As the fall ’11 market gets under way, trade show operators across the country are stepping up their game to attract buyers. While bringing in the right mix of vendors remains critical, many also are focusing on enhancing the experience by introducing new amenities, providing additional networking events and opportunities, expanding their seminar programs and offering digital tools such as mobile apps and interactive online programs. Here, Footwear News previews the season’s upcoming shows, including the newest brands to join the exhibitor roster, special events and other key highlights.
ENK New York
Dates: Jan. 16-18
Location: The Tunnel/LaVenue, New York
Highlights: ENK New York, which caters to the men’s market, includes Designers’ Collective, Clean, Blue and Tomorrow. The event continues to draw footwear brands seeking to connect with higher-end boutiques and specialty retailers.
Dates: Jan. 16-18 (New York); Feb. 14-16 (Las Vegas)
Location: 82 Mercer St., New York; The Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
Notable new exhibitors: Levi’s, Oetzi3300, Unstitched Utilities, Feiyue, Ksubi
Highlights: After canceling its July event last year to focus on revamping its format, Project New York will relaunch next week. According to President Andrew Pollard, the show is returning to its roots of being a promoter and developer of young, emerging brands. In conjunction with the product exhibition, Project will stage a pop-up shop that will stock a handpicked mix of local and up-and-coming lines. “We need to move past the traditional trade show format to create an experience that not only drives commerce but inspires excitement and better reflects the industry,” Pollard said. Project Las Vegas, meanwhile, will launch a new area, Project Town Square, where showgoers can gather, network or just relax. Project 10 will return, this time spotlighting 10 influential emerging brands in a special showcase curated by Brooklyn Circus founder Ouigi Theodore.
Dates: Jan. 17-18 (New York Men’s); Feb. 15-16 (Las Vegas Men’s/Women’s); Feb. 19-21 (New York Women’s)
Location: Center 548, 548 W. 22 St., New York; Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas
Highlights: In its eighth season, Capsule, which caters to the high-end contemporary and streetwear markets, remains focused on its mission to cultivate emerging designers, both domestic and international. Next week’s New York men’s show will wrap up with an after party featuring live music by Gang Gang Dance.
Dates: Jan. 17-18
Location: Chelsea Art Museum, New York
Notable new exhibitors: Toms Shoes, Vans, Reebok, Gourmet, DC Shoes
Highlights: Agenda, which held its West Coast show in Anaheim, Calif., last week, travels to New York on Jan. 17. Heading into its sophomore season, the multicategory event will feature an expanded offering from more than 80 brands, with footwear a key focus due to the show’s early timing. Organizers anticipate a strong retailer turnout. “The first New York show was attended by more than 2,000 people, and we expect much bigger numbers this time,” said President Aaron Levant. “Agenda is different from other shows [happening] in New York during the men’s market week because we are the only show at that time touching on action sports, streetwear and sneaker culture.”
Transit/The Los Angeles Shoe Show
Dates: Jan. 18-20
Location: California Market Center, Los Angeles
Notable new exhibitors: Geox, Nine West, Caressa, E.S. Originals
Highlights: Held in a sleek gallery-like space in the Penthouse of the California Market Center, Transit showcases an eclectic mix of contemporary men’s and women’s brands, among them Jeffrey Campbell, Pour La Victoire, Frye, Irregular Choice and Report Signature. Daily show hours have shifted back an hour to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dates: Jan. 20-23
Location: Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City
Notable new exhibitors: Clarks, Adidas, Orthoheel, Stem Footwear, Po-Zu
Highlights: OR’s growth spurt continues, with more than 120 new exhibitors on board for the January winter market. The popular pre-show planner has been revamped to be more content-driven. “We’ve streamlined the exhibitor listings and made them really tight,” said director Kenji Haroutunian. “It gives us more space to talk about trends in the market and offer more product content and intelligent pieces that are important to retailers.” After a successful introduction last year, OR’s mobile app will return, giving attendees a digital tool to help them navigate the show floor and maximize their productivity. In addition, the full version of the Outdoor Industry Association’s Eco Index will make its official launch at the show.
