BERLIN — Karl-Heinz Müller is taking his show on the road in 2015, with Bread & Butter scheduled to touch down in Barcelona in January, Berlin in July and Seoul in September.
At the opening-night party in Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport Tuesday night, Müller briefly outlined the urban and streetwear fair’s new agenda. The show will return to the Fira de Barcelona even earlier than usual, from Jan. 8 to Jan. 10. Müller said the exact dates for Bread & Butter’s Berlin edition in July will be revealed later, “but the tendency is towards an earlier one.” As for Seoul, Bread & Butter will make its debut in the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, designed by Zaha Hadid, from Sept. 3 to 5, 2015.
Looking ahead, Müller suggested 2016 could see Bread & Butter landing in Berlin in January, Barcelona in July and Seoul in September.
Rumors concerning Barcelona were rampant on the first day of the fair, fueled by reports in Spanish and French newspapers. The reactions to this latest strategy switch were frequently skeptical, especially among international exhibitors who said they have come to consider Bread & Butter as a German fair at which they can attract buyers from Europe’s most stable economy: Germany.
“As a German fair, does it make sense to go to Barcelona?” asked Nudie Jeans’ sales and marketing director Andreas Åhrman, adding, “They’ve been there before…”
Hidetoshi Yamamoto from Blue Blue Japan, a Japanese indigo and denim brand showing in Berlin for the first time, said he was “not positive about the idea.” He noted he’d prefer to establish a market in northern and central Europe and has less interest in the southern European market.
Patrick Ulbrich, country manager for Germany and Austria for Le Temps de Cerises and Japan Rags, remarked, “For people who go to B&B because of the German retailers, which is the case for most exhibitors, the sense of going to Barcelona is questionable.”
Some of the German exhibitors, however, took a more optimistic view. A chief executive officer of a big German brand, who requested anonymity, said, “B&B has become a little static. Karl-Heinz is known for changes and this may bring a bit of movement into Bread & Butter.”
While it was no secret Müller was working on a South Korean edition of the trade fair, many in the audience were unprepared for the official announcement. Minutes after the announcement, representatives from German shirtmaker Van Laack and bag producer Codello said, “It’s too early to say. This is something that has to be discussed internally.”
Suggesting there could be wider support, Bread & Butter put out a special 48-page “Breaking News” bulletin celebrating the three-season kickoff, which was peppered with ads, including from key names like Hilfiger Denim and Pepe Jeans who are no longer exhibiting at the fair.
Bread & Butter closes its current three-day run in Berlin on Thursday.