We spoke to Leslie Gallin, President of Footwear at Informa, to discuss some of the pressing issues of the moment within the footwear industry
It becomes more of a networking opportunity. There are so many more important things that are going on at a national shoe event. The number one thing that we find out is that during the fair the transactional opportunities are important, but it is all about the relationships.
FN PLATFORM & Informa
I think Informa purchased Magic because they needed and wanted a Fashion group within their portfolio, as most of their businesses are technology, food ingredients, manufacturing, etc. I think there are good business practices to learn from them and there are good practices that we bring to the table as well. So truthfully, not really anything is changing, other than some sharing of information.
I think we need to embrace it as a Fashion friend. I don’t think any full product line could be fully sustainable. I’m sure there will be some, but the businesses will be at a certain level. Sustainability is the right thing for all of us to look at because both the apparel and the footwear industry have been amongst the biggest polluters and when you think about the waste of water and so on… So, it is a good moment for people to use their brain power and creativity. It also gives the opportunity to talk to the next generation who are extremely socially conscious. So, I feel this movement is a good movement in the industry.
As far as social media is concerned: up until now anybody could be a blogger and if you paid the blogger to endorse your product the consumers would believe the message. So, they need to disclose that they are being paid.
Retail & Consumers
I think the consumer is getting more and more savvy. They still like going into a store to shop. What the retailer needs to understand is that they can not continue to buy the same product just because it sold well in the last season. Move on. Add new styles, new names. Because that will keep the customer coming into your store.
US-China trade war
So, now the (US) retailer is saying (to the European brands): “I want to see your product, where built a relation, where I can build a margin and build a business. And I don’t think anymore is anymore naïve to believe that things last forever.
Fast Changing Environment
I think there is a bit of overreaction going on. If you really look at it, things changed but not so much. The consumer is still attracted to consumption and wants to feel a void. Either they are shopping for the sports or they are shopping for replacement. There is a reason and they enjoy the experience. So, things appear to be moving fast, but I think people are creating more of that drama than is actually there.
Image Credits: UBMFashion.com; Informa