BERLIN — Despite announcements this week by Bread & Butter founder and chief executive Karl-Heinz Müller that the trade show will definitely take place in Berlin in January, reports from several sources confirming the fair’s cancellation have circulated today.
The rumor mill is spinning. Neither Müller nor anyone at Bread & Butter headquarters could be reached for comment, but a Berlin-based agency told WWD that several clients that had planned to exhibit at the show got cancellation notifications today. Other brands stated that they did not have any information whether the show is going to happen. An exhibitor from last July said “there are mixed rumors and nobody really knows what is going on, I doubt even Karl-Heinz has come to a decision at the moment. We are waiting for a clear signal from Bread & Butter and will go on from there.”
As recently as Wednesday, Müller’s official line had been that the show would run, as planned, from Jan. 19 to 21 at Tempelhof, but that it would be much smaller, with about 200 brands now be housed in just one hall compared to five halls last July.
With the clues solidifying that Bread & Butter will not take place, Panorama, the more mass-market fair today said it will offer about 43,000 square feet of additional exhibition space for a newly created area called Urban Up. Forty brands including Dreimaster, Hummel, Lindbergh and Hummel will participate.
“The request of new exhibitors for new space urged us to react. These collections are important for the market and for Berlin as a fashion site – we are happy to have found a solution,” said Jörg Wiedmann, Panorama’s chief executive officer.
He also said further expansion and the creation of new areas for denim, urban wear and progressive men’s wear are also possible next season.
Indeed, there seems to be a game of musical chairs going on at the moment, with brands shifting from one Berlin platform to another, or actively seeking new options. The progressive fashion fairs Premium and Seek are also expanding this season, with about 55,000 square feet of new exhibition space on offer.
Founder and chief executive Anita Tillmann told WWD both shows are “doing amazing” but said of the recent reports, “This doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Bread & Butter. A trade show mirrors the market, and the [denim and urban wear] segment of the market Bread & Butter addresses is going through big changes. It’s understandable that he (Karl-Heinz Müller) doesn’t have an answer for the market’s problems in the short time period dictated by the fair rhythm.
“He’s a very creative person and possibly has other ideas he’s working on,” she continued. “I have a lot of respect for what he’s done. He celebrated the entertainment fashion connection more than anyone else in the last ten years, but times change. And concepts change.”
Tillmann confirmed that there’s been an overall drop in the last three years of big jeans brands exhibiting anywhere in Berlin. “The whole denim thing is sort of receding. There are life cycles, and it’s been exactly 10 years for jeans,” she pointed out. She noted there’s a new focus on product versus total collection brands, with only the strongest total collection brands, be it designer or lifestyle, now relevant. “Everything else is going into product groups. That goes for Seek too. You’ll be surprised at what Seek will be showing,” she said.