The UK’s Brexit vote and the fashion industry’s ongoing struggle with seasonality dominated the spring 17 German trade shows
The UK’s decision to leave the European Union cast a cloud over the sunny spring 17 trade shows in Berlin last month, which ran from June 28 to 30, a few days after the historic vote. As visitors wandered the halls of Germany’s biggest shows, Panorama, Premium, Seek and Bright, the question of what impact Brexit will have on the fashion industry was on everyone’s lips.
For many, the primary concern in the short term is the weakness of sterling and the effect on pricing. Worryingly, although negotiations over the terms of a Brexit may be some way off, some brands are already reviewing their strategies: one told Drapers it had raised its prices while exhibiting in Berlin, and another mentioned a possible head office relocation. Others were more stoical, refusing to panic and hoping the situation would settle down.
As has become the norm, domestic buyers dominated the Berlin shows. However, there were international retailers in attendance, including from France, Italy, Greece and Scandinavia. The British contingent was thin on the ground, which many attributed to the strength of the trade shows in London, including Pure, Scoop and Jacket Required, as well as tight budgets. But it must also be said that Berlin has not been the same since the demise of Bread & Butter in January 2015.
Panorama got off to a busy start, but there was a more muted mood on some of the quiet stands at Seek. On the afternoon of day two the halls of a lacklustre Bright were virtually empty. Premium, meanwhile, met with mixed reviews: those in the central halls were happier with the consistency of the footfall. Overall there was a strong mix of established and emerging brands on show, but these did not seem to draw the crowds of buyers that Berlin once did.
For this season’s report from Berlin, we bring you our picks of the product launches and fashion news, as well as a round-up some of the views on Brexit. We also ask the big question that has been vexing the industry: are seasons still relevant?
For Drapers pick of the best brands and new product, click here.
To read about how trade show visitors reacted to Brexit, click here.
To see if brands and buyers think seasons are still relevant, click here.
To recap on our daily reports from the Berlin shows, click here.