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Autumn 04

The third B&B in Berlin was the clincher. An astonishing 13,000 people turned up on the first day and some had to queue for two hours to gain admittance.

TITLE BREAD & BUTTER BERLIN tradeshow for selected brands

SLOGAN “Next Move”

DATE January 16-18, 2004

EXHIBITORS 380

VISITORS 32,000

 

Taxis choked the approach roads to the venue and the chaos that often accompanies a hot property ensued.

Inside the Siemens Kabelwerk the scope of the event had been broadened. The strapline “tradeshow for urbanwear and street couture” had been dropped as B&B embraced high-quality exhibitors from the directional, menswear, womenswear and outerwear sectors. The aim was to meet the demands of contemporary progressive and high-end retail. More than 100 brands were added to the roster. This strategic move was recognised in the silver bear chess piece that was the season’s emblem.

Curiously, some “early adopters” among the buying contingent were already complaining that the show had become too big, too mainstream and too predictable, but for most of the enlarged B&B community the event was a warming experience, despite the freezing conditions of Berlin in January. Laurence Davis, owner of Essex-based premium indie Choice, told Drapers: “In Berlin you can find the more interesting stuff, where it’s the product that sells, not the label.”

Denim for both sexes did not lack variety. Low-slung styles, skinny stretch fits, dark denim and complex back-pocket details were everywhere. American premium labels such as Joe’s Jeans and Serfontaine competed with Euro brands. Womenswear embraced a Happy Days 1950s vibe, while fashion magpies such as The Duffer of St George and Firetrap reworked to good effect classic US casualwear styles such as the goose-down gilet, the checked shirt and the satin bomber jacket. Less commercial for British tastes were the adventures into retro ski styles by brands like 55DSL, Ellesse and Alpsrauch.

Everyone and his uncle (or aunt) put a graphic on a T-shirt and companies that should have known better revived the 1980s Flashdance jersey look. A harder edge was displayed by the waves of 1980s hip-hop revivalists such as Mecca, Rocawear and Ecko.

Of more contemporary interest was the trend that saw classic tailoring remade and remodelled. So a Jack Purcell Converse was made out of woollen tweed, while a tweed jacket from URU had appliqué cutouts on the sleeves.

 

There are so many good memories, like when Boxfresh, Religion, Ringspun and Gola staged a party in Berlin with Vice magazine that was so crowded even we couldn’t get in! Then there was the cage football competition that Nike staged at Berlin. They had a team of pro players who thought they were going to walk it, but they underestimated the aggression of the Ringspun team. It was more like cage fighting…

Roger Wade, founder of streetwear brand Boxfresh and pop-up mall Boxpark

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