Streetwear trade show Bread & Butter has revealed plans to axe exhibitors for next season’s edition as part of a major overhaul of the show. But with some saying the trade show is flagging, is it too little too late?
Yes - Ruth Faulkner, news reporter
You only have to look at the comments posted by our readers today in response to the story about Bread & Butter’s plans to gauge the extent of negativity towards the trade show.
Not a season has gone by in the time I have been at Drapers without someone from the industry telling me that B&B is not the show it once was.
Once the daddy of the trade show, B&B has more recently come under fire for being too samey and, perhaps a more valid criticism in these tough economic times, too expensive.
It is commonly accepted by those in the trade that B&B is not an order writing show and, certainly in the past, buyers went there primarily to get a sense of what is new and, indeed, “cool” in terms of streetwear.
However this lack of genuine trade becomes more relevant when you consider that the staple of brands exhibiting are largely the same season-on-season, and that the cost of exhibiting has increased, the show has not only lost its “cool” but has also wandered slightly from the main premise.
Founder Karl Heinz-Muller may have grand plans to carefully select and curate the brand selection going forward but I can’t help thinking this is a token gesture, a move that smacks of panic as organisers look to maintain B&B’s crown. The reality is that they are running scared, concerned that more high profile brands may pull out from exhibiting and exacerbate the show’s decline.
We have already seen several big names pull out of B&B over the last couple of seasons and if the rumour mill is to be believed, they won’t be last. This latest move by organisers has got damage limitation written all over it.
One thing B&B could do to freshen-up its format would be to change location but as Heinz-Mueller is locked into a long-term agreement at Berlin’s Templehoff, this is not an option.
Which is sad because even with these changes, I don’t believe B&B will ever return to the same sort of glory it enjoyed in days gone by – and I’m not the only one.
No - Victoria Gallagher, news reporter
In its 11-year history B&B has been the ultimate place to be for the young fashion and streetwear sector. As testament to this, more shows such as Premium, Capsule and Seek have sprung up in Berlin capitalising on the fashion trade flocking to the German capital during B&B and also bringing new industry figures.
Undoubtedly times are changing and so B&B has to adapt, but just because it has been going for a while doesn’t mean it is over – quite the opposite. B&B has the history and the expertise to really hone its offering now, selecting the best, and most interesting brands out there to help inspire buyers visiting the show.
Curating shows seems to be the way forward now with smaller shows such as Stitch and Jacket Required providing edited offerings, winning loyalty in a short space of time thanks to the care that is put into their selections.
B&B is simply responding to the industry’s needs and giving buyers an edited range of top labels. This is a natural change in the way people buy – instead of traipsing around a supermarket, buyers are heading for the deli.
With consumer purse strings tighter than ever, buyers are under extra pressure to seek out the hottest brands and new looks to tempt shoppers. The refresh of B&B could most certainly make the job of a buyer easier.