Spring temperatures and all day long sunshine were a good omen for the first GDS shoe fair day in Düsseldorf. Till Friday, 800 exhibitors from more than 30 countries are presenting the footwear trends for the Fall/Winter season 2014-15. Exhibitors and visitors were in a good mood. Spring sales have started already and the current order situation for next season’s shoes and accessories is positive.
The first day started late in the morning and the exhibitor’s comments were less overwhelming. Still, the general frequency was okay in hall 3. “We have order appointments and expect all important retailers”, said Carsten Busche from Art shoes. Most orders are already placed. “We are happy and will have an order plus for Autumn/Winter”, said Lewin Berner, CEO of Sioux, in hall 6. GDS is the traditional fair for shoe retailers and a must-have date in their trade show schedule. Retailers are open for new fashion. Noticeable was a good response for the latest collections with new dark colors such as black, brown, grey and contrasts hues. Chunky XXXL heels are making a fashion statement and soles will have a grip and voluminous look. Chelsea boots, bootee pumps and high bootlegs are on demand, and over-knees show a revival. High quality leather, a clean look with shiny effects and antic finish are important trends. Biker boots with punk and rock details, with zippers and decorative clasps, and of course high top sneakers remain best friends.

Hot topic at almost every stand: the new GDS kick-off event from 30 July to 1 August, 2014.”We appreciate the earlier date of GDS”, said Lewin Berner, Sioux.  “Finally there is movement in the market”, said André Hamouda, Sales Manager Germany, from Shabbies Amsterdam. During the press conference Kirstin Deutelmoser, Director of the GDS, explained the three steps of the new fair concept. Tag it! by GDS presents a show for private label and offers sourcing in all key price and quality segments. GDS is divided in three sectors of shoes & accessories. “Highstreet” covers brands like Gabor, Wortmann Group, Ara, Sioux, Birkenstock, Unisa, Manas, Clarks, Skechers, Ricosta, Napapijri, Marc O´ Polo and others. “Pop-Up” is represented by brands like Replay, Pepe Jeans, G-Star, Dr. Martens, Wolverine, Keds, AS 98, El Naturalista and Fly London. The “Studio” covers premium brands like United Nude, Ash or Bikkembergs. The Düsseldorf-based “Out of the box” festival (August 1st, 2014) will present the latest trends in town combined with late night shopping, exhibitions and charity events.

On Wednesday, March 12, GDS hosted the HDS/L Awards. The German Shoe Prize 2014 (Deutscher Schuhpreis) was awarded to lifestyle shoe brand KangaRoos. The judges were convinced by the clean design and lighting effects of the basketball sneaker ‘Skywalker IV’, a joint project of KangaRoos and Viovio (the fashion brand of German rapper Cro).
The HDS/L Junior Award was given to Czech designer Barbora Augustinová for her sculptural black-and-white platform shoes.
In context of a glamorous evening event, the German-Turkish tv host Nazan Eckes was awarded “Shoe Woman of the Year 2014.”

Facts and figures

The traditional press conference of the Federal Association of German Footwear and Leather Goods Industry provided an overview about the economic situation of the German shoe industry. President Ralph Rieker welcomed the new future orientated concept and the earlier days of GDS. Concerning the retail situation Rieker said that shoe retailers are currently undergoing radical structural changes. New international suppliers with own production facilities enter and pressure the German market, online sales grow significantly and the number of shoe retail companies rises. Brigitte Wischnewski, president of the German Footwear Retail Trade: “We estimate the increase of internet based sales in 2013 to be 15 percent.” But Wischnewski is optimistic for 2014: In February, the business environment clearly improved and the shoe retail sector expects a nominal sales growth of 2 percent for this year as long as the weather cooperates. The nice spring weather brings hope.