The new GDS – global destination for shoes & accessories – ended on Friday and has fulfilled the expectations of most exhibitors and the fair’s organizers. The new concept convinced: the earlier date proved to be a smart choice and the novel segmentation of halls into three theme worlds also worked out well.

A total of over 900 brands showed their collections for spring/summer 2015 and attracted visitors from over 100 countries, as the trade show management announced without stating any visitor numbers. However, the majority of exhibitors reported to mainly have met German clients plus a few Dutch or Austrian visitors.
Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, president and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf: “We were aware that the earlier date would go hand in hand with special challenges, which is why we expected visitor attendance to drop slightly. But we are confident that from February the response will be even better because in our visitor survey satisfaction levels were as high as 91%.”

Eddie Mackowiak and Kirstin Deutelmoser at the GDS party
Eddie Mackowiak and Kirstin Deutelmoser at the GDS party
Kirstin Deutelmoser, Director of GDS: “GDS is set to become the trigger for the new season and will, first and foremost, whet people's appetite for new products. Now it is important for exhibitors to present themselves perfectly because one thing has become clear after this event: due to the early dates of GDS many retailers will already decide at the trade show which suppliers they want to take into consideration for future orders and which they won’t. I was delighted to see orders already being placed at GDS.”

Most exhibitors were happy with the earlier date, despite the fact that some retailers (especially smaller ones) seemed unable to already decide on fixed orders at this point of time. “I am not afraid of the earlier date because I do my homework!” said José F. Morán of Ras. Sven Kunze of Havaianas even opted for an even earlier date: “GDS could even move two weeks forward – this way, we wouldn’t have this gap between Bread & Butter and GDS in Germany.”
Huge choice and lots of business at the Inuovo booth
Huge choice and lots of business at the Inuovo booth
Osman Doganer of Inuovo, who certainly ran the most crowded booth of all, said: “We are showing on all international fairs but the GDS is number one for us.” Andreas Linn of shoe store Linn in Speyer, Germany: “It’s my first time at GDS after four years and we are here to inform us. The fair has changed a lot and fulfilled our expectations.”
Outdoor exhibitors like Lowa, Teva and Viking were satisfied with the result. They all registered good frequencies: wellness and fitness is booming and flat comfortable soles are one of the most popular fashion topics. Most stands registered about 80 percent visitors from Germany and many missed international retailers. Not Mustang. Andreas Matheja, 2 Go (Mustang): “The fair was better than expected; we had international visitors from Scandinavia, France and Belgium at our booth.”

Popular: Comfort sandals, here at Marc O'Polo
Popular: Comfort sandals, here at Marc O'Polo

Amongst the most important trends for SS 2015 are sandals with profiled foot beds, sometimes in a cork look, sometimes leathered. Also high in demand were re-interpretations of classic espadrilles. These were presented with extravagant new uppers and a variety of soles – ranging from flats, 5 millimeters soles to eye-catching wedges, platforms and fancy profile soles.
Slip-ons everywhere, here at KMB
Slip-ons everywhere, here at KMB
Nearly each brand presented an own interpretation of slip-on styles: with leather, canvas or pony fur uppers, flat or with a platform sole, for men or women. There was also a wide variety of T-strap styles and of course sneakers in tennis and or summery canvas designs.
The newly designed Studio hall (hall 9) was received very well. The white booths, hosting middle to premium international shoe brands felt open and tidy while the more commercial Highstreet halls (hall 3-5) had a less clear structure. The Pop-up halls (hall 1+2) again convinced with a much more spacious structure and more street-/sportswear-oriented brands. Robert Puschmann, Select Trading:
"The new concept is open and roomy and not limited as it was in the past when you needed separate tickets for the different segments. The hall is lighter and the collections are illuminated better."
(Delicious) entertainment at Desigual
(Delicious) entertainment at Desigual
However, the traffic in general was a bit low. “A solid german fair”, commented a brand. A bit more entertainment could bring more life. But this is also something the exhibitors have to work on. Desigual entertained its visitors with fresh fruit, tapas and drinks and a happy hour with music. Another highlight was the GDS party at the outside hippie market. In a relaxed atmosphere shoe people were enjoying barbeque, drinks and fashion talks. On Friday evening the city of Düsseldorf was “out of the box”: the shops were open till 22 pm during the festival of shoes with life acts and entertainment.

At tag it! by GDS, the second new concept by the trade show, 370 manufacturers showed their private label shoe and accessories collections. The team in charge still sees noticeable development potential for tag it! by GDS. Kirstin Deutelmoser explained: “The basic idea is also on the right tracks here but regarding implementation we will analyze and re-adjust the format together with the industry after the event. The first measure already decided upon is that tag it! by GDS next time will also run for three days from Wednesday to Friday.”
The next editions of GDS and tag it! by GDS will be held from 4 to 6 February 2015 and from 29 to 31 July 2015.


Trends at GDS:

Most seen shoe shapes: Slip-ons, comfort sandals

Most seen colors: Metallics (gold, silver, copper) and white

Shoe style to watch: Jelly shoes (from boots to sandals), already a big hit in the UK (as seen at Ted Baker London or Lemon Jelly)

Most artistic collection: United Nude

Most crowded trade show booth: Inuovo

Best booth attraction: Tapas at Desigual, organic ice-cream at Marc O’Polo

Big hit: Jelly shoes, here at Ted Baker
Big hit: Jelly shoes, here at Ted Baker