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Autumn 11

Although the present Tempelhof building was built between 1936 and 1941, the airport had been established in the mid-1920s.

TITLE ABSOLUTE

DATES January 19-21, 2011

EXHIBITORS about 600

VISITORS undisclosed

 

That decade was the theme for the opening night festivities at the 20th Bread & Butter, which included an IBO world championship boxing match, burlesque dancers and a swing dance band performing in the Absolute Cotton Club at the venue.

The event’s “Absolute” motto was meant to reflect the unique qualities and creativity of the entire streetwear and urbanwear industry.

While the roster of about 600 brands, labels and designers was smaller than in some previous seasons, the show was undoubtedly the world crossroads for the sector. In the run-up, the B&B Active Guest Management had received more than 90,000 registrations from professional visitors from more than 100 countries, and additional registrations were made at the show itself. The organisers said UK visitors accounted for 8.7% of the total.

Diesel UK managing director Jonny Hewlett said: “It was a positive three days for the UK and the team as a whole. All our major customers sent senior buyers. It was quality as opposed to quantity.” While some progressive buyers preferred attending smaller niche shows such as Capsule and Tranoï in Paris, they admitted that these were icing on the cake after the main meal in Berlin.

Having started in the business in 1981 as a sales rep for Levi’s and followed it with stints as managing director of German-Swiss denim brand Big Star, then Marc O’Polo Germany and finally Pepe Jeans Germany, Karl-Heinz Müller had seen a lot in his career. As he reveals in an interview with Drapers in this special supplement, the idea for B&B came to him in his sleep. “I had a dream about having a party where everyone I knew from the business came together, and when I woke up I knew I was going to make a new fair.”

This summer, on July 6-8, the 21st edition of the main Bread & Butter event will show again just how magnificently that vision has become a reality. As the new slogan for the season says: “Everything’s going to be super.”

 

On my first visit to B&B Berlin last January, I was taken aback by the sheer size and scale of the show. I was also pleasantly surprised at the amount of free alcohol supplied by the brands. I had to remind myself I was on a buying trip and not a pub crawl. Either way, I had a great time and fell in love with Berlin.

Mark Higgs, owner of indie Commonn in Northampton, winner of Best New Store at the Drapers Footwear Awards 2011

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