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Bread & Butter future is hot topic in busy Berlin

Berlin was busier than expected for the city’s autumn 14 trade shows, but many attendees said they were unimpressed by Bread & Butter Berlin’s (BBB) plans to extend the show to consumers for next season.

Brands reported a bustling first day at BBB on Tuesday, with a strong turnout from international retailers from countries including Russia, Denmark and Malaysia, as well as UK buyers from the likes of Asos, Fenwick, USC and JD Sports Fashion.

Sharon Fraser, sales manager at women’s young fashion brand Glamorous, said: “We didn’t even have time to eat. Last year was good, but not as busy as this.”

Andy Hewat, country manager for the UK and Ireland at lifestyle brand Timberland, agreed: “I’m a big BBB fan and yesterday was busy for us. They’ve closed some of the other halls this season and lots of the sportswear brands are in the main hall [Urban Base], so it will be interesting to see how they do.”

BBB founder Karl-Heinz Müller’s plans to extend the show from July 2014 to include two days open to the public was a hot topic of conversation at this season’s edition, which ran from January 14-16.

The owner of one young fashion brand said: “Obviously now some of the big brands have gone they are trying to change things, but it looks a bit worrying.”

Consumers would be a “nightmare” at the show, he added. “It will be really hard to manage as people will be stealing things and wanting to buy things but they won’t be able to.”

The sales manager of one womenswear brand agreed. “Doing it over five days will cost an awful lot of money [and] smaller brands don’t have the infrastructure to sell in-season stock here,” she said.

Ash Kumar, founder and creative director of men’s young fashion brand Native Youth, said: “We’re going to have a conversation with them [BBB] about it today, as it will be difficult to show two collections at the same time. Also we are quite active with trade shows and would be going straight to Capsule in Paris, so it wouldn’t work if they extended the show.”

BBB’s plans for July could mean brands opt to show elsewhere. Several alternative exhibitions including Premium, Capsule, Panorama, Seek and Bright are held at the same time as BBB.

Brands already exhibiting at these shows were delighted by the attendance from international buyers this season.

Helen Jones, international sales manager at womenswear label Nocturne, said: “It’s our first time showing at Premium as we don’t normally exhibit at German trade shows. It’s going really well so far, we have had a really good reaction.”

Justin Beachus, head of international sales at outerwear label Handstitch, said: “[Premium] has been really busy. There have been a lot of German buyers as well as some from the UK. People come here to buy, which is great.”

Elisa Dahan, co-creative director at US outerwear brand Mackage, added: “I have been here the last three years and this year is as busy as ever. There has been a good turnout with buyers coming from across the globe, from Russia to Korea.”

Panorama also came in for praise. Managing director of womenswear label Oui Daniel Gottesdiener said: “We have exhibited here for the past two seasons and we find that, while it’s quite far away from the other shows, buyers still make the effort to come because there are some really good brands here. Premium is a great show too, but the brands there are more niche, whereas Panorama has the more established names.”

See next week’s issue for a full report on Berlin. For updates from Berlin go to www.drapersonline.com/berlinshows

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