An exuberant, buzzing scene greeted the Drapers team as the spring 18 Berlin trade shows kicked off yesterday.
More from: Beaches and big-name buyers in Berlin
Drapers started the Berlin show carousel at contemporary trade show Premium where buyers filled the exhibition’s trendy courtyard, sunning themselves on striped deckchairs and enjoying the vibrant atmosphere. Many were snapping selfies to show off their summer finery while others were taking full advantage of the street food and drinks stands on offer.
However, the upbeat mood outside didn’t extend across all of Premium’s cavernous halls. Hall seven, home to the show’s contemporary womenswear exhibitors, was by far the most crowded space. Here, plenty of domestic buyers were heard and spotted perusing the aisles and most exhibitors reported busy periods. But some did say they had been disappointed by a slower start to the day than in previous seasons and argued the real business was done in their showrooms, rather than at trade shows. The athleisure and menswear halls were noticeably less busy, although brands in both stressed it was only the first day of the show and they were expecting footfall to pick up as the exhibition went on.
As in previous editions of the show, most exhibitors had seen customers from the domestic German market, although a few had seen buyers from the US, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Italy. It was mainly buyers from European independents, although buyers from German etail giant Zalando had also been seen hunting for brands.
At the more mainstream exhibition Show & Order, which this year has a dedicated kid’s accessories offer, it was a quieter story. Exhibitors said the day had got off to a quiet start but had seen footfall increase as buyers spent the first half of the day checking out Premium before moving on to Show & Order. Buyers from German independents were well represented and exhibitors were happy with the brand mix. The show was also home to a small exhibition celebrating the work of Italian designer Gianni Versace, where crowds gathered to look at his famously extravagant style.
Panorama, Seek and Bright are also taking place in the German capital from 4 - 6 July.
Mood of the Shows
Steve Kirchner, country director, Tiger of Sweden
We’ve had some really busy periods, and some which have been less so. We always come to this show to meet customers and find new ones. We’re no longer working with an agency here though, so we will be checking out the results from this trade show. It’s all well and good meeting customers for a chit-chat, but we can do that in our showrooms, and that’s where we write orders and really show the collection. We never write orders at Premium, but some of the smaller brands still do.
We’re showing menswear here for the first time and people have been responding well to it. We’re happy with our positioning as well, at Pitti we weren’t with the right kind of brands but here it’s more premium.
Lise Lotte Kraup, sales manager, Gestuz
We’ve had a great first day to this season’s Premium. For us, it’s the start of the trade show season before we go to Amsterdam and Copenhagen. We’ve seen some of our key accounts today, as well as some new German customers. It’s important to come to build brand awareness. Today, it has been mainly the domestic German market. We see more international buyers at the winter edition of the show, perhaps because in the summer it’s the middle of the holiday season. Berlin shows are always good for us - there are some cool brands here and a relaxed, low-key atmosphere, which fits nicely with Gestuz.
Naser Matloubi, operations director, Arc Minute
We’re a bit disappointed with the placement of our stand - last season we were in the same hall and it was a good mix of streetwear brands, so we could all bounce off each other. This year, we’re surrounded by womenswear brands, which doesn’t fit as well with us because we’re contemporary menswear. The hall we’re in was definitely a bit edgier last season, which suited us. We’ve seen buyers from the German market, including Zalando, as well as from Italy. I think international buyers are favouring the Italian trade shows, perhaps because there haven’t been any attacks there and it feels more secure.
Annika Ottosson, sales, Cassall sport
This is our fourth time here with this brand. It’s been good, but it’s always quiet on day one as people tend to start in the big halls and it takes a while for them to come through to this section. People need to search for the sport area more. There is a good mix of brands in this area, it debuted in January and I’m glad we’re here again. We focus on fashion and performance activewear, so a place like this gives us access to a more fashion-focused buyer.
We’ve mainly seen German buyers, with one from New York. It’s been a mix of big and small buyers, but we’re expecting a lot more on day two.
Francesca Millea, key account manager, True Decadence
Most people come to Berlin on days two and three, so we’re expecting things to be busier tomorrow. We have a good feeling about the show though, it has a really good atmosphere – there’s really nothing bad to say about it.
We’re here to target the German customers, but we’ve also seen people from Israel and from the UK – although those are mainly smaller independents.
Vitus Overgaard, head of international sales, Samsoe and Samsoe
Today started very slowly but we have very high expectations for trade shows, so compared to other brands we have still been busy. When we look at the results we will still have the high quality buyers and will end up where we should be. My feeling so far is that we’ve mainly seen German buyers.
Buyers expect something extraordinary now and are these fairs extraordinary? That’s a question the industry needs to ask itself – how can fairs become extraordinary again? We have tried to combine art and fashion on our stand and I think we are the most instagrammed stand here, it’s all about social and branding and people buying into the lifestyle.
Axel Wallman, Nordic sales manager, Cords & Co
It’s been kind of slow so far, but alright overall. We’ve mainly seen German buyers, which is what we anticipated. We’re growing quickly as a brand and will be launching our own retail stores in London, New York and Stockholm over the summer. It’s the brand’s second season here – we were at Seek last year. It’s been okay for day one but could have been better and busier.
Show and Order
Adela Tomoda, international business and trade show manager, Rilke
There have been a few people here throughout the day, which has been good. We have good neighbours here as well which is excellent. We’re currently in small stores across Europe but are looking to launch into the German market, and we’ve seen some good people. This show mainly seems to be for accessories, which is good because we stand out, but it’s also a disadvantage as people don’t come looking for lingerie.
Elodie Loudon, director, Juliet Dunn
It’s been great, super busy. We’ve been doing this show for five years and we always have a good time. It was a little slow to begin with, but people start the day at Premium and work their way around to us at Show & Order.
Jurgen Heerkens, sales, Mila and James
It was very very quiet at the start to the day, but people always start at Premium and work their way around. We’ve only actually had two people on the stand, one Dutch, one German but we are mainly here for the German market. We like the atmosphere of the show here, and we know that tomorrow will be busier.
Natalie Buchberger, Petra Esparza Agency, representing Jumper 1234
We’ve seen lots of clients at Show & Order but the footfall has definitely ebbed and flowed. It’s been almost exclusively buyers from the domestic German market, which is what we expected - we came to see the German and Scandinavian markets. Show & Order is the best fit for our brand. Premium is a little more elevated and Seek is for streetwear brands.