Last week Berlin played host to an array of fashion focused events, including Bread & Butter. This year, there were two big talking points that surrounded B&B. Firstly, the proposal of the event’s extension with the introduction of consumer days. The other was the absence of some big gun exhibitors at the show (Superdry and Adidas included) and the closure of two exhibiting halls. However, less ground to cover and fewer big brands didn’t mean lack of quality: here’s who caught our eye.
“Fabrique en France” by two cousins, it was Arpenteur’s Tin Tin-esque illustrations which drew us into their stand. With many a nod to their home turf, in simple Breton stripes and navy & white colour partnering. They take inspiration from thrift stores and finding something ‘crappy’ to reinterpret into something beautiful, these retro references are clear as we’re shown 60s inspired shirts and more dapper 30s inspired pieces. The fabrics are durable and strong, but don’t compromise on aesthetics – from beautiful boiled wools to cotton pique. Arpenteur is adorable activewear for continental gents, ideal for adventuring and creating slapstick scenarios, à la Tin Tin.
Tucked away in the F.I.R.E department in the end hall, sat Inis Meáin. Upon entry, we’re handed a small, slick booklet, with a map inside highlighting the brand’s HQ: a tiny island off Ireland’s west coast with 200 inhabitants – rich with a history of knitting. An elderly islander plaited friendship bracelets which bind their booklets. Their branding is beautiful and contemporary whilst still inline with their historic island roots. The craftsmanship in each piece is outstanding, as the brand has one foot in tradition but another in the future, continuously updating stitches and adapting to a modern marketplace. With some brands, the attempts to keep heritage alive can feel forced, but with Inis Meáin it feels nothing but genuine and beautiful. As we browse the rails and come across a bright lime piece, we’re informed that this colour is called ‘Gin & Tonic’. We’re sold.
The team behind StepArt have their fingers on the pulse, always on the hunt for artists to work with. A concept that allows illustrators and graphic artists, both established and up & coming, to have their designs as part of this ever-evolving, seasonless collective. StepArt don’t plaster pieces with their logo or take control of designs; instead, full credit is given to the artist. Womenswear pieces are carefully considered and not simply a smaller fit of the menswear offering – note small adaptations in the colours or neckline. They hail from Hossegor, France – Europe’s surf capital and also home to heavyweight board sport brands such as Volcom & Quiksilver. Despite being a fairly new label, they’re already stocked in Colette. These guys are a safe bet for commercial success.
When Bench have skipped out on Bread & Butter’s recent editions, they’ve left a big gap. For Fall 2014, they’re back and mean business. Focusing on function and performance, in particular focussing on city life. Reflective pieces and gentle dipped hems for cyclists – the details are subtle, discreet and could be overlooked. Their core garments for the next season adapt to the wearer’s day, from their cycle or commute to work, to going out after. There has been an overhaul at camp Bench, but you can still identify some old school trademark shapes, they’ve just grown up a little and become a lot more covetable.
Danish super group bestseller may have been absent this season, but Great Dane, Nümph, was representing. The Nümph story began with a collective of young women, leaving posts in larger fashion houses to create a brand from scratch. The primary aims were that they create clothes with personality and a team member was to step aside if they ever lost any passion. A couple of years down the road and team lineup changes aside, the ethos remains intact. What caught our eye in particular were prints: a repeat of the moon’s phases a highlight. Nümph are head and shoulders above other womenswear brands showcasing at Bread & Butter.
With our last couple of seasons of best brands from B&B being dominated by Scandinavian labels, it’s the French who take the crown for this season. With the format changes rolling out for the July edition, who knows who’ll be showcasing at the next Bread & Butter and where they’ll be coming from. We could be in for a whole new kettle of fish and we think that’s pretty exciting.
If you’re an EDITD customer, enjoy full analysis of the trade show with detailed trends and commercial data in our Bread & Butter Trade Trends Report.