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Comment: 'Must-attend' Micam lures the footwear world

More from Micam: Drapers’ pick of the best brands

The autumn 18 edition of Milanese footwear trade show Micam (11-14 February) flourished this season as it mopped up exhibitors and buyers from the demise of Düsseldorf show GDS.

As usual on Micam’s first day, Sunday, there was a steady stream of smaller independent buyers and Italian retailers, and some brands noted that it was busier than previous editions.

Monday and Tuesday are usually the busiest days of the show, and, although Monday morning got off to a slower start, exhibitors were not disappointed as the crowds made their way through the halls by lunchtime. The bulk of UK buyers arrived on Monday, including teams from multiples Schuh and Jones Bootmaker.

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Meanwhile, international buyers were out in force, and there was a strong showing from Japanese and Russian visitors. Several brands stressed the importance of Micam for connecting with both new and existing accounts from around the globe. 

The final edition of footwear trade show GDS took place in Düsseldorf last February, so this season some brands made the transition to Micam, including Josef Seibel, cementing the Milanese show’s position as “the place to be” for footwear in Europe.

Some brands complained about the clash with Las Vegas footwear show Platform, on 12-14 February, as smaller labels were forced to choose between the two exhibitions. UK trade show Pure London was also taking place at the same time, 11-13 February, although this clash caused less friction.

There were a few changes to the layout of the show for the autumn 18 edition. The popular luxury area was back but Prada and Gucci were in not in attendance. However, Ermenegildo Zegna and Moschino were prominent, and the former’s LED-covered stand really caught the eye. 

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A strong area dedicated to emerging brands was new and clearly signposted, and there was a good mix of women’s, men’s, urban and more formal styles on display.

The international designers section was removed this season, and the brands were instead mixed throughout the vast halls. 

In terms of trends, athleisure-inspired styles were dominant once again, and several brands showed a twist on the classic sneaker with neon brights, unusual textures or new silhouettes. Velvet fabrics and pearl or jewel embellishments were also popular for women’s footwear, still showing the influence of Gucci on the industry.

Overall, the mood was buoyant, and several exhibitors praised the busy aisles and quality of buyers in attendance. Micam has successfully capitalised on GDS’s closure and remains a must-attend event for any European brand or buyer serious about the footwear industry.

The mood at Micam

Peter Youell, managing director, Skechers

“The first day was mainly the local Italian market. We see a lot of Brits in Micam, and a few from Ireland too. We don’t write those orders here, though – we do most of our business in our regional showrooms in Manchester and Belfast. We’ve been selling since December and it’s been really positive. We sit between casual and athleisure, and that puts us in a really good spot in the market.

Kat Maconie, owner, Kat Maconie

“It has been a good show for us. We’ve had a lot of appointments booked, so that helps. We are usually in the designer section but they got rid of that this year, so it’s a bit different. We see a lot of Asian, Italian and Russian buyers here.”

Leana Moss, international business development manager, Pentland Brands’ lifestyle division, showing Ted Baker

“This show is great. The one in September is a bit late for us. We’ve seen a lot of German customers who have come here since GDS has closed. We see a lot of European buyers here, but not as many UK buyers.”

Joseph Szopa, sales manager for Europe, Joules

“It has been quite busy. We see customers from all over at Micam, especially European key accounts such as Zalando. We had people from Finland, Japan, Russia, the Netherlands and Poland on the stand. The show has real momentum and is really starting to build.”

Belinda Robberts, wholesale assistant, French Sole

“Micam is normally really busy for us. We see a lot of our regular customers here, as well as usually picking up a few new accounts. On Sunday you tend to see a lot of independent buyers, then the bigger guys on Monday. We have had buyers from Japan and Russia on the stand, but not so many UK buyers.”

Demi Williams Smith, account manager, Shellys

”It’s been good so far. It started very quiet on Sunday, but once 11am hit people started flooding in. We’ve had a mix of new and regulars from all different countries, as far away as Korea. We’re also showing at Platform in Las Vegas, and we have another team out there. I feel like a lot of people might be upset about the clash.”

Jason Larke, marketing director, The Florida Group, showing Van Dal

”Micam starts quiet and then people filter through. We’ve seen both new and existing clients from as far as Malta and Japan. After GDS finished, Micam is now the centre of activity. There was a bit of a vacuum for a couple of seasons but now Micam is the place brands need to be. Now that we have a store, which has been open for almost a year, we’re trying to use the learnings from that for when we work with independents.”

Moema Pimentel, managing director, Ghetz, showing Anatomic & Co

So far things have been really good. The visitors have been very diverse: new and old customers, and internationals from the Middle East and Australia. We’ve been doing Micam for 13 years, so there are always ups and downs, but the last two or three years have been really steady and strong. Now that GDS has stopped, people see this as the place to show. Most brands had a difficult time last year. It’s early days, but this year people seem to be seeing an improvement and feeling positive.

Alan Pringle, managing director, Barker

It has been a good show for us. We wrote our first order at 9.32am on Sunday morning, so that was a good start. We saw a mix of new and existing customers, including Japanese, Korean, Russian and German buyers. Our international customers are starting to pick up some of our more colourful styles, which is great to see.

Marc Husted, sales director, Base London

It has been steady. We have our Italian and French agents here, and they were writing orders, so that’s great. Platform in Vegas being on at the same time is a shame, as some of the bigger European guys such as Zalando have gone there instead. Export is now 58% of our business, so Micam is really important for us.

Jonathan Church, joint managing director, Joseph Cheaney & Sons

You have to judge over the three days as a whole, and it’s been OK for us so far. I like what they’ve done with the luxury hall: they’ve shaken the design up and it looks nice.

We’ve seen a mix of old and new clients. We don’t always sell at this show, we often meet people here who follow up afterwards, particularly the Japanese buyers. That’s the way that trade shows work these days though.

Asim Rahat Siddiqui, director, London Brogues

The show has been good. We’ve seen some big international players from the US and Korea and we’re expecting to see more of the Brits, as well as more buyers from the US and Canada. This is a very good show for us. Things are going well and we’ve had a very good start to the year. Brexit is still the first question for international buyers – people want consistency and flexibility.

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