The Berlin trade shows are about to start and again there has been a lot of buzz in advance. We talked to Anita Tillmann, managing partner of Premium Group, about the actual news around her event. 


In a nutshell: what changes can exhibitors/visitors expect at the upcoming edition of Premium Group shows?

The biggest change of our time is happening within our society right now: It’s the mindshift when it comes to sustainable consumption and production. This is a major topic at all our events. Next to super exciting sustainable brands that are exhibiting with us and a #FASHIONTECH BERLIN line-up including visionary companies such as Allbirds. Furthermore Digital Business will be discussed and presented by high caliber speakers such as Brian Grevy, CEO of Gant or Luisa Krogmann, CEO and Founder Aeyde, we are planning many actions and activations around this topic.  
At Premium we are hosting two Think Tanks for and with well-known players and game changers of the fashion industry that exhibit at our shows. Tony Tonnaer (Kings of Indigo), Artaud Frenoy (Veja), Mariasole Bianco (North Sails), Patrick Andrist (National Geographic), Christopher Raeburn (RÆburn), Javier Goyeneche (Ecoalf) and others to meet up to exchange knowledge and start new collaborations. We do what we can do best–connect the right people with each other. Our platforms are far more than transaction platforms where just buyers and sales reps meet. You are invited to listen, learn and discuss and to be part of this movement.  

After the last editions there was a lot of buzz about an eventual move to Tempelhof Airport. What’s the status quo?

When people think of Tempelhof, it creates emotions and nostalgia. To reactivate this location, it does not only need high investments, but also a new, reworked, unique concept. We are on it. But nothing is set, yet.


News had it–with regards to the Tempelhof location– that even a kind of collaboration with Panorama could be a topic. Why did it not happen? And do you see a chance in the future? 

Honestly, this has never been a realistic evaluation for this season due to location size, timeline and organization. But we are always open and constantly discussing opportunities and concepts together with the city of Berlin and all other protagonists.


Premium Exhibitions bought a stake of Liberty fairs last year. You were present with some brands already during Liberty last season. Please give us an update on the projects that are in the pipeline together with the US team.

As our markets experience big changes, so we decided to focus on our own businesses for now and put the collaboration on hold. But we are working on it at all levels, we are partners and keep up the dialogue with the aim to develop a concept that is relevant for the market.


#Fashiontech seems to become more important in your schedule. What are the news here, and could this become an event separated from the fashion trade show calendar?

This season #FASHIONTECH BERLIN conference will happen on Thursday (July 4) for the first time in its new location at Festsaal Kreuzberg, in the direct neighborhood of Seek We are happy to announce a great line-up including top speakers like Brian Grevy (CEO of Gant), Luisa Krogmann (founder and CEO of Aeyde) and Aaron Levant (the head behind ComplexCon and Agenda) as well as Tom Woodger (VP Brand Activa Stockxx ). Major topics are: sustainable future, street culture, digital business, e-sports and gaming in the fashion industry. We will welcome all relevant e-sports and gaming players on stage. The new business opportunities for the fashion industry are amazing. It is literally a new game with new players. The possibilities for fashion and lifestyle brands to target a new audience in “their language.” We are talking about millions of kids and the new generation anyway, is huge. The interest on this topic is extremely high.


“It’s the end of trade shows as we know them.” Some people even speak of the agony of trade shows_this discussion does not end. What’s your reply?

The classical trade show business has fundamentally changed, it’s been a process for many years. The trade product nowadays is not just the “collection”; it’s much more than just jeans and jackets. It’s rather the brand, budgets, emotions, relations, actions, ideas, social media packages etc. This is the reason why we are assimilating our concepts. If a brand is not able to convince the visitors of a trade show and catch them with their brand story, some relevant key-looks and presentation ideas, it’ll neither work in showrooms, in the stores or just via Instagram posts. The industry feedback just after one season was very positive. We visit a lot of brands in their headquarters to understand what they are all about, hosting marketing and brand workshops and having an ongoing dialogue with them. Face-to-face is irreplaceable and the more digital and fast our industry becomes the more important are meetings in personal.


Seasons are replaced by short-term drops, more and more direct-to-consumer brands pop up, consumers are used to here-and-now business and the resell/preloved segment booms, not even mentioning the further changes due to digitization and the request for ethical/green fashion. In the bigger picture: how can fashion trade shows stronger adapt to these changes?  
As said, a trade show is a get together of the fashion eco system. Brands don’t show necessarily their whole collection s/s or f/w, but collaborations, drops, special projects for retail partner, their plans and their new ideas. North Sails is presenting their sustainable projects and Alpha Tauri will launch an innovative retail concept, just to mention some examples. We curate e.g. modern and creative pop-up and franchise concepts for retailer from neighboring industries like beauty concepts, food and lifestyle ideas. We are doing this very successfully since a couple of seasons.


Please answer in one word: what is the USP of your trade shows today?



On a rather personal note: What complaints about trade shows are you fed up with?

I’m in this business for 20 years now–I’ve heard everything! One thing is very clear–no trade show in any business will solve everyone‘s in the industry involved challenges. What we offer is a platform to meet known and new players, to feel the vibe and to discuss new business opportunities. We invite the industry to learn and to listen and to experience and we encourage them to get out of their comfort zone. Plus we really take care that everyone coming to Berlin gets what the industry is also about –friends, fun and pleasure.

We distinguish what is real feedback. We are analyzing the markets and that is the reason why our trade shows are constantly developing and probably also why we are successful.

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