Dates: Jan. 23-25; March 6-8
Location: Javits Center, New York
Notable new exhibitors: Dolce Vita, Morgan & Milo
Highlights: The January Children’s Club will feature a mix of immediate and early fall ’11 merchandise. Among the shoe brands exhibiting are Naturino, Primigi, Toms Shoes and Trimfoot Co. The show’s March edition will focus on fall ’11 product and feature a much larger footwear offering.
Dates: Feb. 1-3; June 7-9
Location: Hilton New York Hotel and showrooms, New York
Notable new exhibitors: Camper, Blakelee Footwear, Whitley V Designs
Highlights: In a departure from FFANY’s usual format, brands will show exclusively in private hotel rooms and showrooms; there will be no public exhibition space. “We’ve done this once in the past, and it worked out well,” said President and CEO Joe Moore, adding that early indications point to a strong February event. “[At press time], we have more than 90 percent of our bookings already in, which is early for us. People are serious about the show.”
Dates: Feb. 2-3
Location: Center 548, 548 W. 22 St., New York
Notable new exhibitors: Bass, K-Swiss, Rockport, Pura Lopez, Allen Edmonds, Bourne
Highlights: Known for its highly edited offering, Compass has seen significant growth since its launch in 2007. Though the mix is dominated by men’s players, the women’s category continues to gain ground, with several new brands slated to exhibit for the first time this season. In all, just 75 lines will be on display at Compass’ February edition, among them Mark McNairy, Clae, Red Wing and Matt Bernson, in keeping with the show’s goal to remain small and focused. “We believe that bigger isn’t always better; better is better,” said director Chris Corrado. “Compass is an edited show highlighting the brands we consider to be market leaders and must-haves. Together, our exhibitors’ communal strength helps to more clearly express the market’s direction.”
Dates: Feb. 7-9
Location: The Venetian and Sands Expo Center, Las Vegas
Highlights: Sole Commerce will make its debut at WSA next month, bringing an expanded fashion footwear offering to the long-running show. David Kahan, president of ENK Footwear, said the move “gives Sole Commerce exhibitors dedicated shoe retailer traffic under one roof.” In other changes, organizers are granting the booming wellness category greater visibility on the show floor. In addition, WSA will introduce a series of seminars addressing new fashion trends, buying strategies and best business practices. To give buyers a break from the show grind, New Balance is sponsoring an “Oasis of Wellness” lounge in conjunction with Canyon Ranch that will feature reflexology and various spa therapies.
Dates: Feb. 8-9
Location: Ayres Hotel, Hawthorne, Calif.
Notable new exhibitors: And 1, Rampage Girls, Nautica, Oilily, Stride Rite Hosiery
Highlights: At its fall ’11 market, the KSA Show, launched in 2009 by a group of sales representatives, will offer more than 100 children’s lines in a relaxed hotel setting. On opening night, Pediped will sponsor a cocktail party for retailers and vendors.
Dates: Feb. 11-13
Location: Embassy Suites, Deerfield, Ill.
Notable new exhibitors: Ugg Australia
Highlights: For its February edition, MAX is shifting to a weekend schedule to better accommodate buyers. The show will present a wide variety of children’s shoes and accessories. Special events planned include a cocktail party, as well as a bowling night.
Dates: Feb. 14-16
Location: Mandalay Bay and the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas
Highlights: Magic will once again be split between two venues: the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, which will house Magic Menswear, Project, S.L.A.T.E, Premium, Street and Pool; and the Las Vegas Convention Center, which will house WWDMagic, FN Platform and Sourcing at Magic. While all the shows will feature a mix of shoe exhibitors throughout, FN Platform is the dedicated destination for the footwear category.
