iloveplaytime berlin 2017

This month I attended the first edition of Playtime Berlin. Playtime is a lifestyle trade fair for children’s apparel, toys and interior design well-known for its exhibitions twice a year in Paris, New York and Tokyo. It just celebrated its 10th anniversary since founded by the entrepreneurial brother and sister team Sébastien de Hutten and Marie Czapska. Compared to the 500 brands of the French edition, the Berlin version was more intimate with around 120 brands exhibiting in the 2800 sqm of Palazzo Italia, one step from the famous boulevard Unter den Linden.

The relatively small size made it easy to connect with the exhibitors and I had many interesting conversations with store owners, baby brand founders, retailers and other professionals related to this business. Firstly I tried to spot my Swedish and Scandinavian compatriots, and although I would like to tell the story of each and everyone of them I limit myself to present a new brand called Pitupi that really caught my attention. This is a fair trade brand started by three young women with a vision not only to make the most comfortable  eco-friendly and GOTS certified baby wear, but also to provide a source of income to a group of women in Albania, helping them to become economically independent. I really love this idea of making good in both ends of the chain and those who buys a dress or a baby body will find a name tag of the seamstress on the item to see who made this particular one! Visit their webpage to learn more about their Slow Fashion concept and see more lovely clothing!

There were also a lot of fun and innovative design like Jaq Jaq Bird, who makes perfect sketchbooks for kids! These are soft chalkboard books and table runners created by a mompreneur, Grace Paik, from Chicago. Easy to bring anywhere, reusable over and over again, they provide a creative outlet and a distraction on the train, in the car, in the restaurant (!) when you need to entertain your little ones!

Some brands would be a dream to work with like Little Yucca, a small but very profiled up and coming brand from Istanbul. They’ve developed a gender neutral profile with bold colours and quirky illustrations in close cooperation with outstanding illustrators all over the world that normally might not be known for children’s apparel design. I like the unusual take to present the illustrators on their webpage! Everything is produced in 100% organic cotton and GOTS certified.

Inspiring children’s design was everywhere, another great one was Maison Petit Jour, a French manufacturer of baby items from table ware to nursery goodies whom use a lot of cute patterns. They sell online, but if in Paris I recommend you a visit to the store with the romantic name “Le Ciel est à tout le monde” in the 5th arrondissement.  I also saw several of my favourite brands in the booth of Design&Mein, a German online shop, where you can find Petit Monkey, Coq en Pâte, DEUZ, Biobu, Makii and more…

I left the show full of admiration for all the energy, skills, passion, and talent with which so many people dedicate their time to make worthwhile and beautiful products for children. Next month I’ll be heading to the FORMEX trade show in Stockholm where the absolute most outstanding Scandinavian design will show off! Looking forward to sharing this with you!

All copyright of the photos belong to https://www.iloveplaytime.com  if nothing else is stated

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2 comments

  1. francesca says:

    hello! I’m so curious to know if it is worth visiting it for surface designers, and if so how do you approach brands? please if you want share with us some advice 🙂

    • dotoddity says:

      Hello Francesca! To be honest this might not be the best trade show for surface pattern designers, compared to Première Vision (Paris), Surtex (New York) or Blueprint (New York) for example, which are specialized shows for buying, selling and licensing prints. BUT in my opinion Playtime will give you a feeling for the finished products and an opportunity to make contacts with smaller, independent brands that might not go pattern hunting at the big trade shows. You would not come with a lookbook thinking everyone would be interested but you can definitely make contacts that could lead to future possibilities to have your designs on a children’s collection. But as illustrators and designers are not the targeted audience you might keep a low profile and approach the exhibitors with a genuine interest of their products before open the subject how they make their patterns… Research beforehand to find the brands you might like to make a contact with. And bear in mind revealing that you are a designer might lead a few to be suspicious if you are a copycat looking for references – I was totally surprised by that! I hope this was a useful answer!

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