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Autumn 03

Berlin is 260 miles east of Cologne and had not been a fashion centre since before the Second World War.

TITLE BREAD & BUTTER BERLIN tradeshow for selected brands

DATE January 17-19, 2003




Since the Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989, however, the city had begun to build a reputation as a creative centre. In retrospect B&B’s relocation to Berlin was a masterstroke; at the time though, to some, it seemed a slightly reckless attempt to be different.

Buoyed by the confidence of the buzz around the first three shows, Karl-Heinz Müller and his team shifted the show two weeks earlier, which distanced it from the struggling Vibes4U in Cologne while bringing it closer to Pitti Uomo in Florence, thereby making the Berlin event easier to add on to international buyers’ schedules.

Another example of the confidence was in the massive growth of the event. It added 50 exhibitors, including big-hitting brands such as G-Star and Replay, and expanded from 80,000 sq ft to 215,000 sq ft.

Most impressive of all was the venue - the former Siemens cable works is a spectacular example of early 20th century industrial architecture. This really was a trade show like no one had seen before. The capital letter of the city was added to B&B and BBB became the new logo - and we all became familiar with the rampant bear that is the emblem of Berlin.

Fashionwise, purist retro looks still dominated the denim sector, with Levi’s Red showing cuts and shapes on the theme of pre-industrial finishing techniques. Ben Sherman launched a vintage line based on what its Japanese and US customers liked. Alpha Industries revived a parka with toggle fastening from 1956. Meanwhile, modern creative labels such as Burro offered punky Dennis the Menace knits in mohair.

Drapers noted: “Sceptics who expected B&B to decline into a regional German affair by moving to Berlin were proved wrong … British visitors favourably contrasted B&B with its 215,000 sq ft in one venue with the fractured London show scene, which has the same sector covered by TBC, FAO, Londoncentral and parts of Pure.”


I loved the old factory in downtown Cologne, twisting the old guard. It smacked of London rebels. Let’s have a good time! Ten years supreme! Thanks, Bread & Butter. We look up to the stars and get down in the gutter! Joe Komodo says: Keep The Dream!

Mark Bloom, owner of ethical brand Komodo

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