Experience is everything in fashion – and that sentiment rings especially true for Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags, a dedicated footwear and accessories market event held in the mountainous and resplendent 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 “dual identity” business and leisure destination, the 96e edition of its biannual event will take place from January 15 to 18 – a winter edition in person that features 300 Italian companies as well as a wide international selection and tens of thousands of brands, with 60% of products making their debut at the show from Germany, Spain, France, Portugal and Turkey.
And while Gardabags is a “young” exhibition – specializing in handbags and accessories – the Expo Riva Schuh has a long history with roots dating back to the 1970s. Its first edition took place in January 1974, and since , the event only grew exponentially, starting with 12 exhibitors to nearly 1,400 and more.
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 strongest selling points of the event. .
Alessandra Albarelli, Managing Director of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi (the company that organizes the exhibition, said that “Emerging markets, new production dynamics, new perspectives for the retail sector: the new edition of Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags faithfully reflects the ability of the footwear and leather goods sector, hard hit by the pandemic crisis, to react with new tools and to work together constructively for growth.
“In particular, innovation – in production processes, in products, distribution and retail – is the key word of this edition, which will be preceded by an online events program called Expo Riva Show – The Shoe Connection, ”she added.
The show’s organizers said innovation, sustainability and the consumer experience are the main themes incorporated into its programming, which will include seminars such as The Future of Sustainability; Communicate against greenwashing; Shopping changes and effective strategies; and redefine the non-price.
Support the “Made in Italy”
Paola Guida, Fashion and Beauty Division Head at Italian Trade Delegation, North America, told Fairchild Studio that her partnership to promote Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags is just one of many initiatives that the Italian Trade Delegation 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 exhibitions 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 channels. distribution in the United States and international markets.
“Last but not least, the Italian trade delegation 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 the United States. she added.
The main pillars of the winter 22/23 collections are centered on a “light exploration of creative boundaries influenced by new technologies and attention to nature”, which is guided by four themes: Preserving heritage through innovation; Combine authenticity and artificial choices; Discover the pleasure through the unexpected and the game; 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 but multifunctional look will prevail everywhere. And for shoes, which are highly valued in Italy for the quality of materials, techniques, traditional craftsmanship and creative solutions for the sector, flexible and voluminous uppers should be repeated for the winter season, as well as ‘a strong emphasis on boots, moccasins, sneakers, and a vague “après-ski” inspiration.
Show organizers told Fairchild Studio: “Quality is not an abstract concept. It is pure tangible concrete that we find in the precision of the cuts of the leather, in the fact of knowing how to measure every millimeter when making a model on paper, in the precision of the sewing, in the choice of good lines that give life to a shape. 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 refine knowledge and craftsmanship, and Italians have been making shoes for centuries with a passion that not only amazes the eyes, but the feet as well.
“What sets Italy apart 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 throughout the production chain. “, they added.
And after digitizing the event during COVID-19, those characteristics are once again amplified 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 Consorzio ATEA, declared that the Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags is “an opportunity not to be missed to know and relaunch the ‘Made in Italy’. In a difficult historical period like the one we live in, the greatest risk is to surrender to adversity. “
“Nevertheless, we must have the courage to attend these shows which allow our companies to meet the most important international buyers. Online events are a great innovative tool to sell internationally, but there is nothing like a fair to ‘touch’ the quality of Italian collections. “