This is my experience as BRIGHTHunter, after winning a competition organized by Lamonomagazine and BRIGHT Tradeshow, through which I traveled to Berlin. I was only in for 4 days, but seemed it had been weeks. Although those days I barely slept, it was one of the best things that happened to me in life. I could discover a new world, meet wonderful people, make friends and fall in love – just a little. So, I take this space to share my experience and I leave you with some pictures of the highlights of the event, which are worth a thousand words. Enjoy!
Hello Lomographers! This is my first post as a Lomo-reporter and I’m so excited. It all started when I won the contest to be BRIGHTHunter at BRIGHT Tradeshow and travel to Berlín with Lamono Magazine’s Team. My task was to make a visual and written daily journal of the event. But, in addition to keep you up to date with my diary, thanks to the immediacy of the digital world, I’m a fan of analogue photography and could not help carry my Lomo LC-A with me to Berlin. So here I will tell you my experience as BRIGHTHunter and share the best of these days, now passed through the darkroom.
The story begins on my first night in Berlin, The story begins on my first night in Berlin, when I had the chance to meet Thomas Martini, one of the bright minds behind BRIGHT. How have I met him? Well, he invited me to dinner at one of the coolest and most special places in Berlin: Cookies Cream, located in Mitte, the historic center of the city.
Eating, chatting and drinking, Thomas told me his history. He had met Marco Aslim at a birthday party in their hometown, near Frankfurt. When they realized that they shared the same passion for skate culture, they started to develop some projects together. In 1996, they decided to move to Frankfurt to establish the KPP Agentur Agency and quickly started to work with many skate and streetwear culture related brands. One day, Marco proposed the idea of organizing a Tradeshow. At first, Thomas refused, but after a few days he called Marco and accepted the challenge. And here’s how BRIGHT was born. Why BRIGHT? Because they wanted a name that worked in many languages.
Since then, Bright has grown edition to edition. Thomas told me that’s because skate related brands have a very particular style and they need a special exhibition beyond the typical tradeshows. The idea was to try to show the culture and lifestyle behind skateboarding. So, what makes it different from other fairs is that it includes exhibitions, meetings, night parties and demos with international skaters who come to Berlin exclusively to participate in BRIGHT.
After dinner we walked down the snowy streets of Berlin, until the cold was stronger and decided to take a taxi. The last stop was the VICE party, where we had a few beers, danced and… I met Erlend Øye, member of Kings of Convenience, one of my favorite bands.
During the first day, I visited the meeting space of the sixteenth edition of the BRIGHT Tradeshow. And it was amazing: a huge structure to show everything about skate, boardsports, streetwear and contemporary art. For those who don’t know yet, The BRIGHT Tradeshow began in the summer of 2005 as the first Skate European exhibition. During the first show, more than 50 brands were involved. But, in later editions, the event has grown to over, each time, the boundaries of the area of stands. In summer 2010, the Bright Tradeshow moved to Berlin, thereby increasing its overall impact.
Today, there are over 300 brands from around the world each season. In fact, as the exhibitors increases, visitors are also multiplied – between 12,000 and 15,000 professionals come and show themselves by Bright stands and parks. This time, the Bright Tradeshow changed its location, moving to Berlin Mitte Alte Münze (previously, it was located in the former headquarters of the Stasi). This decision to place it in the heart of the city increased the impact and visitors. And that’s because Bright is an ideal platform for brands to do business with retailers and wholesalers and a great showcase for both young designers and big international brands, offering the opportunity to present their jobs and products.
Besides being a global platform to spread fashion and the fact that the commercial side and the product-oriented framework have a leading position, street passion takes the form of competitions and skate demos, concerts, parties and art in all its disciplines, from illustration to photography and film. And it’s this unique concept of the most informal business meeting in Europe winch ensures maximum identity and image. That, plus selected exhibitors, as well as the program support and its integration in the Berlin Fashionweek are indications of a bright future. But this time, the event was covered by media and bloggers from over 27 countries. And, between them, I was!
And, for the record, anyone who knows me well knows that I can die for high heels. Although I have to return home barefoot at the end of the night. And I like girly things -dresses, skirts, lace tights, silk gloves, bows and headbands are never enough in my closet. But I’m human, of course, and also use sneakers. The problem is that I have the same 80’s inspired model of a popular sports brand in all colors and versions. And never change. But I must admit that today I caught myself wanting to buy all the models of sneakers I saw. And it could not be otherwise, sneakers are the main partner of skaters (besides the skateboard itself, of course). In line, BRIGHT is a paradise of sneakers and many brands have wanted to be here.
