The organizers of Bread & Butter made a bold move this season with their introduction of a 500 Euro charge for unaffiliated access. Of course, this was to have a substantial effect on footfall at Europe’s largest street & urban tradeshow and also risked denting the buzz surrounding the event. However, our data shows otherwise, with online mentions growing 11% compared to January’s show. An exhibitor noted, “it’s less people, but it’s the right people”, adding that previously attendees would swing by just for stickers. With sticker enthusiasts at the door, the path was clear for us to hunt out the best brands. Here’s our winners:
Luca, Thomas and Simon do sound like an indie pop collective but nay, it was their love of extreme sports that brought them together. This, partnered with knowledge of the textile and design fields, led to a personal project which soon propelled them to establish a brand. Relatively new kids on the block (founded in 2010), their core is grounded in a love of outdoor activities, meaning all designs are built around practical needs. With such a philosophy, we look forward to the the accessory line that is in the works.
Contemporary womenswear brands have progressed at pace over the past few editions of B&B, and no one seems to be doing it quite like the Danes. Leading the pack are Selected Femme, who have been on our radar for a few seasons now. One of their key strengths lies in finding balance between sophisticated, simple essentials and more individual, edgy pieces. Our trend report from the show noted the presence across B&B of ‘New Dimensions’, an exploration of exciting textiles. Of those, Selected Femme’s experimental knits and textured surfaces were second to none, a subtle colour palette underpinning their wearability and commerciality. Particular noteworthy is their bubble wrap inspired fabric – which on paper sounds dubious, but trust us on this one!
Under the same umbrella as Selected Femme, Pieces are the brand that distribute accessories amongst the Bestseller family, a Danish collective of brands which includes Jack Jones and Vero Moda. The heart of the SS14 line is the scarab beetle, exquisitely executed with jewels for statement necklaces and lending itself perfectly to a casual print for a scarf. Pieces manage to cater for both dressed up and down styles, without each line looking disjointed. This works as there is a consistency that runs with quality materials, whether in bold statement necklaces or an update of a classic leather bag. A nod also to their childrenswear line, Little Pieces, with an adorable take on the traditional clothing division between boys and girls.
Less was more when it came to denim. The brand that spoke to us most wasn’t shouting; they were simple, clean and once again, Danish. Despite being fairly fresh out of the starting blocks, they’ve nailed classic and cool. The simplicity of their designs makes for timeless pieces with crisp, clean lines underpinning it all – stemming from the Nordic cross. It’s all about subtlety in the designs with Napp, which is what sets them apart. With a typically Scandinavian ethos – we love their cheeky slogans that are strewn boldly across their website, ”No disrespect, but this is just another bloody t-shirt“ – and kudos for nailing e-commerce so early on!
Stow & Son
We fell hook, line & sinker for Spanish shoemakers, Stow & Son. Their branding has a nautical note that runs throughout – a nod to their Barcelona base. These guys stood out with their deli counter of shoes that you could clearly get a long shelf life out of. All sourcing and craftsmanship happens in Spain or Portugal, with the very best leathers. This is something they’re not afraid to confess makes an impact on price point, but they simply won’t compromise on quality. The branding is a complete story, with each pair of shoes presented in a beautiful wooden, treasure chest-esque box. Creamy mints sit fresh beside the more traditional tan leathers; a dreamy colour palette that added to a certain elusiveness surrounding the whole package. With a preference to partner with smaller stores only adding to their exclusivity, this gem is one to watch.
Almost a clean sweep for the Danes, swiping the crown from the Sweden who dominated our top picks from last season. From further ashore, Australians, Balinese and South Americans were prominent at the show, as B&B really cements its international significance and appears not to suffer for the 500 Euro fee.