LONDON — Footwear players heralded Bread & Butter’s return to Berlin, noting that the fair’s new location, easy-to-shop format and unique brand mix continue to make it a standout on the trade show circuit.
“The new venue, [Tempelhof Airport], was great. The airport had personality and was laid out well,” said Andrew Nathan of 33 Joints, the London-based European distributor for shoe brands including Firetrap and Blowfish. Nathan said he saw buyers from Poland’s Besta Plus, Italy’s Cattellani Calzature and German e-tailer Zalando.de. “The previous show in Barcelona was becoming a bit stale and a change was needed to revive it. There were additional buyers [in Berlin] that perhaps wouldn’t have come if the show had stayed the same.”
Even though it was farther for them to travel, many Spanish vendors also gave the show a thumbs up. “We are pretty happy with Berlin. Bread & Butter has done a fantastic job in Tempelhof Airport,” said Jose Maria de la Peña, El Naturalista’s marketing director. He noted that, as expected, there were fewer Spanish retailers, but on the flip side, he was able to meet with German and Scandinavian buyers he had not seen before. “Even though we have left our own country, we’re very happy with traffic in Berlin.”
Italian shoe label Premiata, which typically shuns trade shows, broke with convention and chose Bread & Butter for the launch of its new men’s sportswear collection, White. “Berlin appeared to be a fascinating town, where the usual overwhelming energy of the city got even stronger as the fair started. There seemed to be a deep thirst for the ‘new,’ and Berlin was the right place to find innovative ideas and products,” said the brand’s creative director, Graziano Mazza, who met with buyers from Le Printemps and Yoox’s online men’s store, The Corner.
For their part, show attendees said they saw an impressive mix of established major players and boutique brands.
“The biggies were there — Adidas, Nike and Reebok — and I also saw some interesting, small sneaker brands from the West Coast, names like Gourmet, Clae and Pointer,” said London-based consultant Richard Wharton.
Wharton added that there were also unique collaborations on the floor, such as the hookup between men’s swimwear brand Vilebrequin and shoe label NDC. Belgium-based NDC confirmed that it plans to show the new styles at both Premiere Classe and Micam in the fall.
Other new launches included Hunter Boot’s Carnaby collection of snakeskin- and ostrich-print rubber boots, inspired by the highly successful Jimmy Choo collaboration.
“Jimmy Choo pre-sold 4,000 boots before they even reached the store,” said Mike Todd, Hunter’s sales director, adding that the collaboration has helped raise Hunter’s profile and paved the way for the new collection, available in black and retailing from $215, with some pre-holiday delivery planned.
Visitors from 100 countries came to Bread & Butter, with more than a third from Germany.
The exhibition’s return to Berlin also helped boost Premium, another trade show in town that ran at the same time. “We are more than satisfied,” said Premium organizer Norbert Tillmann, whose show registered almost 31,700 visitors. “The visitor turnout was very good, and the quality of the buyers, as always, was outstanding.”