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Berlin Shows Highlight Street, Urban Design

LAURA STEVENS   01/21/10 03:45 PM ET  AP

BERLIN — Street and urban wear designers are flocking to Berlin as the German capital – known for stressing shabby chic and original design over the traditional fashion labels – kicks off a week of fashion fairs and shows.

The Bread & Butter trade show features 600 designers, labels and brands of street and urban wear. It is being held this year at the city's Tempelhof Airport, which closed to air traffic in October 2008.

Across town, models are plying the catwalk set up in a white tent, showing off the 2010 winter collections of BOSS Black and JOOP!, as well as many other well-known German designers.

Both shows opened Wednesday. Fashion week runs through Saturday and Bread & Butter finishes up Friday.

Bread & Butter director Karl-Heinz Mueller said Thursday that sportswear and other casual labels have grown in importance recently.

"If you think about it, classical haute couture is constantly taking on a smaller role. And the whole world is becoming casualized, if you will," he told reporters.

The fair is taking place inside the former West Berlin airport Tempelhof – hub of the 1948-49 Berlin Airlift. The hangars are now enclosed to host the retailers.

"BE STUPID," one sign advises attendees. Diesel's new advertising campaign is a tribute to bravery, Renzo Rosse, the Italian company's founder told The Associated Press.

"So many times I feel, like stupid," Rosse said

But daring leads to change and progress. "So now inside the company, we say, 'Please, be stupid, because the stupid are the people who see the things how they can be.'"

At the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin tent, more German designers showed off their winter collections.

Anja Gockel's collection of flashy, chic, feminine clothing was presented in part by Sudanese super model Alek Wek. Black, gold and red dominated Gockel's collection.

In an Allude show, designer Andrea Karg presented her all-cashmere collection, which was inspired by a series of German poems. Soft reds, beiges and blacks swathed the models in stylish and comfortable-looking clothing.

Karg said in an e-mail to the Associated Press that she considers Berlin the intellectual fashion week.

"We simply love the Berlin attitude," she said.

Across town at Bread & Butter, Converse presented its different styles of shoes, saying the event is a key part of showcasing their brands.

"The city of Berlin becomes kind of a very relevant place to be," said spokeswoman Karin Hesselvik. "This season especially, because it's such a creative center in Europe."

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Filed by Anya Strzemien  |