FN Platform Draws International Mix, Big-Name Brands

The sixth edition of FN Platform, which opens next Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center, will feature 1,600 brands — its biggest lineup to date. Exhibitor numbers are up 30 percent compared with last August’s show, while buyer registration has increased in the double digits.

“Footwear is driving the cash registers at retail,” said Leslie Gallin, VP of footwear for FN Platform and Magic Marketplace. “You are seeing every major retailer add considerable footwear square footage to their selling floors.”

FN Platform will feature a number of first-time exhibitors, including Loeffler Randall, Coclico and Hunter Boot on the women’s side and Moschino Men’s, Carlos Santos and Greg Norman Footwear in the men’s area. Special celebrity appearances include talk-show host Wendy Williams, who launched her shoe collection earlier this year, and well-known wedding planner David Tutera, who is introducing his bridal line with Antebi Footwear Group LLC.

Once again, the floor will feature six distinct product areas: Black Diamond for high-end designers; Cosmo for women’s fashion; Bond for men’s collections; Camp for ath-leisure and contemporary lines; InPlay for children’s and juniors’ brands; and Zen for comfort and wellness.

This edition also will be marked by a substantial uptick in international exhibitors. Companies from Japan, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Brazil and the U.K. will all have a bigger presence. (All told, overseas vendor registration is up 133 percent.)

“A few years ago, international companies had pulled away [from the American market], but now they’re recognizing that retail is a bit more robust in the U.S. than it is in Europe,” Gallin said. “Now is their opportunity to get into the marketplace.”

FN Platform will again highlight the British contingent with a “British Invasion Pavilion.” And several Japanese vendors will make their show debut. “There is a lot of innovation coming from Japan in the ath-leisure space,” Gallin said.

The trade show also is putting the spotlight on brands that are made in America — completely or in part — with special signage at the show and in the directory. “[Domestic brands are] a trend that’s been growing for the last several years,” Gallin said. The Americana theme will extend into other areas of the show, including the opening-night party.

FN Platform is beefing up its educational series, as well, with seminars that focus on topics such as the importance of vendor and retailer partnerships, the challenges and opportunities in China, and key strategies for success in the U.S. market. (For more on events, see the calendar listing.)

“We have put together some very topical seminars with well-informed experts,” Gallin said.

Finally, the show will highlight up-and-coming footwear talent at the “Future of Footwear Awards.” Ten aspiring designers from Pensole Footwear Design Academy in Portland, Ore., will craft footwear prototypes out of clay. Then, the industry will vote on the designs and the winners will get a chance to have their shoes made by Zappos.com.

Calender of Events

Modern Pulse Consulting Group Forum
3-4 P.M., Monday, Aug. 20
LVCC, South Hall, Room S230
A discussion on building a successful business in the U.S.

USRA Shoe’nited States Debate
4-5 P.M., Monday, Aug. 20
LVCC, South Hall, Room S232
A discussion of strategies for growing the footwear business.

Footwear Sourcing Options
9:30 A.M., Tuesday, Aug. 21
LVCC, South Hall, Room S232
Information on sourcing challenges affecting footwear brands and retailers, with a panel of speakers.

Meet the Designers
2-3 P.M., Tuesday, Aug. 21
FN Booth
Top footwear designers, together with FN editors, discuss the key trends of the industry.

Social Club
3:30-5 P.M., Tuesday, Aug. 21; 2-5 P.M., Wednesday, Aug. 22
FN Booth
Yuli Ziv, CEO and founder of Style Coalition, speaks the first day, with blogger and author Meghan Cleary the next.

Opening-Night Party
6:45 P.M., Tuesday, Aug. 21
FN Café

Sterne Agee Breakfast Seminar
8-9 A.M., Wednesday, Aug. 22
LVCC, South Hall, Room S230
Analyst Sam Poser moderates a panel on China retail.

Breaking Through the Clutter
11 A.M.-12 P.M., Wednesday, Aug. 22
FN Booth
FN editors and influential bloggers discuss social media.

Men’s Cocktail Hour
5-6 P.M., Wednesday, Aug. 22
Camp/Bond Lounge

FICE Cocktail Hour
5-6 P.M., Wednesday, Aug. 22
Cosmo Lounge

Footsteps Cocktail Hour
5-6 P.M., Wednesday, Aug. 22
Footsteps Lounge

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