Flip, a new fashion trade show opening this summer in the UK.

The effects of the economy have taken a particularly hard toll for European fashion trade shows and brands, but at the same time, with such challenges, redefined new markets and opportunities have risen that may not have been available before.

First, Flip, a new trade show for action sports, urban, and streetwear, created by Moda, is tapping into the growing industry of streetwear and sportswear crossover launching August 12-14, 2012 at the NEC Birmingham, UK. The show will not only feature top brands in streetwear from a UK point-of-view, (i.e. Animal, Gumbies, and Amazonas) but live demos such as Blake Samson, dirt bike jumper, and trials legend Martyn Ashton.

The show, similar to Bright along side Bread & Butter in Berlin, will take place alongside Moda, which is the UK’s largest fashion trade show attracting over 12,000 visitors a season.

“The introduction of FLIP gives us a perfect platform to showcase our brand in the right environment remaining true to our brand values and strong action sports heritage,” said Animal’s Head of Marketing, Joel Pickering. “Moda’s timing and location are perfect for the industry and the addition of FLIP will complement the show for both new and existing customers. With very few other relevant UK trade shows in the calendar for action sports lifestyle brands at present, we see FLIP as the perfect opportunity.”

Bread and Butter Berlin remains a strong focus for trade shows in Europe this year.

Bench Bows-Out of Bread & Butter

Meanwhile, urban streetwear brand Bench is bowing out of Bread & Butter Berlin, themed The Rock from July 4-6, 2012, due to what many brands in Europe and the United States are dealing with based on changes in the economy and quantifying spending such large budgets on a one-off trade show.

Bench, which is also re-focusing on music as a new, broader lifestyle platform for the brand, has had to content with growing competition from online sales, rise in new verticals, and changes in consumer spending when it comes to fashion. These problems are quite true of many fashion and footwear labels across the board.

According to Sportswear International, Bench said the answer lays within improved services and customer-focused trade marketing funded by a budget that increases by staying away from trade shows such as B&B.

“For us, this development is an important part of our general future, especially the order planning,” said Isabelle Opitz-Ferzandi, Head of Bench Sales, Product and Marketing. The brand wants to avoid over-distribution and instead foster existing partnerships and potentials, which is why customer acquisition is no longer an argument for attending trade shows.“

Bench goes on to say that the Berlin fashion fair has changed and that the show’s focus is more on image and brand than on products.

“We want to stake our investments so that they benefit our customers,” said CEO Hanjo Argendorf, who together with Americana decided to skip Berlin this summer. “It was a difficult decision, especially since Bench was a B&B exhibitor almost right from the start, but we cannot allocate our budgets twice – particularly not after these past tough months.” Marketing Manager Norbert Loew added, “This year, we focus on comprehensive activities for retail and customers, for example at the Melt Festival, where we can employ synergy and push combined events to the max.”


Another show to be held at a Berlin airport, called Panorama has been cancelled this summer mainly because the Berlin ExpoCenter Airport delayed their opening, which was where Panorama was scheduled to be held.

According to Jörg Wichmann, CEO of PANORAMA Berlin, “The news of the delayed opening of the new airport came as a complete surprise to us, too, and compelled us to immediately discuss the resulting new challenges with our exhibitors in order to find possible alternatives. A careful review of all options convinced us that a successful premiere of PANORAMA Berlin at the Berlin ExpoCenter Airport in July 2012 would not be viable due to the massive logistical problems emerging from the delayed opening of the new airport. Under the given time constraint, the proper execution of the PANORAMA Berlin concept at an alternate location is likewise not feasible, both due to construction requirements as well as the insufficient availability of exhibition spaces.

After consulting with exhibitors, and with their cooperating partner Messe Berlin, Panorama has decided to host the PANORAMA Berlin fashion show in January during Fashion Week Berlin 2013 and, as planned, at the Berlin ExpoCenter Airport.

Overall, it will be interesting to see how the fashion trade show season fares across Europe. All eyes still remain on Bread& Butter in Berlin in July, but with more brands changing focus and re-positioning, the idea of spending a great deal of money on a trade show has started to re-shape financial decisions and marketing strategies. In the meantime, brands utilizing direct-to-consumer online retail opportunities, connections with broader platforms such as music events and festivals, and utilizing lifestyle trends, are playing into how brands are shaping their future.

For more information about Youth Culture Changes in Spending and Shopping Habits, consult our Spring Youth Culture Study 2012.