FN Platform Show Preview

Two years in, FN Platform has become the place to be for the footwear industry.

The fifth edition of the trade show, set to kick off on Feb. 13 in Las Vegas, will feature an expanded lineup of exhibitors, more footwear-only retailers and a beefed-up educational component.

“Footwear has been on such a hot streak. There is an amazing surge in energy and enthusiasm [among exhibitors and buyers] heading into this show,” said Chris DeMoulin, president of event organizer Magic International.

Leslie Gallin, VP of footwear for FN Platform and Magic International, added that each of the categories on the floor has expanded this season.

“There is a good balance of [newcomers] across all segments,” Gallin said, noting that this edition is attracting more international companies than before.

Among the notable first-time exhibitors are New Balance’s DryDock division, Isaac Mizrahi, Vince Camuto Men’s, Rachel Roy, SAS and Joya, among others.

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.

To make the show easier to navigate, each of the aisles will be named after streets — Fifth Avenue, for example — instead of using the numerical system from past shows.

“We’re always looking at how we can make the show more convenient, and this will make it very easy,” Gallin said.

Beyond the business of the show, FN Platform also will hold a number of special events, including the opening-night party, which will again feature Sin City musician Peter Monroy. Also at the gathering, the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America will give its first lifetime achievement award to Brown Shoe Co. Chairman Ron Fromm.

In addition, FN Platform will salute the British crowd with a special installation called “Wimbledon.” Another exhibit, in the InPlay lounge, will feature retro advertising campaigns dating back to the 1930s.

Other highlights include a celebrity appearance by “Dirty Jobs” host and TV personality Mike Rowe at 4 p.m. Monday in the CAT Footwear booth. On Tuesday, from 1-3 p.m., Skechers mascot Mr. Quiggly, the French bulldog that appeared in the company’s Super Bowl commercial last night, will be on hand in the Skechers booth, while NASCAR drivers Angela and Amber Cope will appear at the Luichiny booth.

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