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Big brands absent as Bread & Butter opens on upbeat note

Brands were upbeat as Bread and Butter threw open its doors today with many anticipating a good turnout from international buyers despite wider economic concerns.

The aisles at the streetwear tradeshow, which will run from January 18 to 20 in Berlin, were bustling with people as brands showcased their autumn 12 collections.

Charles Eisenhour, commercial director of Pepe Jeans London, said that despite tough times facing the industry serious retailers would still be out in force. “I think it’s a strong show, nobody does it better than Karl Heinz Muller,” he said.

Eisenhour added he expected to see lots of buyers from emerging markets and said that within Europe, Germany was strong for the brand.

However, he added that due to the tough economic conditions it would be difficult for small new brands to push into the market. “The fashion industry has always needed those newcomers that make it interesting and make it really fun, but its difficult these days,” he said.

“I think its really difficult for the smaller brands to come and in a way it just gives the bigger brands the opportunity to bring newness to the table,” added Eisenhour.

Philippe Dugardin, Europe and America commercial director at French heritage brand Aigle, was optimistic about the show ahead and said visitor numbers to the stand were in line with last season.

He added: “We have some great expectations. We believe this is the best show for us with regards to the authenticity and look of the brand. Plus, we are in a new location and we have much better traffic.”

The absence of brands such as Diesel, Replay and Religion was a rife topic but Dugardin said it would have no effect on the overall show.

“I believe the clever retailers don’t come to visit these brands as they have such big facilities in each of the markets they operate in. Retailers don’t need to come to see what they have on offer.”

Carlos Portovella, international marketing manager at Custo Barcelona, said he feared that fewer retailers would come to the show as retailers looked to refine their focus and concentrate on shows in their domestic market.

“When I came yesterday there were little details I noticed, like the plane was half empty and it was easy to get a taxi.”

However, he added that since the show had begun he had made good contacts particularly with those in emerging markets such as Brazil and Canada. “So far I’m very happy,” he said.

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