The second edition of Zalando’s Bread & Butter, taking place in Berlin on September 1-3, 2017, is going to be bigger, more versatile and bolder, transforming itself from a trend show into a “Festival of Style and Culture”.
At least this is what yesterday’s preview event in Berlin promised. With an illustrious circle of ambassadors such as designer Vivienne Westwood, actor Lars Eidinger, musician Peaches but also up-and-coming thought leaders like g-Star designer Aitor Throup and model Adwoa Aboah, Zalando wants to pick up the traditional “so what?” attitude of the former tradeshow and turn it into an opinion-forming experience for consumers.
“With our last year’s motto ‘Now’ we’ve been very much referring to our momentum as a digital and thus instant platform. Yet with this year’s topic, ‘Bold’, we want to dive deeper into a substantive discourse about the confession of who you are. Bread & Butter is much more a platform for engagement and inspiration than for simply shopping”, Carsten Hendrich, VP Brand Marketing of Zalando, explains.
Following this approach, Bread & Butter takes an educational approach by organizing talks and speeches. The audience of yesterday’s preview got a little foretaste when on stage, Dame Vivienne Westwood constantly interrupted moderator Jefferson Hack, co-founder of Dazed Media, to explain her major issue that one has to stop exploiting the world through mass production and overuse of resources. “Buying clothes is not part of a culture, it is part of consumption. So don’t buy anything this season!” she called.
Later on, feminist activist Adwoa Aboah underlined the pleasant fact that nowadays one can have sex with any person and gender and talk about it. Designer Fergus Purcell let us know that his most daring action in life was to refuse using commercial tools of self-promotion while working as an commercial artist.
These are quite bold statements on the stage of an online shop that holds roughly 6.1 per cent of the online shoe and apparel market in Western Europe.
„Besides we invite the brands to show a more atypical range of products at Bread & Butter to widen the spectrum of perception among the audience”, says Hendrich. And they seem to be ready for it since the number of participating brands increased from 25 to 40 for the second round; amongst them Vans, Nike, Adidas and Hugo.
“Consumers nowadays want direct access to their favorite brands. This connection was our initial idea at Zalando. So it’s somehow a natural development to apply it to a physical experience”, Hendrich goes on. With this he takes up the ever-present discussion about the relevance of brick-and-mortar in the future which could be the direct, three-dimensional and thus emotional interaction between brand and consumer beyond the act of purchase.
For Zalando, the result could be loyalty of both consumers and brands, which, in the end, might be the most promising result of Bread & Butter for the company, also distancing it from frontal competitors such as Amazon.
And yes, it does seem bold somehow to achieve this goal by encouraging the audience not to buy anything.