The amethyst on the poster represented the city of Barcelona and its flair.
TITLE BREAD & BUTTER EUROVISION tradeshow for selected brands
SLOGAN Bread & Butter Barcelona, Bread & Butter Berlin
DATES BBBarcelona: January 18-20, 2006 BBBerlin: January 27-29, 2006
EXHIBITORS 1,210 (total for two shows combined)
VISITORS 80,000 (total for two shows combined)
It was already obvious that Spain had triumphed over Germany, although the organisers were continuing with the two-show approach.
Tough trading continued to keep many British indies at home, saving money and licking their wounds after a challenging autumn 05. Other markets were more buoyant, however, and overall visits to the show were up to almost 49,000. B&B counts visits rather than visitors, so one buyer could be counted three times if he or she attended each day, but statistics notwithstanding, this was another hugely impressive international turnout.
In an unusual organisational stumble, B&B shifted its schedule at short notice from its usual Friday to Sunday to Wednesday to Friday, leaving some buyers fuming at having to buy new air tickets. Brands, however, generally welcomed the new arrangement.
Five years after its launch as an alternative to corporate fairs, B&B, with its many massive stands, was attracting some of the old criticisms. “It would help if we could get on to some of the stands. We have had trouble getting on to Lee, Replay and Levi’s. It is poor that in the current climate only existing customers can go on to stands,” complained David Walker-Smith, head of menswear at Selfridges.
The Buda Bar in Barcelona became the UK crowd’s watering hole of choice, but some visitors discovered that Barcelona’s streets were not as safe as those of Berlin. Stories about pickpocketing and mugging were swapped each morning after the night before.
After three seasons of design lethargy, autumn 06 offered a return to cleaner lines and slimmer silhouettes. The skinny jeans women had worn for a few seasons were seen much more strongly for men, with grey washes the biggest new story. Across many British collections a Pete Doherty-inspired rock ‘n’ roll urchin look offered an alternative to the embellished trash-glam LA styling of labels such as Ed Hardy.
There were still plenty of 1980s references for women, while men were offered a hybrid of modern casualwear in vintage fabrics such as tweed for an updated English country gent slant.
Over in Berlin, British brands confirmed that the event was very viable, attracting good-quality buyers from Germany and from as far away as Scandinavia and Italy.
One favourite B&B memory is the resounding success of the creative catwalk show we did at the Gio-Goi relaunch party in January 2006. Another very different one is the time one of our sales colleagues drank three pints of energy shots because of too many late nights. His face went blotchy, he went cross-eyed, started walking in circles and had to return to the hotel to recoup. How we laughed!