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Move Over, Milan
Ever since the 1992 Olympic Games blew the lid off any lingering doubts about Barcelona's contemporary creative potential, new clothing designers and boutiques have been proliferating. Barcelona's Fashion Week (called 080, in reference to the city's postcode) showcases the remarkable local talent. Meanwhile, the Pasarel.la Gaudí, formerly Barcelona's main event, has become Barcelona Bridal Week, a runway dedicated to nuptial styles. 080 Barcelona Fashion relies largely on young local designers as well as traditional heavyweights such as Antonio Miró, Armand Basi, Gonzalo Comellas, and Adolfo Domínguez. After meteoric success in Barcelona, Bread & Butter, originally from Berlin, has announced that it was going back to Deutschland. The Barcelona Town Hall has come up with a replacement event called the Brandery, showcasing new brands in contemporary fashion. Held twice a year (early July and late January) the Brandery, subtitled "Post Fashion Circus," includes some 300 brands, both domestic and international, and attracts more than 15,000 visitors, a fraction of Bread & Butter's 1,000 brands and 75,000 visitors. The Brandery is divided into five areas: the Fair as commercial confluence for exhibitors and clients, Brandtown for outdoor chilling and leisure, the Brandstreet catwalk, the Laundry as a laboratory for ideas, and the City devoted to parties and events. Brands are located in spaces such as the Cathedral for designers, the Loft for trends, the Warehouse for denim brands, and Outerspace for streetware and sneakers. "The Brandery symbolizes the ambition of Barcelona and will permit us to project Barcelona to the world as a city with a strategy for the future based on creativity in different sectors, one of which is fashion," said former Barcelona Mayor Jordi Hereu, adding that "Barcelona generates trends."
Oh, and the shops! From local clothing stars Mango and Custo to whimsical design objects at BD (Barcelona Design) or Vinçon, to old crafts standbys such as La Manual Alpargatera or Cereria Subirà, Barcelona may end up as famous for shopping as for architecture and design. El Born, the old waterfront district tucked in behind Santa Maria del Mar in the Barri de la Ribera, teems with young artisans and designers; the Eixample, the midtown grid labyrinth of Art Nouveau architecture, is rife with innovatively designed shops selling equally original items of all kinds; and the outlying villages of Gràcia and Sarrià are becoming bite-size boutique havens with much more to admire than quiet streets and leafy palms.
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