This is where the guys you buy your clothes from go to buy clothes

 In Apparel, Rope Dye

The Rope Dye team were front and centre at the Trade Union. A new concept space within the famous Berlin trade show, SEEK.

What is a fashion trade show?


Did you ever wonder where all that beautiful gear that stocks the shelves of your favourite stores comes from? Yeah, it comes from brands, but how do the stores discover those brands? The answer is the fashion trade show.

It’s where the buyers from your favourite stores come together to discover new brands and see the latest collections from their existing line-up.

The trade show provides the infrastructure for this. The brands get a certain amount of space, they are provided furniture to hang their collections and the buyers, press and other industry insiders know just where to come to find what they are looking for.

There are several of these trade shows taking place simultaneously during the Berlin Fashion Week. Each caters to a different aspect of the fashion industry. The SEEK show started 10 years ago and caters to a diverse range of around 300 contemporary brands.

So what is this Trade Union?


The Trade Union is Berlin’s answer to the big question on the lips of a lot of brands: “should I do a show or a showroom when I am in Berlin?”

You see, an alternative to a trade show is a showroom. It is a micro tradeshow with maybe only one brand. It has the advantage of having a lot less hustle and bustle, the brands can set scheduled appointments with buyers or press and really take the time to show them around the collection. The downside is that you might miss a potential new customer.

In Berlin, it becomes more complex still. The trade shows here go on for three days and in these three days, time is money. With Berlin being so big, time spent travelling in between shows or showrooms can really add up.

So, the idea of the Trade Union was born. It is a separate space within the main SEEK show dedicated to quality. The Trade Union brings together a curated portfolio of contemporary menswear and womenswear, rounded out with a unique selection of shoes, accessories and lifestyle goods.

It is a community of like-minded brands and individuals who share similar visions, ambitions and goals.

The Trade Union had its debut in January 2019. The Rope Dye team was invited into host the space as our ties to this community are strong. With the success of the concept, we were hired to develop the concept further and open the space up to a wider variety of brands.

For the summer edition, we took on the larger space and filled it out with some of our favourites. In the line up were:

877 Workshop, American Trench, Bather, Benzak Denim Developers, Clae, Craighill, Colchester Rubber Co, Dubbelware, Eat Dust, Ebbets Field Flannels, Fleurs De Bagne, Han Kjøbenhavn, Knickerbocker, Lee 101, Mizuno, Henri Lloyd x Nigel Cabourn, Pendleton Woolen Mills, Porter-Yoshida & Co. Quoddy, Red Wing Shoes, Tanner Goods, and Us Rubber Company.

We brought photographer Annyck Benth along with us to document the brands and the faces behind the brands. And as always, she exceeded her expectations.


So, can I go to the next one?

In a word, no, not unless you are somehow working in the field of fashion. You see, these trade shows are strictly business-to-business, none of the things on display are for sale then and there, they are for the following season. It allows the stores to decide what will be stocking their shelves in 6 months time.

If you are in the business, then the next Trade Union will be happening on January 2020 during the Berlin Fashion Week. Rest assured we will bring you all you need to know concerning the show and might even be there to say hi.

In the meantime, feast your eyes on the fine garments and the characters found during the show.


All images Copyright Annyck Benth 2019.

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