Frankfurt-based fashion icon on upcoming trends and the city’s urban developments, Frankfurt
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Interviews > Casting Call: Media all-rounder Rabea Schif …

The district of Bahnhofsviertel, Frankfurt is a modern melting pot. An emerging world of young artists and progressive minds are blending into the legendary shadiness around the main station.

One of these creative forward-thinkers is Rabea Schif, who makes a living by hosting fashion and lifestyle shows (on fashiondaily.tv, ProSieben and VOX) and constantly giving a fresh impetus to fashion broadcast journalism. She opens up her doors with a big smile and a breakfast cup that announces: “I’m a belieber!”

Twenty years in the media and fashion business living and working in both Germany and the UK have lent essential learnings to the Frankfurt-born Rabea. “Explore yourself, try new things, grow with your tasks!” Without hesitation, Rabea packed her bags and moved to London after graduation—a stint which ended up lasting thirteen years.

Aside from her studies in art and design, Rabea landed appearances in music videos and started immersing herself into British fashion culture. “When I was in search of a job I walked into Smile Agency and wasn’t even aware that this was one of the top agencies in international photography and styling business,” she exclaims. “Ellen von Unwerth was a name to me, but I had no clue about all the famous photographers and stylists in the industry. Anyway, I asserted myself, those guys were like: ‘You know what? We’re looking for a management assistant!’ This was such an incredible start in London!” After two years at Smile she snapped up the job as an advertising director at Exit Magazine, her “bible” for fashion and art. At the same time Rabea began to put a dream into practice: positioning herself in front of the camera.

Obviously, there’s not much left that she didn’t dare to tackle. Generally, daringness is an ever recurring topic on that day because her very own experience has shown that you have to be bold to push yourself forward. Digging into Rabea’s special métier, the fashion industry, this becomes obvious. For her there’s a clear answer on the question of why Germany in general (and Frankfurt in particular) doesn’t really have a big position in international fashion world: “It’s a lack of an adventurous spirit. Of course, reinventing the wheel in terms of fashion is a tricky challenge and not always possible. A t-shirt will always be a t-shirt. But this doesn’t mean that you should stop experimenting!” While London provided motivation for her to wear opulent hats and flashy leopard coats, Rabea considered downgrading her style when she came back to Frankfurt (However, approaching her wardrobe, this isn’t really the first thought that comes to your mind).

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A portrait of Jean Michel Basquiat. It was shot by Paige Powell and Rabea ordered it from “Exhibition A”, the famous art gallery in New York.
Book by Bailey & Rankin: Two of Britain's most notorious photographers present their controversial collection of erotic photographs. The piece is strictly limited, it was a gift from Rabea’s ex-boyfriend.
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When she claims that “it’s sad there hasn’t ever been a trend born in Germany” you feel that she’s really racking her brain about how one could actually change that. As a lover of good design she’s seeking innovation, not only in fashion itself, but also in fashion journalism. “There’s an imbalance of quantity and quality, a market saturation that’s impeding our creativity,” she says. “Once you go High Street, you never go back.” Put in plain terms: An economy that sanctions boldness, but subsidizes floating with the current cannot really bear true progress. “Regarding fashion journalism, I assume the future lies in online content, which is naturally prone to shorten the subject,” explains Rabea as we wander around her Frankfurt neighborhood. “Let’s take Instagram: A really important platform and it’s fun to use, but I also plead for the continuance of media to deliver well researched stories, on broadcast and print formats, by investigative fashion journalists.”

“Awareness is not a single-topic related issue, it’s actually a way of living.”

Her approach sounds ambitious and that’s just what her future plans look like. After being the face of German TV show “Prominent!” for one and a half years she seeks for reorientation: doing more freelance jobs is on top of the wish list because it enables her to carefully choose which projects to work on. As she strongly believes in the importance of meaningful content she is a huge fan of Ellen DeGeneres and her deep, insight interviews with fascinating characters. Translated into terms of fashion her affair of the heart is raising awareness about the industry and its production processes. “Awareness is not a single-topic related issue, it’s actually a way of living. It constitutes your whole life, may it be the choice of your foods, the way you treat other people or the clothes that you buy. Sustainability and eco-friendliness is becoming more and more important to me and I also want to transport that into the minds of others.”

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There’s so much optimism and ease in her words that you know the woman isn’t only talking. She might strongly believe in Justin Bieber, but even more in herself, her words, her views and her actions. If slow fashion is a concept that is attracting more and more attention, slow fashion journalism might be as well. Rabea herself is one of the main influencers trying to give room to a form of media that encourages readers to use their brains, overcome barriers and simultaneously celebrate a good and proper dose of self-irony. Apropos self-irony, guess who’ll be on “Promi Shopping Queen” soon, the public arena in which four celebs are fighting a merciless battle over the question of who owns the most profound styling skills? Rabea still knows how to keep a twinkle in her eye. Putting your fashion proficiency to the test is undoubtedly proof of a strong adventurous spirit.

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Thank you, Rabea, for giving us personal insights into your life and showing us some of your favourite places around Frankfurt. Check out Rabea’s homepage here or follow her on Instagram to keep yourself up to date.

Text: Lisa Schmidt-Herzog
Photography: Ramon Haindl