Impression from the I.L.M (bag: Fossil, hat: Stetson)
Impression from the I.L.M (bag: Fossil, hat: Stetson)

14 Mar. 2012


I.L.M, the international fair for leather goods, drew a positive balance at its 136th edition, which took place at the fair grounds in Offenbach, Germany from March 10-12. 242 companies from 15 countries exhibited their collections of bags, small leather goods, business and school items, umbrellas, gloves, belts and other accessories. Organizers recorded a total of 5860 predominantly German visitors, pointing to an increase of 2% compared to the prior year.

Trend: Fury surfaces (Abro)
Trend: Fury surfaces (Abro)

Most of the exhibitors agreed that Saturday was the busiest of the three fair days. According to Sven Scheurer, managing director at bag label Aunts & Uncles, the bustle wasn't only due to meet-and-greet routines, but mainly to real business interactions. "There was such a run on the weekend, people could hardly get their feet on our stand and our clients were placing orders nonstop. Some even had to return another day as the booth was too crowded when they arrived,” the leather expert happily explained.
Not all areas of the fair seemed that packed, but the exhibitors generally appeared satisfied.

I.L.M Gallery
One of the trend topics was definitely color-blocking. Yellows were seen at Guess and Mexx, coral reds played a role at Fiorelli, neons were shown at the younger collections of Fiorelli London and Eastpak, and bags in spice colors could be seen at labels such as Fritzi aus Preußen and FredsBruder. Fake fur applications proved to be the trend of the season as well as shiny golden or glittery bronze surfaces and animal patterns. In terms of bag shapes, satchels and shoppers were amongst the most popular, accompanied by barrel shapes and small bowling bags.

Besides striking colors and patterns, many brands underlined the constant importance of timeless classics. Anna Roski of Calvin Klein Jeans was convinced that "black and brown classic shapes and business bags will always be crucial and make up a big part of our collection." Furthermore, heritage and vintage topics were as popular as ever. "Our clients still want soft and vintage-washed qualities," reported Christiane Ella Hartmann of Mexx Bags & Accessories.

Nominated for "Best in Fashion":
Nominated for "Best in Fashion": 'Bamboo' by FredsBruder
I.L.M presented their own fashion show at a rate of four times per day in the new location of the fashion pavilion at the fair’s courtyard. The leather goods trade show also hosted the I.L.M Awards and handed out six trophies and ten additional certificates to nominees in the following categories:

Best in Basics (winner: Picard for the collection ‘Principal’)
Best in Basics International (winner: Hedgren with their collection ‘Interchangeables’)
Best in Fashion (winner: Abro for their bags ‘Sofia’ and ‘Carlotta’)
Best in Fashion International (winner: W-Double You for their bag ‘Esmeralda’)
Best Intelligence (winner: Claudio Ferrici, Van Gils Leather for the bags collection ‘Fair Trade Original’)
Best Newcomer (winner: Boot-Bag)
Buyers’ Best (winner: Bodenschatz by Boschagroup)

The I.L.M Summer Styles will take place on the usual grounds on September 22 - 24, 2012.
Maria Hunstig

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