GDS will kick off the second installment of its updated format on Feb. 4 with 900 brands showcasing Fall ’15 footwear and accessories, and an additional 160 exhibitors for private labeling. The three-day trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany is building on the success of the new concept introduced at the last staging of GDS last summer by adding more inspiring trend presentations, fashion shows and spotlighting up-and-coming designers in the luxury market.
As an international trade show, GDS director Kirstin Deutelmoser said there is always pressure to “keep the wheels in motion” in order to fulfill the evolving needs of the market.
Visitors to the February show will notice fine-tuning to the fair’s three lifestyle worlds (Highstreet, Pop Up and Studio), particularly in regard to atmosphere, Deutelmoser reported. Each theme world will have a more distinct character and ambiance that reflects its product. The Highstreet area will feature a larger lounge space and the Highlight Route——a defined path that leads guests along exhibition stands, special product presentations, fashion shows and events——will be presented more clearly. And rather than leading through the hall in a straight line, Deutelmoser said the GDS team worked to create more “suspense” for visitors, while offering additional inspiration and information to the route.
“We want to provide a broad platform to discover new trends, developments and innovations,” she explained. Part of that focus on trends includes improving ways to showcase each of the key trends in ways that add context. Creative installations along the route will break trends down by product as well as color and atmosphere to inspire the right mood for assortment planning, Deutelmoser said.
The Forum Touch, a space at GDS dedicated to materials, is buyers’ first look at major inter-seasonal innovations and materials. “On the one hand, visitors can feel and see important seasonal materials, but more importantly, it gives an overview of all kinds of materials, leather, textiles, embossing and prints available,” Deutelmoser explained. “As an information pool for retailers and manufacturers, Forum Touch is less about the end-product but about textures and surfaces the product is made of. Manufacturers, as well as visitors, get valuable information for sales talks and compiling assortments. These theme [areas] should assist retailers in filtering seasonal trends as well as get to know basic information about the products they are buying.”
Vamp caught up with Deutelmoser to learn more about how the industry is adjusting to the show’s refreshed format, new dates and why international buyers should make GDS a priority.
GDS is putting a lot of emphasis on trend stories with installations and fashion shows. Is the industry hurting by the lack of a must-have trend?
Deutelmoser: I don’t think so. Nevertheless, I think trends are very important for retail to get a certain orientation for the next season. But I think everybody has different expectation from footwear. Some people prefer wellness shoes, while others prefer high heels. In the market, there is something for everyone’s taste.
Why should buyers and manufacturers attend GDS?
Deutelmoser: With its new dates and the new segmentation into three lifestyle worlds, and a clear focus on detailed trend information, GDS kicks off the season and provides the perfect orientation at the beginning of the season. The response and vibes during the launch of the new GDS concept in July were simply outstanding. Members of the industry were very satisfied about the retailers’ openness and interest in new collections. They felt they still had some influence on order and budget decisions.
The feedback from the retailers was completely satisfying for my team and I. For retailers, GDS was the ideal kick off show for the season and the perfect venue to view collections and suppliers. This is a great feedback for our new concept. Early dates, the perfect stage for exhibitors for presenting brands and the perfect orientation at the beginning of the season make GDS the must-attend event of the season.
Is the show attracting international buyers?
Deutelmoser: Our exhibition portfolio is very international presenting 900 brands from all over the world. With our new segmentation into three lifestyle worlds we are adding a big value for the international visitors. We are quite satisfied with the participation of the countries close to Germany, but we strive to attract more visitors from overseas, especially the U.S., Japan, Canada and South America.
Have manufacturers and retailers adjusted to the new dates?
Deutelmoser: As I said before, I strive to attract more visitors from overseas. Even though the majority of exhibitors, as well as visitors, have welcomed the new concept, especially the new dates, one has to become accustomed to the fact that the trade fair made a major leap forward and takes place six weeks earlier. A change of mindset is not simply done within one season. It takes a while for visitors to get used to the change, especially when they have to organize the trip to Europe far in advance.
What are some of the special events planned for the February edition?
Deutelmoser: In my opinion, the Studio fashion show is already a favorite fixed event during GDS, while the fashion show in Hall 9 draws attention to premium collections. There will be other extraordinary shows happening on the catwalks in Hall 9 and Hall 4. I think the attendees very much enjoy the fashion shows. Another very special event during the trade show is the VIP event, slated for Feb. 4. The last VIP event in July was not only a great party, but also a meeting point for big players of the sector.
Last year, GDS added a press walk and Fashion Blogger Café. Are brands making the most of these events to promote their products?
Deutelmoser: The press walk, as well as the Fashion Blogger Café, ensured us very good media coverage, across both ‘traditional’ media and ‘new’ media. I need to underline that the press walk is a tailored tool for our exhibitors to present their brand and highlights, thus I am pleased to see that this concept of the press walk worked out very well for our exhibitors and therefore also for us. I just mentioned the Fashion Blogger Café which is also a very interesting add on for the show. For me, what it most important about this was the various young and aspiring trend presentations within this engagement into the social media channels.