Berlin : Fashion fans make millions for the city

International tradefairs play an important part in Berlin’s economy. And it isn’t only the tourism industry that profits.

The creative economy including the fashion sector is one of the most important future markets in Berlin’s economy. That’s why the economic development agency Berlin Partner and the tourism agency Visit Berlin were significantly involved in Bread & Butter’s return two years ago. Around 200,000 visitors from Germany and abroad came to last summer’s fashion week. Bread & Butter alone sold more than 90,000 tickets. The senator of commerce Harald Wolf (from the leftwing party Die Linke) estimates that Berlin gains „around 140 to 180 million Euros in additional economic power“. That money is mainly distributed among hotels and restaurants, cab companies, the retail market and service providers. With it the fashion scene sets a standard that compares „with other high-profile events“: The Berlinale film festival has a turnover of 30 million Euros per year.

Berlin has „rolled out the red carpet for fashion“ and has „established itself as an international city of fashion next to London, Milan and Paris“ over the last three to four years – ahead of all other German cities. That’s how René Gurka, the chief executive of Berlin Partner, sums it up. The hotel industry is very satisfied too: „Fashion week is an important economic factor especially in the four- and five-star sector“, says Thomas Lengfelder. The „international publicity for the city“ shouldn’t be underestimated. It attracts industry experts as well as many other visitors. During the Bread & Butter event hotels are as good as fully booked. Only eight rooms were available at Hotel Steigenberger on Los-Angeles-Platz in Charlottenburg at the end of last week before the tradefair's opening on Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday all of the 400 or so rooms will be taken.

The luxury hotel Marriot on Potsdamer Platz also reported that it was almost fully booked. At Hotel Palace on Budapester Straße there were only five rooms left for one of the tradefair days and the Adlon on Pariser Platz shows its bookings as being between 95 and 104 percent over the three days – the luxury hotel is actually overbooked and hopes that not all reservations will be taken up. Berlin’s biggest hotel, the Estrel in Neukölln, reported 800 overnight stays – among them lots of exhibitors and booth builders. They had to resort to the four-star hotel on Sonnenallee, because they couldn’t find accommodation in the entre, said the hotel’s spokesperson Miranda Meier.

The sales statistics for the retail market don’t exist, but those „shops with brand affiliation“ wouldn’t miss „the opportunity to show high-value products, while in other places sales are being advertised from Monday onwards“, says Nils Busch-Petersen, managing director of the Berlin-Brandenburg trade association. Events are being planned for example by the Diesel Store in Neue Schönhauser Allee, Adidas and Converse in Münzstraße, Quartier 206 in Friedrichstraße and many other small trendy shops especially along Torstraße in Mitte. With the theme „The Early Bird Catches the Fashion Worm“ KaDeWe is showing the summer collections of Pepe Jeans, Fornarina, 7 for all Mankind and Diesel in its foyer and window displays until the end of February. During the fashion tradefair there is always a „significant growth“ in international customers which Petra Fladenhofer, the department store’s spokesperson, is pleased about. Club culture is also shaped by the fashion world. But only invited guests have access to the parties at Hafenbar or Weekend Club. There are public events like „Fashion Rock Night 2011“ in the Kesselhaus of Prenzlauer Berg’s Kulturbrauerei and „Jack Off Night“ at Cookie in Mitte. And because not all the visitors like to travel by public transport to the event's locations, fashion week is „like Christmas and Easter in one day“ for the cab association. In fact, Berlin’s 7,000 cabs aren't enough to transport all the visitors to their destinations.

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