BERLIN — It’s going to be “the more the merrier” on the German trade show scene this season, as new events and exhibitors join the already extensive lineup, with positive market conditions in Germany adding to the momentum.

This story first appeared in the May 18, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

German retailers are coming off a solid year, with the German Apparel Retailers Association reporting a 3 to 4 percent sales gain in 2010 and the German Retail Federation projecting “robust development in 2011.” Consumer sentiment remains high, despite a slight dampening of economic and income expectations due to global events, according to research firm GfK’s April consumer climate study. “However, the propensity to buy has maintained its good level,” GfK said.

Germany is coming into sharper focus for nondomestic brands eager to get a piece of the action in the European Community’s largest market. Many German manufacturers have finished their most successful years ever, supported by expanding international sales, while the country’s retailers, known for sticking to the tried-and-true, are exhibiting heightened interest in emerging brands.

The hub remains Berlin, which drew about 90,000 trade visitors in January. The spring 2012 season starts July 3 with intimates show, which is adding runway shows to its stands.

However, it’s streetwear and contemporary fashion that’s put Berlin on the trade show map, with Bread & Butter, Premium and the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin runway shows the established triumvirate. B&B chief Karl-Heinz Müller said the show is booked to capacity, with many new names on the fair’s 600-exhibitor roster.

As B&B prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary this July, Müller wants to open the doors to nonprofessionals.

“I think B&B should be more connected with Berlin, and I’d like to have about 5,000 to 6,000 people from outside the industry join in our after-hours get-togethers and parties,” he said. “It’s about touching the style of Berlin, plus it’s a touch of B-to-C business.”

To give trade visitors a better time in Berlin, he’s also trying to convince fellow retailers in the Hackescher Market area, where his store 14 oz. is located, to stay open until midnight during B&B’s run, July 6 to 8.

Premium was also booked earlier than ever and is packed with about 1,000 brands — though a new space might come soon, depending on permission from the city. The new Atelier area that opened last season has a celebrated new tenant: Armani Jeans. The more offbeat Seek section, with brands like Libertine-Libertine, Surface to Air and Opening Ceremony, is “exploding,” said show co-founder and co-director Anita Tillmann, noting Premium Men is growing and getting more progressive in its mix.

Fresh to the German capital is Capsule, the contemporary fashion platform that hosts shows in New York, Las Vegas and Paris. Capsule expects to present about 70 collections at its debut in the former German mint, including Naked & Famous Denim, SLVDR, Won Hundred and Wood Wood. Capsule is coming to Berlin at the urging of many of the show’s exhibitors, who want to target the German market, explained co-director Edina Sultanik.

The avant-garde Projekt Galerie Showroom will occupy new quarters in the side wing of the Mint, while it’s back to the old Stasi headquarters for Bright, which features streetwear and skateboarding.

Greenshowroom returns to the Hotel Adlon for its salon show of green goods, but now under the direction of Messe Frankfurt. Currently being restructured and in negotiations with new backers, hopes to open at a new venue in July at the Kindl Brewery near Bread & Butter. The fifth edition of Lavera Showfloor, with 12 green runway shows, moves to the landmark Kosmos cinema.

In Düsseldorf, CPD Signatures is polishing its new format, again expecting about 450 exhibitors. Eastern European buyers are a key audience for CPD.

The mainly “writing events” Supreme by and Premium Order Düsseldorf both run July 23 to 26, though Premium’s Tillmann noted Munich is “getting especially important for us. We’ll have 350 to 400 exhibitors there, and are opening a separate accessories tent.”

Also in Munich in mid-August: Supreme by, In Fashion Munich, Premium Order Munich and MunichFashion.WoMen.

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