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Spring 03

After only two seasons, B&B had rocked the trade show establishment in Germany and beyond.

TITLE BREAD & BUTTER offshow for selected brands

DATE August 1-3, 2002

EXHIBITORS about 160

VISITORS 10,000

 

Its third marketing image was a take-off of the famous photograph of the US Marines raising the Stars and Stripes over Iwo Jima in 1944, but this time it was the B&B banner fluttering proudly over Cologne. In June 2002 the German trade show establishment, in the form of Köln Messe, had confirmed it was cancelling its once-huge suits show Herren-Mode-Woche due to lack of interest to concentrate on its Vibes4U casualwear offer, which now numbered 500-plus brands, but still lacked any street credibility.

B&B remained true to its insider roots, having grown to only 180 brands in the now-famous old factory. It encouraged individuality and the brands responded.

To celebrate its imminent 30th anniversary, Pepe recreated a Portobello Road-like bazaar in a tent. G-Star, however, unable to decide whether to exhibit at Vibes4U or B&B, did neither and entertained buyers on a huge boat on the Rhine.

By the end of August, Karl-Heinz Müller had revealed he was thinking of relocating to Berlin as the Cologne building needed large amounts of money spent on it to comply with safety regulations.

Müller said: “We would like to stay in Cologne because we all live and work there and I have my shop there … Berlin is really keen to have us because of all the visitors and publicity that the show brings.”

David Summers, then sales director of Peter Werth, correctly predicted the future direction, telling Drapers Record: “B&B has taken all the energy out of Vibes4U and has developed a real following. If the show moves to Berlin, that is where people will go.”

Denim in all types of washes and finishes continued to dominate, but some buyers thought cargo pants and military-inspired trousers were going to overtake the blue waves. Vintage Americana influences, such as workwear and 1980s-style graffiti, abounded in US, European and British collections. Heritage sports brands such as Onitsuka Tiger began to plunder their own archives for new collections.

Bread & Butter revolutionised the trade show circuit. The first shows were bizarre, with the initial turnout very low, taxi drivers not knowing where the location was, being dropped off in muddy car parks … I also remember the time they recreated Portobello Road outside the Cologne venue, where not only were they selling clothing and footwear but antiques too. I don’t recall the shoes I bought, but I recall buying two antique lamps that I still have today.

Derrick Hoyle, product manager at footwear chain Sole Trader

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