More than 600 Spanish and foreign companies already have registered to present their a/w 2006-07 collections at the 18th edition of SIPIEL (semanapiel.ifema.es), Spain’s footwear and leather goods international week, to be held March 23-25 in Madrid. This is about 4% more exhibitors compared to the number of exhibitors registered at the same time last year.

SIPIEL consists of two fairs: Modacalzado, the international footwear and leather fashion trade fair, and Iberpiel Marroquinerìa, the international leather goods trade fair. The former will celebrate its 10th anniversary during this next edition of SIPIEL.

The event attracts a large international contingent: more than 130 exhibitors are from outside Spain while 475 are Spanish. On the 32,000-sq.-meter (104,992-sq.-foot) exhibition area, the foreign companies present their products on 5,169 sq. meters (16,959 sq. feet).

Modacalzado will celebrate its anniversary with the participation of 525 exhibitors who will show women's, men's and kids’, youth fashion, sports and leisure footwear. About 121 foreign companies are expected, including important players such as Lottusse, Martinelli, Pons Quintana, Sara Navarro, Looky, Patricia, Barrats, Jaime Mascaró, Pura López, Romu’s, Kollflex, Salvador Sapena and Dorotea.

To mark the jubilee, SIPIEL will host, for the first time, CalzArte, a national photography competition based on the theme of footwear. The Cultural Foundation of the Footwear Museum of Elda (Alicante) in collaboration with the Photography School and Image Centre (EFTI) of Madrid and the Local Council of Elda will organize the event. Two of the jury's members are Ciuco Gutiérrez and Carlos de Andrés. On March 23, the first three winners will be awarded.

About 84 exhibitors – including brands such as Calvin Klein, Benetton, Superga, Jocar, Le Tanneur, Arcadia and Manía – have already confirmed their participation at Iberpiel Marroquinerìa, where they will present their collections of bags, belts, wallets and gloves.

Over the last five years, SIPIEL has progressed from attracting about 80 companies (March 2001) to a total of 220 companies at its last edition (September 2005), an increase of 144%. The increase in foreign participation is also reflected in the total number of buyers, which includes an increasing number of foreign ones. About 21,800 professionals attended the September 2005 edition. Of these, 3,928, or 18%, were foreigners. This was a 4% raise in foreign-buyer attendance compared to the prior edition.

SIPIEL will take place at the Juan Carlos I Exhibition Centre at the Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I.

— Barbara Stockinger, Editorial Contributer