Even though it was Election Day in Germany the 100th edition of the GDS shoe fair (gds-shoe-fair.com) in Düsseldorf (September 18 to 21), which began on a Sunday for the first time, had a good start. Sunday and Monday were its strongest days for attendance. In all, almost 38,400 visitors attended the show, and this number was stable compared to March 2005’s GDS attendance. This might be also due to the fact that GDS avoided an overlap with the Italian shoe fair Micam in Milan that runs from September 22 to 25.

GDS’s organizers offered a new structure at the show: Modern, Young and Global Sources were the three segments in which the 1,500 exhibitors presented their collections.

In the Young area brands such as Converse, Gola, Fly London, Skechers, Buffalo and Vagabond exhibited. In the same hall a special trend-fashion area for new and smaller labels was integrated. In the “Radio Bamboo” corner, which was decorated all over in Caribbean beach style, brands such as Le Temps des Cerises, Firetrap, Adelheid, Treble and Bass and Shani Bar showed fashion and footwear.

Opinions about this season’s GDS varied. Some exhibitors, especially in the Radio Bamboo area, were not satisfied with the visitor traffic. Other brands had very good traffic all day long. In general, however, most participants mentioned the great number of international visitors and the good organization of the show. Some buyers, though, complained about a lack of innovative and new collections.

Next year’s GDS fairs will take place from March 5 to 7 and September 10 to 12.

— Sabine Kühnl, Bureau Chief Germany