Bread & Butter Berlin’s proposed event in Seoul in a year’s time will be “a city-wide festival of fashion and not a classic trade show”. It is also likely to involve sectors not seen at the streetwear show, such as premium men’s tailoring and lifestyle products from Western and Japanese brands.
Drapers was one of only two European titles to attend the official launch event in South Korea last Friday at which BBB’s founder Karl-Heinz Müller and Seoul mayor Park Won-soon confirmed that the city fully backed the initiative to bring new international names to South Korea and so to other Asian markets. The tentative date is Thursday to Saturday, September 3-5 2015.
“Bread & Butter is proud to have selected Seoul as the starting point to introduce relevant brands to the Asian market. We are well aware that Seoul has not such a wide multi-brand store base as Europe, but it has an amazing buying power, very strong department stores, profound culture, a sense for fashion and, most of all, very kind and educated inhabitants,” said Müller.
“Due to its uniqueness, Seoul is regarded by other Asian countries as a window to discover new opportunities arising from foreign countries and serves a role as a hub into the Asian market.”
Park responded: “Bread & Butter Seoul 2015 will combine fashion, culture, art and other areas to produce a creative and exceptional fashion festival. I expect (it) will grow into a global platform that embraces worldwide fashion brands and artists to show their talents and passion, and bring great changes to the fashion industry, retail business and international culture exchange.
“Seoul will keep doing its best to become one of the top art and fashion cities in the world.”
The seriousness of that aim can be seen in the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a stunning curvaceous building designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid that opened this spring; construction alone cost US $447m. An initiative of the city, it houses a design lab, retail space for small design firms and various exhibition zones that are likely to be venues for part of Bread & Butter Seoul.
The mayor has also promised the show use of an outdoor venue alongside the River Han next to the futuristic “Floating Islands”, the modern event spaces where the welcoming party was held.
The short event attracted a crowd of several hundred from fashion, culture, celebrity circles, retailing and brands. Müller told Drapers that local representatives of brands well-established in South Korea like Adidas and Nike had expressed an interest in becoming involved and stressed to him the importance of involving South Korean consumers.
Given that South Korea is the home of technical giants like Samsung and LG and that all ages appear obsessed with online communications, a high digital involvement in BBS is inevitable.
Muller now begins the long task of discussions with potential exhibitors to devise the exact concept. “The consumer element will be automatically a part of what we do here,“ he told Drapers. “The Koreans don’t need a B2B event, but they do want to meet new potential business partners. I have already had people talk to me about wanting to do a franchise for my Berlin store, 14oz store. Seoul is a really great starting point for other Asian markets too.”