The Düsseldorf shoe fairs GDS – International Event for Shoes & Accessories and Global Shoes for sourcing, Mar. 12-14, drew to a close on Sunday with great optimism and satisfactory results.

In total approximately 29,500 trade visitors used the three days of the trade fair to gather information on the F/W 10-11 season and place their orders in Düsseldorf.

Some 760 exhibitors showcased 1,750 collections for the fall season. Director Kristin Deutelmoser said: “Retailers have benefited from the long and cold winter. Their stocks are depleted and need to be replenished next winter. We felt optimism and a good mood.”

In the exhibition halls was a concentrated working atmosphere. The unanimous mood amongst many exhibitors was that buyers were in very jovial spirits and the talks they held struck a basic positive note that had not been felt for quite some time. They reflected an avid interest in new fashion details for the next season.

“All important retailers attended our stand,” insisted Michael Schmitz, Keds and Pro Keds, Germany.

Indeed, retailers were on the hunt for fashion and new styles, and most agreed it was a good show and were satisfied with the organization of the new hall and its open-concept stands.

Horst Wortmann, Managing Director of the Wortmann-Group, whose brands include Tamaris, s.Oliver, Marco Tozzi and Caprice, added: “We have had a really good fair and our stand was very well attended.”

Overall, authentic boots with vintage elements, rustic soles, used leather in oily and rough finishes were the top sellers. Warm elements like fur and textile were also important features. Over-the-knee footwear with flat soles, ankle boots with wedges and plateau soles decorated with rivets, buckles, zips and straps were in demand. Meanwhile, the best sneakers were different, with more leather and more style for girls.

“We see a great demand for natural features, authentic soles and handmade aspects,” said Susanne Ojeda-Moreno, Snipe Shoes.

Crocs offered comfortable boots and a new generation of house slip-ons.

The most successful day of the show was Friday, while on Saturday and Sunday the fair was less busy. Said several exhibitors: “All the important trade visitors came on Friday. We were missing a lot of important small shops." "For us the fair was quieter than last time,” said Reynier van Bommel, CEO Schoenfabriek van Bommel.

The late date of the fair was also a discussion point for retailers and exhibitors, but one thing they agreed on was that GDS remained an important event for placing orders.

Subsequently, to reflect changing market conditions, GDS’ Advisory Board decided to adopt a different sequence of exhibition days on Sunday. As of 2011, both trade fairs will now be held from Wednesday to Friday. The next GDS will be held from Sept. 10-12, 2010; in 2011 the exhibition dates will be Mar. 16-18 and Sept. 7-9.

—Lisa Dartmann