The relocation to the amazing Tempelhof airport in south-central Berlin was a triumph.
TITLE Berlin, Berlin, Bread & Butter Berlin
SLOGAN Bread & Butter is coming home!
DATES July 1-3, 2009
The huge arc-shaped building, some 1.2km or three-quarters of a mile long, allowed the show to be divided into eight re-edited genre-led areas: Sport & Street; Street Fashion; Fashion Now; Style Society; Denim Base; Urban Superior Women; Urban Superior Men and LOCK (Labels of Common Kin). The denim area was the keystone to the arch, while the rest were sited in the former hangar spaces to the right and left.
In the run-up to the move, the organisers had taken a harder line with exhibitors - there were 200-plus fewer, exhibiting costs had risen 10% to 15% and payment terms were tightened. “We need strong exhibitors for our buyers. It is not interesting for them to have brands that deliver late, or who are unprofessional. The strong companies will survive,” said Karl-Heinz Müller.
French Connection, Henleys and Gio-Goi were among the leading UK brands that decided not to participate directly at this particular edition, with some holding offshoot parties instead.
Exhibitors were pleased with the turnout, which although lower than at Barcelona comprised more serious-minded buyers. Predictably there were fewer southern Europeans, but the greater number of Germans and northern Europeans more than made up for this.
The huge size and unusual layout of the show made navigation tricky and much energy and shoe leather was expended as buyers trekked from one end of Tempelhof - reportedly once among the 20 largest buildings in the world - to the other. Subsequent visits would have to be better planned, visitors realised.
The new venue gave a fillip to the sector and this was matched by the trends, which began to offer some new direction after several seasons of stagnation. Denim went for treated surfaces and lots of details. Motorcycle jeans had ridged knee inserts, engineered details, zips and a slim line. Chambray shirts, fitted blazers, nautical influences, harem pants and pop graphics on tees all looked fresh. Yet again B&B delivered the goods.
I was invited to take part in the miniscule niche first B&B show when I was working at 6876. We decided not to take part, but went to check it out. Last season I was helping Dr Martens to develop its international business in the LOCK area. So I’ve seen the breadth and girth of the show from small beginning to current behemoth. It’s been amazing to see something grow so vast from a humble beginning.