To no one’s surprise, B&B announced in October 2006 that its Berlin edition scheduled for January would be cancelled due to lack of interest from exhibitors
TITLE BREAD & BUTTER tradeshow for selected brands
SLOGAN Bread & Butter Active
DATES BBBARCELONA January 17-19, 2007
BBBERLIN at Kraftwerk, Berlin-Mitte: January 26-27, 2007
EXHIBITORS 942 (more than 900 in Barcelona)
VISITORS 82,837 (the vast majority in Spain)
To no one’s surprise, B&B announced in October 2006 that its Berlin edition scheduled for January would be cancelled due to lack of interest from exhibitors. The decision confirmed a widely held view that the young fashion sector needed only one event. (Berlin’s [temporary] last hurrah was a small show called Kraftwerk, which passed UK buyers and brands by.)
In September, B&B had announced it was hiking its cost of space, but the bonus was that from then on, buyers would have free entry to the show. Exhibitors welcomed the news. To give a better service to the thousands of visitors, the Active Guest Management programme was set up, which required investment equivalent to £4m on 600 new scanners, extra telephone lines and a team of 30. Henceforth, tickets were to be personalised and visitors would have to present photo ID to gain admittance, which frustrated high street own-label buyers but helped to protect the IP of brands for a little longer.
The demise of Berlin confirmed Barcelona as the only significant show in the market in Europe. Despite 2006 being a gruelling year for retailing in the UK and beyond, the single show created an unprecedented sense of community; the organisers counted 82,837 visits, with British participation up 44% on the previous January to a figure just shy of 6,000.
In its end-of-2006 round-up, all the Top 10 best-selling brands in the Drapers Indicator list for young fashion were made up of exhibitors at B&B - they were (in order): Firetrap, Diesel, G-Star, Replay, Henleys, Peter Werth, Jack & Jones, Duck and Cover, Fullcircle and Nudie.
Among the other hot-to-trot brands of the season were Bench, Gio-Goi, Blue Blood, Freesoul, Criminal, Boxfresh, Religion and Original Penguin.
At the Barcelona show, denim was dark, raw and clean, untainted by bleaching or moustaching. There was plenty of attention to waists as the styles presented a variety of rises. Tops were still in demand, but they could not be basic. Routes to differentiation included rock and
American themes on blocks that were longer and slimmer. Smart casual shirts offered an alternative to polo shirts. “Tough and chunky” was one view of outerwear for autumn 07, with robust and functional fabrics the hot trend. Women’s skirts stretched from the pretty to the hard, but short was the way to go; jersey and sweater dresses offered an alternative.
The original B&B concept was extremely innovative. I was always impressed by its resistance to allow the exhibition to expand too quickly and lose its direction and identity. Most organisers make that mistake. Karl-Heinz Müller and his team, however, encouraged organic growth and they have gone on to achieve tremendous and deserved success.