Bread & Butter Bacrlona is one of our favorite trade shows not only for the ecelectic mix of street, urban, and contemporary brands that showcase at the Fira de Barcelona palace each January and July, but also for the cool themes in each area, the graphics, excellent music, eateries, and event-like atmophere. Unlike any other trade show we’ve been to (and we’ve been to scores of them in the past 10 years), Bread & Butter sets the standard by which other shows try to measure up.
Taking place at the Fira de Barcelona in downtown Barcelona on January 21-23, 2009, the show features 4 main areas including Denim Base, Fashion Now!, Sport & Street, and Urban Superior. This week, Bread & Butter revealed their new graphics and themes and descriptions for each section which give you an idea of what to expect as they continue to set trends in the world of fashion trade shows.
This is one of the most popular sections of B&B because the founders, including show director Karl-Heinz Muller, come from a strong denim background and know how to attract the most progressive brands in the world of indigo. The top itnernational brands in denim can be found here, such as Edwin, Mavi, G-star, Firetrap, Kuyichi, Levi’s, Pepe Jeans, G-Star, and many others. The area features also many up-and-coming strong niche denim brands, particularly from Italy and Japan, and a cool atmophere that’s like a warehouse in white, with moody blue cafes and bars to chill-out in. Wide open hallways on cement floors provide an industrial feel like a denim loft. While last year the area’s theme and graphic was a giant rhinoceros, this year the graphic is a pumping heart, which again indicates the vibrancy and centeral meaning of the show itself. Interestingly, while the premium denim marketplace has taken a hit in the last year especially, you’ll still probably find the top denim in the world here, mixed with more modest styles, and of course the latest trends in stiching, washes, silhouettes, and dyes for the coming season from the denim industry.
More of a contemporary section, ths is where you’ll find more traditionally designed womenswear, menswear, and up-and-coming designers from various design schools. It’s usually bright and flashy featuring brands such as Ichi, Gaudi, Tarina Tarantino, and others. We’ve seen brands like Sound Girl and Gentle Fawn here also, so it’s definitely an area to check-out. But while this area is popular, it’s not a favorite of Label Networks and TheLabelLab simply because you can find many of these styles at other types of fashion trade shows: think the North Hall of Magic but with a European flare. Interestingly, this year’s graphic for the area is a multicolored pill bottle to get “infected” with the spirit of the bright colored fabrics, patterns, and styles. It will probably be rave-esque in terms of brands and overall theme components in terms of the colors of the halls, cafes, and other areas.
Sport & Street
It used to be that the South Hall of MAGIC was the place to be if you were in the subculture of streetwear, but now, it’s all the rage to be in this area at Bread & Butter, especially if you’re trying to break into the European marketplace, and as an extension, Eastern Europe and Russia. Last time we were here, it was quite surprising how many Eastern European and Russian brands were exhibiting and buyers from these areas were cruising the halls. This also corresponds with the growing trends of influence of American action sports-inspired styles crossing over into these areas. Located in a spherical cone-like building, Sports & Street is massive and covers 5 floors. Brands such as Rocksmith, Nikita Clothing, Nixon, Vans, Adidas Originals, Airwalk, Upper Playground, Kongol, and many footwear brands, especially skate-inspired sneaks are found here. It’s a great mix of action sports-inspired brands and it often has the best corresponding graffiti and street art exhibitions as well. The music in this area is also usually excellent and quite authentic. Expect b-boy and b-girl troupes cruising the halls in this area, breaking out into dance numbers. It’s not surprising to find a top DJ spinning in a discreet corner in Sport & Street. Overall, one of our favorite areas for Label Networks since we cover trends in youth culture and many of the brands here are a part of that scene. In terms of graphcis this year, Bread & Butter is featuring a black and white interconnected lettering campaign that looks like an old-school neon sign.
This is a modern area of upscale street fashion, or as they describe it in Europe, upper urbanwear. Not to be confused with the American version which takes on a different meaning of urbanwear, this section at B&B houses a mix of denim brands like Nudie Jeans, as well as top, design-ready collections, and the edgier side of classics that have been coming back into vogue now for a few years such as Fred Perry. You can also find Creative Recreation here, A&G, Evisu, and others on the leading-edge, somewhat pricey brands. This section also has an excellent international sensibility with top designers, buyers, and hipsters from Tokyo, Paris, London, New York, and LA cruising the halls. It’s quite glamorous in this area but from a street sensibility so be prepared by wearing your best hipster layered apparel, Japanese denim jeans, and boots. The music is discreet, soft clubby, and moody which makes it feel like you just walked into an expensive nightclub or restaurant with a massive line our front. The graphic this year is quite intriguing because it combines a red, white, blue “crest” or badge aesthetic giving it a somewhat Ivy League or prep school feel. But because there’s a winner’s cup and black and white checkered flag in the background, there’s a juxtaposition to it as well -more Monaco race car feel than Formula One–which describes the Urban Superior area nicely since it is quite different in terms of meaning depending on an American or European perspective.
For more reviews on Bread & Butter Barcelona, do a keyword search on Label Networks (www.labelnetworks.com) or TheLabelLab.com for past stories, pictures, and itnerviews.