While Micam is best known for its diverse mix of big global brands, the trade show also is supporting the next shoe stars in the industry.
For this edition of the show, which wraps up tomorrow, Micam brought together 12 rising names in Milan. The designers were selected by a jury of established footwear players, including veteran designer Ernesto Esposito and Sabrina Scarpellini, the co-founder of the Massimo Bonini showroom.
“We believe the new generations are extremely important. They represent the future of the footwear industry,” said Paolo Borghini, managing director of Micam.
Here are some of the up-and-coming brands to watch:
Heesung Choi, who previously had top design jobs at Public School and Rag & Bone, is now fully focused on her own shoe collection — Seven All Around. The New York-based designer, who hails from South Korea, is focusing on sustainability for fall ’19 — and a pair of recyclable boots were inspired by the Netflix documentary “Chasing Coral.” (The film documents the destruction of coral reefs around the world.) “I started doing research about new innovative materials and that really motivated me,” said Choi, who is also a diver. The boots are crafted from a material called Regen, a yarn made from recycled polyester and developed by South Korean company HyoSung.
China is no longer just a hotbed for footwear production. Now many of the country’s designers are making a bigger play for shoes with their own labels. King Ping, a Guangzhou-based brand crafted by Wang Ping, incorporates interesting material treatments — wovens, leathers and roping — on sneakers, boots and heels.
Frédéric Robert, who has worked for Dior, Kenzo, Hermes and Lanvin, is the designer behind Paris-based Me.Land collection. The made-in-Portugal unisex brand specializes in sneakers that play up both comfort and elevated styling. While Robert admits that the sneaker market is becoming more saturated, he’s confident that his brand can stand out. “Nike and Adidas are doing so many collaborations with [limited] distribution. I think that shows there’s room in the market for smaller brands that are doing something different,” said Robert, who is currently courting a major U.S. department store.
The label, which was created two years ago by the namesake Italian designer, emphasizes unique materials like fishnet that draws inspiration from Victoria-era bonnets and hats. Ruffles and bows adorn many styles, while artful printed pumps are embellished with pom-poms. Andrea Mondin is set to launch at Matches for fall ’19 and is sold in several U.S. independents.