Positive feedback, despite fewer MICAM visitors
There were many good reports from MICAM exhibitors, in spite of another drop in footfall.
One advertising slogan used by a footwear company at this September’s MICAM show in Milan caught my attention above all others. It simply said: ‘I have enough shoes – said no-one ever’. This statement was backed up by the view of many exhibitors I spoke to during the event – that although the visitor numbers were slightly down, there was still a good level of business being done, with a respectable percentage of international buyers flying in for the fair.
Many thousands of new collections for the spring/summer 2015 season were showcased by 1,557 exhibiting companies, 617 of which were from outside Italy. Nevertheless, according to the organisers, MICAM closed with a total of 34,176 visitors, compared to 38,621 attendees last September and 41,085 in September 2012. The reduction in attendance has been blamed on fewer Italian visitors due to difficulties in the domestic market, and a significant drop in visitors from Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine.
The earlier date for this second show of the year had both supporters and detractors. Cleto Sagripanti, President of the Italian Footwear Manufacturers’ Association (Assocalzaturifici), reacted by announcing that the organisers will consider the positioning of the event in the second half of 2015, which might be slightly changed in light of the many suggestions and opinions expressed during the latest fair.
As in previous years, the MICAM fair was held in the Fieramilano centre, just to the west of the city. Exhibitors were housed in eight halls, divided into what were termed ‘luxury’, ‘contemporary’, ‘urban’, ‘active’, ‘cosmopolitan’, and ‘street’ categories. As befitting the seasons on display, bright colours – including gold, silver and glitter – abounded, and many designers took their cue from the sporting world by producing functional designs for women that intend to be both attractive and comfortable. Colourful printed textile uppers were evident around the halls, used on both flat casual shoes and high-heeled styles. Metallic prints in a variety of hues were also seen in many collections, as were a considerably number of shoes featuring cutout designs, indicating their continued popularity. For more formal women’s shoes, the medium heel has made a return, along with the pointed toe, while designers of men’s shoes seem to be continuing to revamp classic styles. Traditional black or brown shoes were available from the majority of men’s footwear producers at the show (in fact some of the more high-end manufacturers offered nothing else), whereas other suppliers had decided to introduce an increasing choice of strong or subtle shades.
There appeared to be an increase in matching bags and other accessories displayed alongside footwear collections, with a number of exhibiting companies focusing only on supplying bags of various shapes, sizes, materials and finishes.
Despite recent economic difficulties in Spain and Portugal, footwear manufacturers from both of these countries were very evident at this edition of MICAM. In fact, the Portuguese participation was the biggest ever – with 86 companies in attendance showing more than 100 brands – according to the sector association APICCAPS.
An issue that has long been at the top of Assocalzaturifici’s agenda has been the fight against counterfeiting of Italian shoes. This edition of MICAM introduced a new initiative – an anti-counterfeiting desk, which was opened in collaboration with the Financial Police as part of an agreement made with the Association. This provision was designed to reinforce the synergy between companies, through training and the sharing of information. It was also introduced to make the public aware of the importance of anti-counterfeiting initiatives.
Reaction to the show
How did some of the SATRA member companies exhibiting at MICAM appraise the event?
Steptronic Footwear is a regular exhibitor at the MICAM show, and David Corben, managing director of the UK-based company, said that he was pleased to have welcomed customers and other newly-interested visitors from such countries as Indonesia, Singapore, Sweden and a number of nations in the Middle East.
Jenna Aarons, events manager of the British Footwear Association, was enthusiastic about the positive feedback from visitors to the BFA stand, which displayed a collection of shoes from a number of UK companies under the banner ‘extraordinary British talent’. “This season’s MICAM was a great success for all our exhibitor members,” she said. “The show continues to give the BFA the opportunity to champion great British footwear brands to the world.”
According to Crockett & Jones’ sales director, Peter Reed, the show was as busy as usual. “We have seen all our major Japanese clients here – MICAM is where they normally meet,” he commented, and added: “‘Made in England’ is a growing reason why many overseas customers are buying high-quality footwear today.”
On the Van Dal stand, sales director Gordon McFadyen and marketing director Jason Larke were in positive mood about the results of their presence at MICAM. “‘Made in England’ is definitely a strong selling point when it comes to overseas markets,” confirmed Mr Larke, who added that at MICAM, the Norwich-based company had made good contacts with buyers from Western and Eastern Europe, Asia and South America.
Attendance figures at the twice-yearly MICAM show is clearly being affected by many factors, not least of all the ongoing economic pressure faced by many footwear manufacturers in various parts of the world, and the fall-out from some politically strained situations causing prospective visitors to stay at home.
Nevertheless, MICAM is clearly established as one of the most important footwear trade fairs in the world, and the directors at Assocalzaturifici are evidently taking steps to make the event as attractive as possible to both delegates and exhibitors. The next edition of MICAM is currently planned to take place in Milan from 15th to 18th February 2015.
This article was originally published on page 44 of the October 2014 issue of SATRA Bulletin.