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Q&A: Catching Up with UBM Fashion President of Footwear Leslie Gallin

The ways shoes are made and sold have diversified, but the importance of networking has gone unchanged. And FN PLATFORM, taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center this week, provides that setting.

With a robust line-up of seminars covering hot topics like sustainability and independent retail, and a host of show floor speakers, the twice-annual event sets out to help brands and retailers connect to build a stronger industry for the future.

Here, UBM Fashion president of footwear Leslie Gallin shares with Sourcing Journal what’s new for Spring ’19, and what’s out.

Sourcing Journal: What affect do you think streetwear will have on Spring ’19 footwear trends?

Leslie Gallin: I believe the trend will continue to drive casual styling.

SJ: What are the key trends for men?

LG: Here is where it is exciting: We see a dressier athleisure shoe emerging. We see men taking more interest in their appearance and thus into the head-to-toe look.

SJ: What are the key trends for women?

LG: We see mules—both heeled and flat—and the sock boot. The trend for women is looking like lower heels and a desire towards a comfortable attitude in the fit. We are seeing those styles which are embellished, highly styled, feminine and unique selling fast.

SJ: What are some styles that are falling off your radar?

LG: Four or 5-inch heels. For now, they are not looking chic. What I think looks fresh now are booties, sneakers and mules with dresses. It keeps the styling a bit more casual and less serious.

SJ: What is exciting you the most about footwear these days?

LG: I am excited about seeing the talent coming from Europe. Currently, we see many brands that are coming out of Portugal. Portugal has been under the radar, but [the country] offers quality craftsmanship, sophisticated style and great price points. We’re looking forward to our attendees discovering some of these brands at FN PLATFORM’s ‘Made in Portugal’ showcase.

SJ: What has been the “peak” and “pit” for the footwear industry so far this year?

LG: This is a tough one. The industry is going through a revolution, not just a disruption. It feels like we are in the midst and hopefully closer to coming out on the other side with clear direction. The most important thing people in the industry can do now is network. Being at an event like FN PLATFORM is so important. It is the one venue, twice a year, for the majority of the industry to come together and begin to forge direction.