Experience is everything in fashion – and that sentiment is especially true for Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags, a dedicated footwear and accessories market event held in the resplendent mountain resort town of Riva del Garda, Italy.
The event is organized in partnership with the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) and the Italian Ministry of Foreign and International Cooperation (MAECI).
Described as a destination with a “dual identity” of business and leisure, the 96and The edition of its biannual event will take place from January 15-18 – an in-person winter edition that showcases 300 Italian companies alongside a wide international selection and tens of thousands of brands, with 60% of products making their trade show debut from Germany, Spain, France, Portugal and Turkey.
And while Gardabags is a “young” exhibition – specializing in handbags and accessories – Expo Riva Schuh has a long history with roots dating back to the 1970s. Its first edition took place in January 1974, and since then the he event has only grown exponentially, starting with 12 exhibitors to nearly 1,400 and counting.
Its January 2020 show saw 38 countries represented in the production sector, with 1,086 international exhibitors and 102 home countries for buyers, with internationality being one of the event’s strongest selling points. .
Alessandra Albarelli, General Manager of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi (the organizing company of the exhibition), said that “Emerging markets, new production dynamics, new perspectives for the retail sector: the new edition of Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags accurately reflects the ability of the footwear and leather goods sector, hard hit by the pandemic crisis, to respond with new tools and work together constructively for growth.
“In particular, innovation – in production processes, in products, distribution and retail – is the watchword of this edition, which will be preceded by a program of online events called Expo Riva Show. – The Shoe Connection,” she added.
Show organizers said innovation, sustainability and consumer experience are key themes incorporated into its programming, which will include seminars such as The Future of Sustainability; Communicate Anti-Greenwashing; Purchasing changes and effective strategies; and redefining off-price.
Supporting “Made in Italy”
Paola Guida, head of the Italian Trade Commission’s fashion and beauty division, North America, told Fairchild Studio that her partnership to promote Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags is just one of many initiatives that the Italian Trade Commission trade leads to support Italian companies and encourage the internationalization and promotion of ‘Made in Italy’ products.
“In addition to communication activities dedicated to the fashion industry, including the development of the extractastyle.com platform, there are also participations in fairs such as Coterie and Chicago Collective. In addition, there are traveling roadshows in the United States dedicated to Italian fashion and footwear, but also delegations to major events in Italy such as Pitti Uomo, Micam and White to help Italian companies expand their sales channels. distribution in the United States and international markets.
“Lastly and above all, the Italian Trade Commission assists companies with a series of services and advisory and promotional activities specific to the needs of Italian companies to promote brand awareness and the presence of Made in Italy in the world and in the United States,” she added.
The main pillars of the winter 22/23 collections are centered on a “light exploration of creative frontiers influenced by new technologies and a focus on nature”, which is guided by four themes: Preserving heritage through innovation; Combine authenticity and artificial choices; Discover pleasure through the unexpected and play; and Warmth, taking shape in wools and leathers with earthy undertones.
For handbags, a “folk characterization” that speaks of a nature-inspired aesthetic and a more minimalist yet multifunctional look will prevail everywhere. And for shoes, which are highly appreciated in Italy for the quality of their materials, their techniques, their traditional craftsmanship and their creative solutions for the sector, soft and voluminous uppers should be repeated for the winter season, as well as a strong emphasis on boots, loafers, sneakers and a vague après-ski inspiration.
Show organizers told Fairchild Studio, “Quality is not an abstract concept. It is pure concrete tangible that we find in the precision of the cuts of the leather, in the fact of knowing how to measure each millimeter during the realization of a model on paper, in the accuracy of the seams, in the choice of the right lines that give life to a form. Details that decide whether a shoe is beautiful or not, comfortable or not, etc.
“These skills, and many others, cannot be improvised. It takes centuries to hone knowledge and craftsmanship, and Italians have been making shoes for centuries with a passion that not only marvels the eyes, but the feet as well.
“What distinguishes Italy in the footwear segment is the fact that the advantages of its offer are not isolated elements or attributable only to certain companies (as is the case in other countries of the world), but are characteristics present at all levels of the production chain,” they added.
And following the digitization of the event during COVID-19, these features are being amplified again for attendees in an in-person format that allows for a fully immersive experience with the products and the industry as a whole.
Francesco Palandrani, president of the Consorzio ATEA, said Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags is “an unmissable opportunity to get to know and relaunch ‘Made in Italy’. In a difficult historical period like the one we are living through, the greatest risk is to give in to adversity.
“Nevertheless, we must be brave enough to attend these fairs which allow our companies to meet the most important international buyers. Online events are an excellent and innovative tool to sell everywhere internationally, but nothing like a fair to “touch” the quality of Italian collections.