Retailers Mixed on Bread & Butter Trends

BERLIN — Buyers attending last week’s Bread & Butter show here were seeking innovative looks, but they were mixed on the fall ’14 offerings at the show.

“Not a lot has changed,” said Dorothea Noack, who runs Sathea, a small menswear store in Berlin. The buyer said there was a lot of sameness, especially among moderate offerings. “There’s too much middle-level product. That section of the market doesn’t work so well anymore,” she said.

Instead, Noack was on the hunt for smaller, higher-end brands to differentiate her mix. “The other stores around me have big brands, but I am looking for something a little fancier,” she said. “When styles are cool and special and have good materials, you can sell them, no problem.”

“I think everyone wants something different, don’t they?” added Lonyo Engele-Ifale, a buyer from the British online retailer Wehustle.co.uk.

The retailer predicted that shine and glitter will return to the market soon. “Maybe the clothing is a bit more toned-down, but the trainers are more sparkly,” he said. “In early 2000 and 2001, glitter was big and it’s coming back, especially on track sneakers for women.” His partner, Richard Botchway, added that “boots, especially the old vintage-looking boots, are very popular.”

Fola Osu, a Munich-based retailer, reported that the shoe business at his store, Black Trading Co., has been strong, but that it is difficult for niche brands to break in.

“Germany is very, very brand-driven, meaning that openings for new brands or small brands are almost non-existent,” Osu said. “Everything is Nike, Asics, Vans. They run the market at the moment. New Balance had a hit last season, but they’re not there anymore.”

Elsewhere on the trend front, Chelsea boots and wedge heels were popular at the event. For example, Lacoste showed a Chelsea boot with a wedge heel. And for the first time, Clarks touted a women’s Desert boot with a wedge heel.

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