GDS, the international trade fair for shoes and accessories, took place in Düsseldorf last week from September 5-7. The event registered a total of 22,500 trade visitors, less compared to the fair’s last two editions, which had 23,150 visitors in March and 24,000 visitors in September 2011. Friday was an especially quiet night, due in part to the nationwide Lufthansa strike that led to 141 flights cancellations to and from Düsseldorf.

President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf Werner Matthias Dornscheidt explained the situation, saying: “The massive disruptions in air traffic not only affected our exhibitors departure on the last day of the fair, but also prevented certain trade visitors from visiting GDS. One other reason was the summer weather; June and July were too cold and now the beginning of September is too warm. Many retailers are frustrated because of bad business over the last few days, as they would normally be selling more winter shoes and placing more direct orders. Because of the summer temperatures, however, there’s been no demand.”

Despite this and the fact that a reported one third of retailers are planning to reduce their order volumes due to the economic downturn, 879 exhibitors from 38 countries presented their collections for the spring/summer 2013 season. The demand for fashion was very high and 69% of retailers registered orders at the fair. Original retro and fashion sneakers came through as the most important trend for the coming summer with colourful hidden wedges also bringing in a very good response and orders from the mainstream market.

Another remarkable trend was color, particularly in neons, pastels, neutrals, nudes, blues, powders and shades of red and turquoise. As Michael Gerlach of Airstep explained, many retailers placed orders for single styles in a variety of colors. In terms of fabric, smooth nappa and suede continue to be the key while canvas has made a comeback. Embossed, glitter and printed material are also in demand once again.

Highlights of this GDS included the varied program of events and the numerous celebrities in attendance. One such event was the launch of Snipe’s first-ever traditionally crafted, 100% compostable leather shoe from star chef Tim Mälzer. Visitors also had the chance to meet Tim Mälzer, model Bonnie Strange and actress Julia Dietze.