Streetwear : Jeans are big in Berlin

Experts agree: The world capital of jeans and streetwear is here, in Berlin. And it has the perfect fair for it.

Dandies and divas swaggered around, and gangsters and gigolos, they crowded around gambling tables and in dim corners, everywhere cigarette smoke rose up into the air, champaign was served, and in the middle was a boxing ring. Welcome to the 1920s! Bread & Butter is back and again it opened with an exeptional party. The first people to climb into the ring were Klaus Wowereit and the tradefair’s CEO Karl-Heinz Müller. Later, there was a real prize fight.

In his speech, Wowereit recalled the many struggles that were necessary before Bread & Butter could land at Tempelhof. Now the world’s most important tradefair for jeans and streetwear is setting itself up again in the historic halls of the former Tempelhof airport for the fourth time.

Bread & Butter is back. The most important tradefair in the world for jeans and streetwear sets itself up again for the fourth time in the historic halls of the former Tempelhof airport. The biggest brands in the business will show their autumn/winter 2011/12 collections to buyers and journalists until Friday. The organisers have sent out a total of 90,000 tickets to select industry experts from all over the world to enjoy the presentation of new products from 600 exhibitors.

But what’s Bread & Butter all about? It’s not just about exclusive designer brands, but about the labels that shape a relaxed day-to-day style, a style which Berlin stands for in the world of fashion. Industry experts see the city as a mecca for people who like to wear jeans, and not just the man or woman in the street, but also the real denim aficionados who are always on the look-out for the latest, perfectly tailored collectables from Japan. So it makes absolute sense that the most important tradefair for jeans takes place here.

With its carefully compiled portfolio of exhibitors, Bread & Butter will meet all the expectations for the jeans fashion sector as well as showing brands that offer sportswear, leisure wear and classic cuts. You can go to Bread & Butter and choose a complete, individual look created from the latest jeans, cool streetwear and iconic fashion items which perfectly represent the pick-and-mix attitude that has made Berlin’s trend-setting areas internationally famous.

Most of the major denim and leisure wear brands such as Diesel, Levi’s, Adidas Originals and Calvin Klein Jeans will be there. The heart of the tradefair is traditionally shaped by these heavyweight labels.

The range will be complemented by smaller, more exclusive brands that put a high value on quality and craftsmanship, such as Denham the Jeanmaker and AG Adriano Goldschmied, which are a real hit with denim lovers prepared to spend a little bit more. And there are also companies such as the shoemaker Redwings, the British dufflecoat specialist Gloverall and Amor Lux, the label behind the blue and white striped Breton fisherman's shirt, which take pride in not following every fashion trend but offer real classics.

At Bread & Butter you see everything that appears a few months later in the trendy shops around Hackescher Markt. It makes sense that Karl-Heinz Müller runs his own shop 14oz. there.

But Bread & Butter wasn’t born in Berlin. It was founded in Cologne in 2001 by Karl-Heinz Müller. Nobody would have predicted that it would be as big and as important as it is now. The tradefair started off as an „offshow for selected brands“ that had to find its niche in the shadow of the Interjeans tradefair which dominated the scene back then.

That was when Bread & Butter began its victorious journey and nobody talks about Interjeans anymore. But it didn’t stay in Cologne. Müller moved his tradefair to Berlin after three seasons and made its debut in the capital in January 2003. Even back then it was located at a very special place: the listed former Siemens cable factory in Spandau. Big international brands have been showing at the tradefair right from the start and are still part of it today. A fashion show this big was a novelty for Berlin, especially when Berlin’s fashion week didn’t even exist yet. Based on its success the organisers decided to move their headquarters to Berlin.

The tradefair grew rapidly in the following season – 42,000 visitors made the rather long and complicated trip to Spandau and it was pushed to the limit of its capacity. The management had to think of an alternative. The result was that from summer 2005 there were two Bread & Butter events, one in Barcelona and one in Berlin.

But the idea of having locations in both northern and southern Europe didn't add up. While the Catalan event flourished and reached a peak of over 50,000 visitors, the interest in the Berlin show died away to such an extent that the organisers decided to concentrate solely on Barcelona at the beginning of 2007’s summer season. Bread & Butter celebrated a number of very successful shows there and ultimately established itself as the leading international tradefair in the business.

But Karl-Heinz Müller came back to Berlin. He said the decision was because of the „demands of the market“ – but he has always been connected to Berlin not just as his place of residence, but where he does business as well. During the Barcelona years the company’s headquarters stayed in Berlin.

Besides the economic reasons – and the growing appeal of Berlin – there was another quite spectacular reason for his return home: the possibility of using the huge, empty halls of the recently closed Tempelhof airport. It was a fitting frame for a tradefair where not only numbers count but where the emotional experience also matters.

The Berlin Senate wanted to find an appropriate use for the building and the tradefair met its criteria, so both parties would benefit from the arrangement. The agreement with Bread & Butter led to new equipment in the halls and an infrastructure that meant that it could also be used for other events.

The tradefair worked with with many local companies during this process. The best example is the collaboration with the renowned modular furniture company System 180. They designed a functional as well as aesthetically pleasing temporary wall construction to enclose the space beneath the porch roof during winter events.

Berlin has won the hosting of an event which has an excellent reputation within the industry and which attracts fashion experts from all over the world. They spend a lot of money here, but what is invaluable is that they take an image of Berlin as a progressive fashion metropolis with its very own character back home with them.

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