While proceeding swiftly with the organization of next November's World Footwear Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Grupo Couromoda is launching a new fair for fast fashion, to be held on Oct. 26-28 in the Expo Center Norte fairgrounds in São Paulo. The organizers have rented 7,000 square meters of net space for this first session of the new show, expecting around 180 exhibitors, including some important shoe brands such as Jorge Bischoff.

Called São Paulo Verão + Pré-Coleções, the new fair will serve to some extent the same purposes as Expo Riva Schuh for the rapidly growing and maturing Brazilian market. It will act as a preview of some of the fall/winter collections of clothing, shoes and accessories that will be presented at the larger Couromoda fair at São Paulo's Anhembi fairgrounds on Jan. 16-19 and at other fashion fairs. It will also help Brazilian retailers in their reorders for their spring/summer 2011-12 season, including the important pre-Christmas period (the seasons are inverted in the southern hemisphere).

Such a trade event is particularly welcome in Brazil, where many shoe retailers tend to place orders for delivery within 30 to 60 days to their suppliers. Combined with Brazil's high import tariffs, it's a situation that makes it difficult for foreign companies to do business there. The negotiations over a bilateral trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosul for the reduction of import tariffs, which is apparently stalled because of the demands of the European agricultural lobby, will be one of the subjects of discussion at next November's World Footwear Congress, organized by the European shoe industry federation (CEC) with the operational assistance of Couromoda.

Officials of Couromoda are revising upward their expectations for the number of delegates that will attend the World Footwear Congress next Nov. 7-8. Some 400 industry executives, government officials and consultants will probably register for the convention at the Sofitel Hotel at Copacabana, on the Atlantic Coast of Rio, half of them from Latin America and the balance from other continents. The registration fee is going up after July 31, and it will be even higher from Sept. 1.

Couromoda has a lot of experience in the organization of conventions. Each year, it manages to pull some 800 retailers to attend an interesting one-day convention on the eve of the Couromoda fair. Besides the beach, high-level entertainment, cocktails and numerous other opportunities for networking, the World Footwear Congress will feature an exceptional roster of speakers including Thomas Bata, chief executive of the eponymous company, and the top executives of other shoe companies from all over the world including Arezzo, Beira and Vulcabras from Brazil; Fratelli Rossetti from Italy; Church & Co. from the U.K.; Brown Shoe Co. from the U.S.; Cortina from Belgium; Farida from India; and Flexi from Mexico. The shoe industry associations of China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the U.S. will also be represented on the podium, among others. Well-known consultants such as Alberto de Castro from Portugal and Peter Mangione and Steve Lee from the U.S. will also make presentations.

One day later, on Nov. 9, the International Council of Tanners will stage the first World Leather Congress on the same premises, bringing together over 300 experts and decision-makers. Couromoda, which will again act as the organizer on the field, is offering a 20 percent discount on the registration fee for the World Footwear Congress to those who will also attend the World Leather Congress.

Industry officials are wondering now where the next World Footwear Congress will be held, probably in 2013 or 2014. The event has already taken place twice in Brussels and once in Spain. There is pressure to hold it in China, Italy or the U.S. The management of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, which organizes the Expo Riva Schuh show and several other trade fairs and conventions, is pleading to host it in the nice Italian city, which is reknown for its hospitality.