Exhibitors were in good spirits as the sun shone on day two of the spring 17 Berlin trade shows, despite sluggish footfall at Seek and Bright.
The aisles of both Seek and Bright were quiet today as visitors made a beeline for the beach club area between the two shows, which are running side-by-side at Arena from June 28-30. Outside, food, drink, music and sunshine awaited, and Drapers could understand the reluctance to duck back into the hot halls. However, there was the odd bustling stand inside and many brands said they were having a good show.
Seek was the busier of the two, as German and other European retailers circulated. British buyers were few and far between, although Asos TK Maxx and Urban Outfitters were among those to make an appearance. Brands told a similar story to those showing at Panorama – that Berlin simply hasn’t been the same since Bread & Butter was at its height a few years ago. The feeling is that Florentine trade show Pitti Uomo has stolen Berlin’s mantel when it comes to attracting a good mix of international buyers, while many reported that Paris remains a key international destination for buyers.
However, British brands argued that the Berlin shows are still important – not just because they attract key German accounts, but also because it is a creative city, which provides inspiration and good networking opportunities.
At an almost empty Bright in the afternoon, the only people to be seen were gathered around to watch skateboarders attempt tricky jumps in one corner. One exhibitor said: “The main German accounts do come but I don’t think it’s the best show anymore. I think it’s because not enough people care about skate clothing anymore and streetwear market has tanked. I guess all shows go in cycles.”
Brexit continued to dominate discussions across the shows. One sales manager told Drapers his brand was considering relocating its offices from the UK to Amsterdam, following the vote to leave the European Union. There was a sense of fear and uncertainty, particularly about the impact of the currency fluctuations on pricing and cash flow.
However, others were more stoic, pointing out that the exchange rate would settle back down and taking the good-natured mockery over Brexit and England’s departure from the Euros 2016 on the chin.
The Berlin trade shows continue tomorrow (June 30). Keep an eye on drapersonline.com for more coverage.
How is Seek so far?
Jan Goddard, sales manager, Native Youth
We had a really good first day and today’s show has been great. It’s all about the product here at Seek – it’s not like Bread & Butter, where it was all about the mega-stand. There is still a purity to shows like Seek and Jacket Required.
Still, it’s not like it was six years ago: Berlin used to attract lots of UK buyers, but it has changed and most now go to shows like Jacket or Pure.
Ben Birkl, marketing director, Alpha Industries
Most of the brands here are at Jacket Required, so UK buyers don’t come to Berlin as much. But they should – Berlin influences style, you have to be here. It’s so creative here, the vibe is great. And Seek is at a nice venue close to the river, with a beach club. We did some business yesterday in the club, there’s a relaxed atmosphere.
Yves Oliver Wilke, co-founder, Brosbi
I think a lot of buyers we would expect to see here at Seek are still finishing up in Paris, or haven’t come to Berlin because of how close the dates were this year, which is a shame. Even some key German accounts aren’t here yet. It’s been ok so far, but less international buyers are here.
Jacob Kampp Berliner, CEO, Soulland
Day one was quiet and it was a slow start on day two. It’s still been good but it feels a lot less international now. People do still travel here, but not as much as they used to. The UK buyers don’t come now, we don’t expect to see any. German buyers make up the majority, but even they just come to say hi, preferring to place their orders in the show room.
Sunny Aytan, owner, Criminal Damage
We had a decent first day at Seek with a flow through the day but it has been a little slower this season. We have about 120 German accounts, but those that come here are just coming to say hello and then do the buying in the showroom.
We’ve had a few Italians and Greeks but it’s a very domestic show now when once upon a time Berlin was so international. I think the only international destination now is Paris. This is the best German show though and has pulled in all the biggest and best German accounts.
Peter Royston, sales manager, Iron & Resin
Seek is good marketing showcase for us; it feels like a mobile office. Yesterday was busier than today though and overall it feels a bit tired. We haven’t written an order at a show in years so that’s no surprise. And I also think only has to be two days, not three.
How is Bright so far?
Patrick Hill, creative director, The Hundreds:
I don’t think you get as much of an international crowd here as you used to. It’s mainly Germans. Trade shows are becoming obsolete anyway because fewer people are travelling – they do B2B business online or they want us to come and see them. We’re doing Bright for the marketing.
Paul Buckland, UK manager, Volcom:
Bright has matured a bit, it used to be quite ghetto. The venue is good, being next to Seek is great for the buyers. Footfall seems to be down but we’re still seeing the right people. It’s the first time we have shown here for a few years and I think it’s been successful from a UK perspective. Having said that, there are not as any British buyers in Berlin as there used to be. Since the days of Bread & Butter it’s gone quieter. Buyers used to come for three days, now they’re trying to cram it all into a shorter time. Budgets are tight.
Neil Round, sales at UK68 Agencies
Bright has been good. We’ve not seen any UK buyers but we’re here for the Germans. It’s not how it used to be here but we still come to represent our brands. I think a lot of it might be down to costs, buyers can’t afford all the travel. And there are too many trade shows, so no one knows where to go. In terms of the UK buyers, they can get everything done at Jacket Required too.
Florian Schon, sales agent, Road Map 1
Today there is a better mix of customers. They are making better decisions, and having better discussions with us about our brands.
Joao Leal, distributor, Hype
Bright seems to get slower and slower every year. Twelve years ago we were writing many orders at shows. Now, it’s more about networking more than anything else.