Kirstin Deutelmoser and other officials of Messe Düsseldorf presented a new concept for the GDS fair, which was well received by exhibitors at the show. As previously reported, the GDS has already decided on an earlier schedule, in response to the changing ordering patterns adopted by most suppliers in recent years.

Basically, the GDS will extend its reach beyond footwear to include other fashion accessories such as handbags, belts, shows and caps. It will be divided into three new major segments to reflect different lifestyles, instead of the previous subdivision by functionalities.

The three segments will showcase the brands in individually designed “shopping worlds,” making visitors feel as if they were entering a different neighborhood of a big city. The three shopping worlds will be called “Highstreet,” Pop-Up” and “Studio.” They will take their inspiration from the shopping environment in three famous streets of London: Oxford Street, Neal Street and Bond Street.

The “Highstreet” area will host the major mainstream and international brands in relatively spacious stands, but some trendier brands will be admitted there, too. More creative spaces will be found in the “Pop-up” area, where edgier and more conventional brands will be housed in a setting resembling an open market. A minimalist scenery with a white hall architecture will the background for the more upmarket “Studio” area, where glamour and craftmanship will prevail.

The traditional distribution of the halls will change once again, as it did several years ago. The big Hall 6 will be closed, and the “Highstreet” area will mainly occupy Halls 13, 14 and 15 of the Düsseldorf fairgrounds. As a revisited version of the former “Design Attack” area, “Pop-up” will be housed in Halls 1 and 2.

One major novelty will be the guidance that organizers will give to journalists and visitors to tour through the fair in order to give “15 minutes of fame” to the brands, as the GDS' management puts it, suggesting that they have to communicate what they stand for more than in the past, for example by showing a new store concept.

Journalists will be offered a “Press Walk” on the first day of the show, highlighting the most interesting innovations, and fashion bloggers will be invited to communicate their impressions on the third day to the general public. Throughout the show, a pre-defined path, called the “Highlight Route,” will guide buyers and other types of visitors past selected stands, special product presentations, video walls, fashion shows and other events. There will be “action spots” for big and small brands. Media walls will be installed to present marketing campaigns.

Food and relaxing areas will be installed here and there. The organizers will also involve shoe retailers and others in the city of Düsseldorf in some related activities, including presentations by experts and exhibitions for consumers and other interested parties.

Messe Düsseldorf's management developed the new concept after talking to many exhibitors and visitors and after visiting other fairs around the world. They concluded that buyers wanted a general overview of the offer earlier during the ordering cycle for their orientation in making the best possible purchasing decisions.

Invited to the podium to express his opinion, Richard Kottler, president of the British Footwear Association, praised Messe Düsseldorf for its “courage and vision to relook at the market,” but he pointed out that the GDS will still have to compete with theMicam Milan, which is also working on a new concept of its own. It will be presented at a gala dinner during the March 2014 edition of the Milan fair.

Messe Düsseldorf's courageous decision to move its dates forward has in fact led to early dates for theMicam in Milan and for other fairs such as theMicam Shanghai. The latest to change its dates is Moda Made in Italy in Munich, which will take place next year on March 23-25 and Sept. 9-11, after the ANWR Fashion Days in Mainhausen.

In the fashion sector, the CPD show in Düsseldorf will take place from July 26 to 28 to be closer to the new dates of the GDS, set for July 26 to 28. With the Micam Milan taking place from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, TEC, the growing shoe agents' fair in Paris has brought its dates forward to Sept. 14-16. It hopes to capitalize on the drop in the shoe industry's participation in Who's Next and Première Classe in Paris because of its earlier July dates. It also hopes to attract new exhibitors from Spain and other countries.

Meanwhile, Messe Düsseldorf is also working on a new concept for Global Shoes, the simultaneous exhibition for Far East manufacturers. Stay tuned.