I admit, my skepticism was great when I took the trip to Düsseldorf to attend the new Gallery Shoes trade fair earlier this week. I had February’s sad final edition of GDS (RIP) in mind and wondered, like many people in the industry, if this new successor footwear event on the Rhine would be a worthy replacement of GDS.
Well, the first Gallery Shoes immediately allayed those fears and was definitely a step in the right direction. The new show has opened a new, refreshing chapter: a great, bright, open location with open booths and good frequency. It’s frankly no comparison with the dusty GDS.
Exhibitors and visitors unanimously praised the atmosphere in the old factory halls on the site of Böhler, which according to organizer Ulrike Kähler, project director at Igedo Company for Gallery Shows, were booked with about 500 labels to the last square meter.
The new format scored with a compact structure, short distances and good orientation but some visitors and exhibitors criticized the parking situation–so there is, as with any show, still room for improvement. However, most who attended were happy with the frequency and the full order blocks. According to Stephan Krückemeyer of Schuhmanns, the presence in the cost-benefit factor was also worthwhile for smaller brands. It was also the right date. "With the earlier date in January and July, we had problems to finish our collections, this time it is perfect for us," he said.
Retailers also welcomed the timing. Sabine Bracke from Navo! Fashion & Accessories, Kamen said: "The time is exactly right, but it should not be later."
Contrary to the standard fashion world, Gallery Shoes is by not the end of the footwear order season. For brands and buyers a few appointments will be available in the next few weeks, from the Micam to Essence in Munich, until the end of October. And as if that were not enough, there are constant announcements of new formats such as, for instance, the European ShoeShow, which was canceled after unsuccessful premiere this June, or Primetime.shoes by Messe Frankfurt that will run next January.
That said, Gallery Shoes got off to a very nice start and one can only hope it continues to step up.
For those who didn't make it to the show this is our rundown of the latest trends and best styles we saw there: