The first day of US footwear fair WSA was steady but WSA Collections, the designer sub-show, served up an exciting array of product.
However exhibitors were cautious on opening day due to the date clash with next week’s Micam footwear fair in Italy.
With some retailers opting out of WSA to head to Micam, which kicks off on February 26, Fred Perry footwear global sales manager Tim Phipps said he expected some of his US customers to skip WSA because of the tight time window to get to Milan. He said: “The date clash has had an effect because many of the big buyers have gone to Micam. Accounts at that level of buying would rather take a trip to Milan.”
George Taveras who distributes luxury footwear brands including Jour Nuit and Claudio Merazzi added: “The show will be good but for the smaller brands the clash has been hard. To make another set of samples for two shows is difficult for smaller brands.”
However, a WSA spokeswoman said that the crossover would be a one off. “We have spoken many exhibitors who have had a great day today, but others have had a different time to usual WSA experience due the date change. This is a one off. As from the next show dates will move back usual cycle.”
US buyers made up much of the footfall today as expected however UK buyers from Office and Kurt Geiger were out in force.
UK independents were thin on the ground but numbers are expected to pick up as the show continues.
Positive noises came from the US visitors and many of the brands in WSA Collections were writing orders. UK brand Strutt Couture has brokered a deal with a North American footwear distributor Fashion Laboratory to represent them in the US from next season.
At WSA Collections, fur and feathers were dominant as were shredded leather pom-poms and fringing. Wine tones such as burgundy and berry were the key colours alongside a strong white theme. Heels are chunky here and squared off or alternatively they are towering stilettos on a double-layered platform sole. Flats are still prolific but boots were hard to find except from US brand Sigerson Morrison who were fully backing the trend for autumn along with Korean label Ginny Kim.
Laura Weir was reporting from Las Vegas.