Bright Ideas: The European Skate Awards & Bright XVI Wrap Up

Another tornado of a week has passed in the blink of an eye here in Berlin for Bright XVI, with this round marking numerous milestones for this growing skate/lifestyle show.

First, and first-most, it ushered in a new location for the show in the heart of the city. Bright had previously been held well off the beaten path, and while its timing is designed to leverage traffic from Berlin Fashion Week, which finds shows such as Bread & Butter and Capsule in town at the same time, Bright was never able to fully capitalize on a huge amount of traffic from those events. 

While the new location was a bit smaller, the layout was cool with good views of the river on one side and the TV Tower on the other. It also offered more space to the brands willing to pony up the cash, felt much more open with higher ceilings, and had a flow that bordered nearly all the booths on major walkways, whereas the previous building was laid out more akin to The Shining’s maze. More importantly with the new location, the mix of people walking the floor was much more varied, as the show was able to capitalize on the buyers flooding Berlin for the Bacchanalian Fashion Week.

The show also felt much more business-focused than past rounds of Bright we’ve hit. While there was definitely a party around every corner at nearly every hour of the day, there were also a lot more serious conversations taking place around tables and orders being written. Previous shows have felt more like a bro-down, networking (read booze) fest, but this felt like a solid mixed cocktail of work and play, which every show needs to be able to maintain its worth and relevancy in today’s economy.

The second big first, was actually more of a second as well. Thursday night marked the second Bright European Skateboard Awards (BESA) at a new home – the Babylon Theater, a 1920’s modernist cinema that was a vast improvement from the auditorium in the Stasi building last year, upstairs from the show floor. This year’s planning, location, and crowd took the BESA to the next level, giving the skaters, shops, mags, and brands keeping Europe’s skate scene unique and thriving, the recognition they deserve, even if they were rowdy, hammered, and disrespectful as any good skate award-attendees should be. (Check out more photos here and peep the gallery above for shots of this year’s winners)

Some other highlights and trends we saw at Bright this week:

–       More U.S. and non-German brands exhibiting.

–       What Skullcandy’s Jason Arnold has dubbed “Skipsters,” or skate hipsters, are alive and well in Germany.

–       There were way more ladies at the show with its new location in the Mitte.

–       Reindeer is delicious – thanks Makia.

–       Berlin is gloomy as hell in the winter, but that doesn’t keep the Germans from sending it until all hours. I think it makes them charge harder.

–       Local brands are evolving their own styles that U.S. brands need to take note of. While past Euro looks have been a joke in the States, there are a lot of companies like Sweet, Polar, Cleptomanicx, and WeMoto that are looking better every season and are going to be successful in the States, just as Scanner brands such as WeSC, and more recently Makia, continue paving the road.

See you at XVII.

Follow the jump for coverage from the first two days of the show and more…