Many of the exhibitors at the GDS show in Düsseldorf praised its earlier dates and its new concept, with its new layout and a clearer segmentation into three themed worlds, and the numerous other initiatives taken by the team led by Kirstin Deutelmeuser to re-engineer the fair and make more lively and exciting. The atmosphere was generally good, reflecting in part the relatively positive market situation in Germany.
Some exhibitors had to work hard to present their samples on time, but apparently they made it. The organizers are positioning the GDS as a comprehensive information platform for the medium and medium-high end of the footwear market, and 73 percent of the visitors surveyed said that this was their primary purpose. While some visitors wrote orders at the show, the majority apparently were there mainly to get an overview of the collections presented by some 900 different brands and to select those from which they may order products in the next few weeks for spring/summer 2015.
Naturally, the visitors were a little confused by the redistribution of the offer into different halls, and it will probably take a few seasons before they get used to the new dates. For the first time, the GDS show invited journalists to join them on a tour in the morning of the first day of the show. Together with the organizers, the participating journalists were able to meet the people behind the brands at the stands of Porsche Design, Belmondo, Bugatti, Lloyd, Kappa and Caprice, to watch the stitching of hand-made sandals at the Moypol stand, and to watch fashion shows organized by different brands, including Clarks, Camel Active and a Spanish collective. Some 100 other different events were held during the fair in the streets of Düsseldorf including an exhibition of giant shoes from Spain.
Placed right next to the GDS in different halls than the previous Global Shoes fair, the almost simultaneous sourcing fair, Tag it!, saw much less traffic than the Expo Riva Schuh show in June. The number of firms exhibiting there was up to 370 from 330 in September 2013, but some complained about the lack of new business. Messe Düsseldorf will readjust the format of Tag it!, and it will reduce the number of days from four to three and making it coincide again with the GDS.
Some of the brands that showed at Expo Riva Schuh in June were disappointed by the turnout of German visitors at the GDS, as they had already seen many of them already. One major international brand brought over mostly their salespeople and agents for the German-speaking and Benelux countries, gearing itself for a more international presence at theMicam in Milan, scheduled to run from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3.
Several exhibitors appreciated the quality of the visitors, who came from 100 different countries according to the organizers. Some indicated that they had seen fewer buyers from outside Germany, although they were surprised to see them coming from distant places such as Iceland or South Africa.
As with the more generalist Bread & Butter show in Berlin, which is going through a transformation as well, no figures were given for the GDS as in the past. A spokesperson said that she wasn't going to give the figures this time because the new GDS cannot be compared with the previous one. Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, president and chief executive of Messe Düsseldorf, said that a slight drop in attendance had been expected. He added that the visitors' response should be better next February because of satisfaction levels of 91 percent measured through the survey conducted at the show.
The next editions of the GDS and Tag it! will be held next year from Feb. 4 to 6 and from July 29 to 31. ANWR, the big German cooperative of independent shoe retailers is readjusting the dates of its house fairs accordingly, making them all happen after the GDS, but it will also organize a series of early regional order-taking workshops during the months of January and July.
Several other shoe fairs will take place in Germany after the GDS for the purpose of taking orders from fewer brands. Shoe Start in Leipzig, for example, was scheduled to present 114 collection by 64 suppliers on Aug. 9 and 10. On the same dates, Premium held its Premium & Pool Terrace Party in Munich at a new location. ANWR is going to stage a redesigned First Order show with 212 brands at its campus in Mainhausen on Aug. 19-21.
Meanwhile, some of the Berlin fashion fairs have confirmed that they will take place in the German capital, in spite of Bread & Butter's decision to move to Barcelona next Jan. 8-10, and they have announced their dates. Premium, Panorama and Bright are now scheduled for Jan. 19-21, 2015.