Footwear brands and independent retailers have criticised new UK footwear trade show Sole Fashion’s decision to run on dates that overlap with Milan exhibition Micam.
Sole Fashion this week announced its new event will take place in Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on 16 and 17 February, clashing with one of the world’s leading footwear shows, Micam, which will be held at Fiera Milano between 15 and 18 February.
Some brands are concerned that both events falling over the same weekend will have a detrimental effect on footfall.
“The timing is certainly not perfect and less than ideal,” said the managing director of one footwear brand, showing at Sole Fashion.
“I’d rather they didn’t fall on the same dates. We are just hoping that it won’t have a major effect on visitor numbers.”
Gerard Levy, director at Primrose Hill-based independent Spice London and owner of GIL Agencies, said: “They’re pulling it together at the same time as one of the biggest shoe fairs in the world. The bread and butter of trade shows are the independents, so if we all head to Micam, then I’m baffled as to who will go.”
Charles Clinkard, managing director of footwear multiple Charles Clinkard, said: “We probably won’t be going because the show clashes with Micam. We’ll be going to Micam instead, as we think it is the best trade show.
“It’s a shame because the industry needs support, but it is currently saturated with trade shows. I’m not even sure if there is a future for them in this current climate.”
However, Clinkard did praise the low cost to exhibit at the show, which has been organised by Penny Robinson, former event director at Birmingham-based trade show Moda.
“The costs to attend and exhibit are much less than other trade shows and it only lasts for two days. Penny is listening to what people are asking for: reduction in time and costs.
“She has also already got several key brands on board, so she knows what she is doing.”
Brands signed up to Sole Fashion include Rieker, Josef Seibel, Hotter Shoes, HB Shoes, Hush Puppies, Gardiners, Bugatti Shoes and Rocket Dog.
Robinson told Drapers: “I chose these dates before Micam announced theirs and I haven’t been able to move them.
“The only issue we have is one of logistics: brands being in two places at once. Luckily, it’s only really a handful of brands that will be affected by it. We are not concerned about retailers because we feel not many go to Micam from the UK and Ireland. It’s annoying that we have to face this issue, but it’s really not seeming to look like a concern.”
All footwear brands will exhibit in the Ericsson Hall at the Ricoh Arena. Robinson said in future the show may expand to include clothing and accessories in other areas of the complex.