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Spring 04

The inaugural Berlin event dealt a knockout blow to other international competitors.

TITLE BREAD & BUTTER BERLIN tradeshow for urbanwear and street couture

SLOGAN “berlinlove”

DATE July 18-20, 2003




For its first summer edition, therefore, B&B went peaceful, adopting a white dove as its emblem. It provided a Luna Park funfair to entertain the increasing number of visitors, who learned just how hot a central European summer could be. A campsite merely added to the feeling that this was a festival rather than a trade show. More brands - still subject to a rigorous selection process - were added and the visitors went up by 25% on the previous season.

The attractions of the previously largely unknown Berlin were explained to Drapers’ readers in a preview several weeks before the event. We identified the former east Berlin as the new capital of cool and buyers had to learn how to pronounce Neue Schönhauser Strasse, Rosenthaler Strasse, Oranienburger Strasse and the rest as they found new venues for comparative shopping.

Drapers’ cover line “Berlin Rocks” captured the mood perfectly and the magazine pointed out that often the most innovative labels there were British. Despite the hype around B&B, and the fact that the organisers had sent out a clever promotional CD to target retailers, there was a surprisingly small turnout of UK buyers - although a British Airways strike had not helped. Thanks to the transport chaos, some visitors, including the Drapers squad, found themselves in Berlin for an extra day, which was no hardship.

Names to note in the aisles included Buddhist Punk, Edwin, Blue Guru, Retro Fame, Umbro by Kim Jones, Da-Nang, Religion, Punk Royal, Etienne Ozeki, URU, Burn ‘n’ Violet and Fake Genius. The strongest looks among the near-300 exhibitors were: 1980s sportswear; updated and reworked denim; a do-it-yourself approach to customising basics such as hoodies and jersey dresses with appliqué, overprinting and embroidery; punky gothic; the inevitable military vibe (which was somewhat ironic given the show’s “berlinlove” slogan); and the ubiquitous polo shirt stormed back.

Many visitors noted that the entire event had a hugely positive air. “This is a show that’s got soul,” observed first-timer Dave Lomax of southeast menswear independent Bagga in his Drapers column. “I spoke to dozens of exhibitors and buyers and not once did I hear a negative comment about our industry.”

I always like the added touches and attention to detail at B&B. There is always a grand gesture and something fun, whether it’s art installations or someone in a bear costume jumping out in front of the hungover trade first thing in the morning.

Tim Phipps, footwear sales manager at lifestyle brand Fred Perry

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