During my childhood that I spent in Düsseldorf and Berlin I recall when I once spotted this rather strange catalog advertisement with the slogan “Our man in Paris...” and today I am sometimes this “man in Paris“ looking at my mother country from abroad...
Born as German, since more than 30 years working as a designer in France, founder and creative director of the Paris-based denim focused design studio Monsieur-T., I am almost every season naturally attracted–together with my team–to travel to Berlin in January and July for fashion week.
I remember when some years ago Berlin was back in the “fashion talk of town” due to the move of Bread & Butter from Cologne to the German capital, and I also remember how my heart was pounding back then, because I was so excited that FINALLY again there was something happening in the fashion scene in Berlin on an international scale. That was back then, and today with trade shows such as Selvedge Run and Seek, Berlin is a must-visit for every denim expert.
Therefore, I come to Berlin on a regular basis with some members of our studio. During our only three-to-four-day stay we try to get the most out of this great city and the many events and trade shows. We present our work, meet clients, friends and colleagues.
A while ago when Bread & Butter went into a slump many of our international fellow workers stopped traveling to Berlin though. So now I meet them rather when returning from Berlin to Paris, and there we enjoy important moments having typical French diners with a good bottle of red wine and passionate debriefings of what has had happened in Berlin.
Let me tell you what these international friends and colleagues, brand owners, showroom managers, buyers and designers say to me when they hear me fancy about the fantastic time I spent again at Berlin Fashion Week:
“Mon dieu, Tilmann, how much time and stress to tour through the city by taxi and shuttle, from one trade show to the other...!”
“You as a German, don’t you see a chance for Berlin that all the trade show managers could sit together at one table to find a solution to make everything easier for the exhibitors and visitors?”
“It would be so much better and convenient to have it all under one roof.”
Of course, these are often the moments for some true Tempelhof nostalgia. Many of my friends have already concrete ideas of what a future Berlin trade show scenario could look like: “Let’s put Premium here, Selvedge run there, Seek over there... all the shows together.”
Especially, since Germany is known for its discipline and organization talents, people from foreign countries don’t understand why the Berlin trade show scene is not able to coordinate itself better: “Why do they all do their own thing?” is the question I am asked all the time.
Some say, they feel there are less international brands and less international visitors in Berlin. I often hear, that Berlin looks more and more like “a gigantic German showroom”...
On top due to shrinking travel budgets, people often have to choose now between visiting Pitti and Berlin–which makes the competition even harder.
That’s when the “man in Paris” asks himself if there is an opportunity to unite all this great energy in Berlin. Could this united energy make Berlin Fashion Week international more interesting? Who talks about the topic? Is it a topic at all?
Or would it be better to simply rethink and rework the traditional, slightly aging and eventually overcome fashion business model of “travel-to-trade-shows-to-see-brands-and-make-contacts”? Well, there are enough ideas around for sure! Let’s just listen to them!
For more information on trade shows check out DFV Group’s expocheck.com.