Admittedly, at first I was also surprised when the news about Zalando taking over Bread & Butter broke earlier this week. Why would Zalando need a partner to organize and host an event? But after some reconsideration the moment of surprise vanished quickly.

Because whatever the exact reasons may be (buying a complete event infrastructure, investing in its fashion image, tax reasons or simply to become bigger) it shows that two worlds, that many still see as separate universes, become one. It’s not analog vs. digital or traditional retail vs. e-commerce anymore–it’s the two together as one, heading to a true omnichannel offer.

Take Neiman Marcus taking over Mytheresa, Farfetch acquiring Browns or Richemont’s recent initiative to hook up with LVMH and Kering to compete with Amazon: the old and cozy (retail) world as we know it does not exist anymore, and we all better get used to it.

Major online players put their hands on traditional businesses and vice versa. They diversify their invests and obtain stakes in all kinds of fields to extend their influence to be prepared for whatever is to come. As a result, new allies and collaborations happen that will lead the fashion world into a new age. The business is upside down; there are new rules, new names, new structures.

Zalando is aiming to be one of the protagonists, and therefore as a logical consequence invests in several businesses that are connected with the fashion industry to extend its platform. So why not invest in a trade show and turn it into a consumer event? Trial and error? Maybe. But at least Zalando is daring to try.

As a side note it occurs somewhat ironic that not even three years ago, Bread & Butter’s founder Karl-Heinz Müller was quite critical towards Zalando. Back in 2012 during a roundtable in Berlin he spoke quite bluntly about the e-commerce player: “They [Zalando] never made money. And what I really hate is when Zalando comes to Berlin, rents an old storehouse, puts 70,000 shoes in and sells them for 70% or 80% less. That kills the retailer. That kills everybody–and in the end even themselves.” (see SI’s issue #245 for the full story)

Fair enough that Müller has obviously changed his mind–because the world has changed rapidly and he needs to move BBB out of bankruptcy. But probably he is satisfied to have found a strong partner to make his visionary plan to embrace the end consumer finally happen and simply esteems Zalando’s entrepreneurship.

With many questions still unanswered (What will Müller’s role be in the future? What will the BBB-Zalando event look like? How much money went over the table?) the answer to the question why Zalando got involved seems more simple than ever: Because it can.