Dates: Feb. 14-16
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas
Notable new exhibitors: Brian Atwood, Calleen Cordero, Clarks, Dansko, Frank Wright, Georgina Goodman, Pikolinos
Highlights: Heading into its second year, Magic’s FN Platform has grown into one of the largest U.S. footwear shows, with more than 1,000 men’s, women’s and kids’ brands slated to exhibit next month. New additions will include a celebrity corner, a VIP area where several yet-to-be-announced stars will make guest appearances and meet with prospective partners about potentially launching their own footwear lines. The show will once again host a financial summit in conjunction with Sterne Agee. The opening night party, held on the show floor in partnership with the American Apparel & Footwear Association, will feature a cooking competition called “Shoe Chef” in which key brand and retail execs will create a shoe-themed dessert. “It’s kind of like [the ‘Iron Chef’ competitions] on the Food Network,” explained show VP Leslie Gallin. “The winner will receive money to give to their favorite charity, as well as to Two Ten Footwear Foundation.”
The Atlanta Shoe Market
Dates: Feb. 19-21
Location: Cobb Galleria and Renaissance Waverly Hotel, Atlanta
Notable new exhibitors: Bloch, Ryn, Fred Perry, Khombu, Le Chameau
Highlights: The Atlanta Shoe Market continues to see significant growth, with 3,000 attendees expected from across the U.S., Caribbean and elsewhere. “We’ve really been on the increase for the last five years, and our pre-registration numbers for retailers [for next month’s show] are up significantly from last year,” said Executive Director Laura Conwell-O’Brien. “We continue to add exhibit space and continue to be sold out.” The show is shifting to a Saturday-to-Monday schedule so as not to conflict with events including Magic and FN Platform. The Fashion Collection and Kids Shoe Box areas, both introduced last year, will return.
Fashion Coterie/Sole Commerce
Dates: Feb. 20-22
Location: Javits Center and Show Piers, New York
Notable new exhibitors: Atlanta Moccasin, M20, Paris House
Highlights: At the New York edition of Sole Commerce, storeowners can view a wide variety of contemporary footwear collections, alongside an eclectic ready-to-wear offering at companion show Fashion Coterie. “The event continues to be a great success and attracts the most relevant brands and retailers,” said David Kahan, president of ENK Footwear.
The Children’s Great Event Shoe Show
Dates: Feb. 22-24
Location: Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel, Elizabeth, N.J.
Notable new exhibitors: Reebok, K-Swiss, Nautica
Highlights: To better accommodate buyers’ schedules, the show has returned to its three-day format and will offer extended hours (until 7 p.m.) on Feb. 23. Organizer Allen Blum has re-merchandized the show’s two ballroom spaces to improve retail traffic throughout. “We’re setting up the show so that there will be certain important [vendors that are] draws within each area,” said Blum. “It gives the buyers a better view of what is available and ensures they don’t miss any area of the show.” In addition, hotel room exhibitors will be consolidated on a single floor. As part of Blum’s ongoing efforts to bring in more athletic brands, Reebok and K-Swiss will join the exhibitor lineup for the first time.
Shoe Market of Americas
Dates: March 13-15; June 26-28
Location: Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward Convention Center and Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Marina Hotel, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Notable new exhibitors: Diadora, Nayeli, Coolway, Braspiel, Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Garvalin
Highlights: While SMOTA alternated its location between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale last year, it will hold all four of its 2011 shows in Ft. Lauderdale. According to Executive Director Beverlee Maier, the show’s central location and cost effectiveness continue to draw a growing number of attendees. “In these tough economic times, regional shows have become even more important,” Maier said. “SMOTA is a strong writing show for both our domestic and international retailers.”
The Footwear Event
Dates: June 27-29
Location: Navy Pier and W Lakeshore Hotel, Chicago
Notable new exhibitors: Ugg Australia, Ara, Birkenstock, Birki’s, Wenger, Orthaheel
Highlights: The Footwear Event will feature an expanded exhibitor roster, with strong growth within the comfort and accessories categories, in particular. The once-annual show will offer a bulked-up conference program with specialized content focusing on the wellness, comfort, work and running categories. Keynote speakers will include retail consultant Jim Dion and marketing and advertising expert Kelly McDonald. For the second year, TFE will host the Art of Retail Awards, honoring retailers innovating in the areas of store design, advertising and promotion. Sister show The Running Event, geared to the specialty running market, will take place Dec. 7-10 in Austin, Texas.