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Barcelona’s creative hub: The Brandery

Last week I travelled to Barcelona for the seventh edition of urban and contemporary fashion show The Brandery, which is open to the both the trade and the public.

Feedback from some of the exhibitors was that the fair was quiet in places, but with austerity-hit retailers slashing buying team travel budgets, isn’t that arguably a problem for every show at the moment?

Even the largest of the shows, Bread & Butter, saw notable absences in terms of visitors this year, while many UK buyers skipped visiting the Berlin shows altogether, telling Drapers that they were instead seeing brands at their London showrooms.

While at the Brandery I managed to sit down with show director Miguel Serrano, who is refreshingly honest about the difficulty in getting buyers out to the show under the current climate. In an attempt to ensure the health of the show and that its exhibitors get to see the right retailers, The Brandery is now paying for key buyers to fly out and accommodating them during their stay. It’s an approach that appears to have worked, with 15 groups of international buyers attending this year, taking part in 162 meetings with brands exhibiting.

Serrano has also taken an innovative approach to organising the show, which he describes as “a large concept store”. Separated into two areas, with one for the trade showcasing exhibitors, and the second called the Brandtown, which played host to concerts, workshops, exhibitions and contests open to the public.

For those buyers that did attend this year they would have discovered an interesting mix of domestic Spanish and foreign brands exhibiting within the trade show area this year. Stand-outs included glamorous dresses from Italian womenswear brand Hanita, sharp tailoring from Spanish menswear brand Paco Roca, and quirky dress designs inspired by the Spanish region of Andalucía by D’Repente Lola.

The Brandery might not attract some of the big name exhibitors present at some of the other trade shows, but what it does do is offer an interesting mix of brands within a contemporary, compelling setting.

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