I’ve learned one thing in the BRIGHT Tradeshow: apart from the last trend of having a longboard or minicruiser, a real skateboarder always has a skateboard as usual. One of those which they can do jumps and tricks with. There is nothing wrong with the other, but everyone says that the pleasure of riding an original skateboard can’t be compared to anything. I do roller skating and I don’t know really much about skateboards. But I’m the BrightHunter and “noblesse oblige”. So I will tell you the things I’ve learned and seen around here. Longboards bring stability and speed, but what may be advantages, can also be inconvenient like excessive size, difficulty to turn and annoying carrying.
On the other hand, the minicruisers are easy to carry around – some of them to bring even in the backpack. But they are not stable and it takes time to get used to them. What is clear is that the best option for the beginners is the longboard, in order to gain confidence but, at least for the people I talked to here, nothing beats a skateboard.
During that memorable first day, we spent the afternoon and the night at “The House of VANS”, a platform for creative self-expression that hosts’ art, music and skate events. Based permanently in Brooklyn, NY, this year had returned to Berlin by popular demand to host 3 nights of skate culture, street fashion, music and photography. It’s location here is in Stadtbad Oderberger Straße, the “People’s Bathhouse of Berlin”, a former indoor swimming pool. Curious, don’t you think?
There, I could see a photography exhibition dedicated to the DIY sensibilities of skateboarding and I had the opportunity to witness a collection of vintage VANS footwear representing the brands 47-year history (I have to say that the show features Europe’s preeminent collectors, including Berlin’s Skateboard Museum and London vintage supreme “The Other Side of the Pillow”, whose representatives – Jürgen Blühmlein and Henry Davies- I could interview). Also I interviewed the skate legend Tommy Guerrero. And, best of all, I got a pair of classic vans!
During my second day as BrightHunter, I spent all day at the fairgrounds. Apart from the brands’ activities there were always a lot of things happening: exhibitions, films, parties and, of course, a lot of skateboarding. I can not help remembering how great it was to be there and telling this to you again and again, although you will probably end up sick of me.
One of the best things was hanging out with my friend Berta in a huge makeshift bar. The atmosphere there was great (although there was a huge portrait of Merkel engraved on one of the walls).
I thought about singing the famous song by Fontella Bass looking at the third eye of the lady, but I settled for a spicy Yogi tea. In the pictures below, yo can see people relaxing and smiling at my camera.
At night, we went to one of the most anticipated events of the week, the ceremony of the second Bright European Skate Awards (BESA), which was held at The Babylon Theater, a nice old-school cinema located in the historic center of the city.
But as if that was not enough, after the awards (and a few drinks), we moved to a party at The House of Vans. Named CREATIVE CONTROL, it was a night curated by Tommy Guerrero and Ray Barbee to celebrate the awards as the official after-show destination. There, I saw a lot of cute guys, and listened to Tommy Guerrero and his band, followed by the live performance of Tortoise, an american post-rock band. Below, some of the best moments of the night.
The next day, of course, the hangover was so strong that it was very hard to get from the hotel to where we were having breakfast, which was 20 meters below.
Oh, I’m realizing that I never talked about the hotel. What a nice one! I have to say that I loved the views from my room. I’m sure you can imagine it. Lots of concrete blocks, more and more concrete, geometric lines, infinite series of repeated identical windows, bare trees, snow and perhaps a couple of kids making a snowman (well, the last one only happened in my mind).
But if you are imagining grey windy, rainy days, you are wrong. Snowflakes glistened and everything was BRIGHT. Especially my Street, with its trams and authentic sites. I wanna go back right now!
Well, they said all good things come to an end. But, as the saying goes, good things, when short, are twice as good. And this was the case of BRIGHT Tradeshow. Although it’s a pity it’s all over now, I’m positively surprised by the event.
Its creators, Thomas Martini and Marco Aslim, had managed to stand out from other conventional exhibitions of the industry. And that’s because BRIGHT blended well with Berlin’s natural flow of creativity and positive atmosphere, which was reflected in their closing party. It was held at Generation 13, a sneaker museum founded by German actor Oliver Korittke and his two friends, Oliver Kircher y Niklas Becker, who have collected sneakers and other objects from pop culture during the past four decades.
The party was really cool and the guest list was kinda awesome with some of the coolest dudes you can think of, who just came by to check the BRIGHT vibe. So, as usual, I leave you with the highlights of a night packed with fun, a lot of sneakers and its histories and drinks (only a few, I swear).
Now I’m back in Madrid and it seems the BRIGHT Tradeshow has been a dream. The days went by so fast that I appreciate having that visual and written diary to remember this forever.
But most important is tat BRIGHT meant to me to discover a new world, meet wonderful people, makes friends and fall in love -just a little.