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London shows challenge Berlin for UK brands and buyers

Berlin trade shows are facing growing competition from London in the battle to attract UK brands and buyers.

Many of the UK brands heading to Berlin next week told Drapers they increasingly feel there are more relevant buyers and exhibitor adjacencies at shows closer to home, such as Jacket Required and Pure London.

Berlin shows Bread & Butter, Panorama and Show & Order will run from July 7-9, overlapping with Seek and Bright on July 8-10.

Women’s young fashion brand Glamorous is showing at Panorama, which has grown by 6,000 sq ft for this season. Sales executive Sharon Fraser said: “UK shows, especially Pure for us, are proving more and more popular for international buyers and that means brands based here don’t have the cost of showing overseas.”

Rohina Kumar, creative director of Manchester-based clothing supplier Whispering Smith and founder of its new subsidiary Butt Naked Brands, will launch premium men’s sportswear brand N1SQ for spring 16 at Seek.

“At Bright people have proper stands whereas at Seek the smaller and new brands have rails so it’s a more of a level playing field, which appealed to us,” she explained.

“However, we’re also doing Jacket Required in London because over the years the quality of the buyers there, from both UK and internationally, has gone up massively.”

B&B, which was recently acquired by etailer Zalando, is returning to its old Tempelhof Airport location this season after holding a much-reduced show at its offices in the German capital for the autumn 15 edition.

James Hall, sales manager for British outerwear specialist Gloverall, said: “We used to do B&B but pulled out about 18 months ago because there were fewer buyers every season. Brands similar to us also started to pull out and we didn’t want to be the only ones left because people after our look wouldn’t come.

“We considered the other [Berlin] shows but we know we see more of the right buyers at things like Jacket Required.”

Andy Tompsett, head of UK sales for mod-inspired menswear brand Merc Clothing, which pulled out of showing at B&B a few seasons ago, said: “The Berlin shows need a bit of continuity, because of recent changes these days it’s hard for buyers to know which brands are going to be where.

“I’m going to wait until there’s a bit more of a clear structure and then look at going back.”

Jacked Required takes place on July 29-30 and Pure London on August 2-4.

@LukeToddUK

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