FN Platform Adds New Lounges and Exhibits

FN Platform is elevating the show experience this season. Interactive exhibits, expanded culinary choices and an easy-to-navigate show floor offer attendees a hipper, more engaging event.

“Everything is changed,” Leslie Gallin, Informa’s president of footwear, said about the show’s move to the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is closer to the WWD Magic apparel event.

The developments come as Informa, the world’s largest business-to-business trade organizer following its purchase of UBM in June 2018, plans to invest $15 million over the next three years to fuel growth in its fashion portfolio.

Gallin added, “It feels tighter, more vibrant, colorful and more open. We’ve gone from black and white to Technicolor.”

The positioning of the show closer to WWD Magic will give retailers a chance to discover new clothing trends that coordinate with fall ’19 footwear styles.

“It will enable buyers to shop apparel and footwear with an efficient use of their time,” she explained. “The change of halls made sense, as North and South are the exact same size, allowing for a seamless transition.”

(Manufacturing and sourcing vendors will now all be in the South Hall and will show alongside the rest of the Sourcing at Magic exhibitors.)

The show’s key improvement is the floor layout, which now features a main boulevard.

“It’s more user-friendly and inviting,” said Gallin. “Even the lounges have taken on a fresh look, with new colorful furnishings.”

According to Gallin, the show will continue to feature product neighborhoods including  Cosmo, women’s fashion footwear; Black Diamond, luxury women’s footwear; Bond, bespoke and advanced contemporary footwear for men; Camp, men’s and women’s casual lifestyle and advanced contemporary shoes; Zen, comfort; and Play, juniors’ and children’s product.

Joining the event for the first time is a contingency of shoe and handbag manufacturers from Africa under the umbrella of the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub.

“Ethiopia is making some amazing footwear,” she said. “It’s an eye-opener for retailers and manufacturers.” Jordan Saliman, footwear export adviser for the group, explained: “With the industry always looking for new opportunities for sourcing, and the uncertainty of some countries because of tariffs and quotas, the AGOA [African Growth and Opportunity Act] duty-free program represents an opportunity for consideration.”

Show management is also committed to making the shopping experience more relaxing. Coffee and donuts will be available free of charge at the entrance each day. To maximize buyers’ time, there are expanded on-site lunch options featuring a trio of cuisines including street tacos and salads, and Chinese and American fare. Rounding out the offering are a range of concessions in the lobby. In addition, said Gallin, rolling carts will canvas the floor with food for sale while food trucks will be parked outside.

As the industry looks to the future, Pensole Design Academy is giving vendors and retailers an opportunity to engage with rising talent in the footwear and apparel industries. “We’ve shown at FN Platform for the last five years,” said Pensole founder D’Wayne Edwards. “To date, we’ve had more than 50 students secure full-time contracts or internships from their work being displayed at FN Platform.”

Pensole will showcase its Footwear, FAAS (Functional Apparel and Accessories Studio), MLab (materials) and Concept Shop.

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