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Brands debate BBB’s plan to open to public

Reaction to Bread & Butter Berlin’s (BBB) plans to extend its show from July 2014 to include two days open to the public have ranged from enthusiastic to sceptical.

The Berlin trade show’s founder Karl-Heinz Müller, who unveiled his new vision on Monday, has begun fine-tuning his proposal to have July 8 dedicated to press, July 9 and 10 to buyers and press and July 11 and 12 to the public. However, exhibiting brands have expressed mixed feelings about the move.

Mark Maidment, chief executive of Ben Sherman, said: “My reaction was that the public don’t belong at a wholesale trade fair, but if the idea is to have two days as a festival of fashion, then I can see that it could be interesting to us.

“We dropped out of BBB for a couple of seasons but then returned as it’s very important to us. It works well just as it is, but Karl-Heinz is a bit of a visionary spirit and it’s good that he’s mixing it up again.”

Julian Dunkerton, chief executive of Superdry, which will not be present at BBB ’s January edition, took a different view. “Karl-Heinz is the best operator in Europe, but this idea is conceptually wrong. Trade shows are not as important as they were and all the shows in Europe need to be consolidated into one big show. He should do that,” he said.

“Also, protecting intellectual property is the most significant thing to us – why would I show my designs to the public six months before they are in the stores?”

Müller said he expected brands to offer something different to each of the three audiences, but said how they did it would be up to individuals.

Jason Denham of Amsterdam-based Denham the Jeanmaker said: “The concept is similar to what happens at events like Art Basel or the Milan Furniture Fair, which as a consumer I really love. But our industry should do it even better.

“Splitting the press and buyer days is good as we often fail to serve both at present. As a brand we want to get closer to our end-consumers, so this is interesting. It will make us think differently.”

Ricardo Meyer, managing director for Dutch young fashion brand Gsus Sindustries in Germany, added: “I like this idea. Today no retailers are going for anything new or crazy. By meeting consumers, smaller brands like us can encourage them to put pressure on retailers to stock us.”

Readers' comments (4)

  • Good idea for consumers to get more involved, think of it as some market insight. Like spotting not all women are 5'10 or above, nor all a size 6, for a start!

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  • Julian Dunkerton quote is spot on. Trade shows aren't as important as they once were. More and more people are subscribing to this view, though some are in still denial.

    Is clothing a business or a pr exercise?

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  • Thierry BAYLE

    Public opening - It does not seem to state whether the public will be coming just to view or to view and to buy.
    Who knows? It is an important question.

    Logistically, it can be tricky however more rewarding financially for those who have stock.

    I had to do it in the past. Execution is going to be key.

    Happy New Year 2014.

    Thierry Bayle

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  • Thierry BAYLE

    Found the info - No selling will be permitted.

    If I take my hat of Operations Improvement Specialist, I would like to make sure I can pick up consumer data and start connecting with them after the show (hopefully that is authorised).
    As I indicated, execution will be instrumental.

    Thierry Bayle

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