Volker Traut, Trendfabrik Mannheim, on the latest winter trends, on strong single pieces and why it is so important to demonstrate whole outfits. By Isabel Mühlbauer

"Finally now in October, the season seems to have really started in Germany. In September, it was still much too warm to sell the new winter arrivals but now that is has become really freezing outside, people want a new winter jacket. We still sell sporty down feather jackets very well, especially those from Blauer, Parajumpers, G-Star and Selected. There seems to be no price limit for jackets, €300 at retail is a good basis, and it even goes up to €1,200 for a Belstaff jacket.

Knitwear is also performing very well this season, not only for women. We are able to sell more and more slim-fitted cardigans to our male customers. They still like the Scandinavian style: a slim cardigan worn over a classic shirt with a slim pair of jeans or, more trendy, a slim-fitted cargo. Another key outfit this fall is a more rustic, casual look consisting of a pair of destroyed jeans, a checked shirt, a heavily knitted wool jacket, and some pair of Red Wing Boots.

For women, the trend is generally more towards heavy knits. We sell knitwear in form of jackets and coats, but also in form of blazer jackets. Marc O’Polo and Madison Scotch offer nice types of heavy knits, which sell really well. Knitwear finally is one of the key pieces when it comes to trendy fall outfits. We combine it with slim-fitted jeans and ankle boots or Ugg boots for women.

We have to say that it is still important to demonstrate whole outfits if you want to sell the key pieces. You still have to show the customer how heavy knits and destroyed denim make up a completely new rustic, urban look.

Apart from knitwear, the sweat is coming back. Sweatshirts and hoodies like we had in the 90’s: with big letters on the front like Hilfiger and Superdry offer.

When it comes to denim, (which sells well throughout the whole year), we must say it is still the slim fits that are prevailing. Especially girls still want it slim. Drainpipes and co. are still invincible, directly followed by regular and straight cuts. They make up almost 70% of the current denim sales. As far as finishes are concerned, there are currently two different directions. Denim either has to be sleek and coated, especially the drainpipes. Or it has to be a bit used and even destroyed, but not too much. We didn’t order any new fresh denim labels since we notice that it is still the “usual suspects” like G-Star, Diesel, with True Religion and Rock Revival at the high end, that are performing well. In the lower price range, we sell Colin’s and Mavi; Denham is the only label we have lately started with, and it is developing really well.

For this fall/winter season we have been visiting all the important trade shows starting at Pitti Uomo, to Bread & butter and Premium, ending with GDS. Apart from the important fashion fairs, our buyers visit many shops and showrooms when travelling through Europe making their orders."

About Trendfabrik: Trendfabrik, which started business in 1975, was one of the first denim stores in Mannheim, Germany. Meanwhile, Trendfabrik operates five stores in Mannheim and its surroundings. The assortment comprises a huge range from business casual to upper sportswear, including brands like Adidas, Lacoste, Replay, Pepe Jeans, 7 for all Mankind, and Blauer.