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The Materials Show Puts the Future of Footwear in Focus

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This August, buyers, designers, and thought leaders in the footwear industry will mix, mingle and source material and components at the event of the summer: the Materials Show. Taking place one week apart on both the East and West Coasts, the semi-annual Materials Show is one of the most forward-thinking trade expos in the industry. Footwear designers seek out inspiration for upcoming seasons, and buyers source the practical components, textiles and processes they need to turn those designs into reality.

The footwear industry today is breathing a collective sigh of relief.

At their recent meeting at the G20 Summit, President Trump and President Xi Jinping agreed to hold off on imposing new tariffs and continue trade negotiations. This means the U.S. will not impose an added tariff of up to 25 percent on all footwear from China at this time. This is welcome news in the footwear industry.

“The threat of steep tariffs really highlights the necessity of having a diversified vendor base, which makes connecting to new vendors at trade shows more important than ever,” said Materials Show founder Hisham Muhareb, “Thankfully, for the time being, we can focus on making and selling products, instead of bestowing time and efforts to sourcing manufacturing from outside of China.”

More than ever before, this season’s Materials Shows in Portland, Ore., and Wilmington, Mass., are designed to position attendees and exhibitors at the forefront of what’s happening in the footwear industry. The programming kicks off in the Northwest on Aug. 13 with the Footwear Materials Summit. Presented by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) and the Materials Show, the third annual Footwear Materials Summit is the only event in the U.S. focused on helping professionals better understand current and emerging materials and development at an in-depth technical level.

Summit attendees will participate in sessions led by suppliers and professors with decades of material expertise. Materials and innovation leaders from top footwear companies will discuss current trends, challenges and best practices. Attendees tour textile development labs, learn about new materials, and explore how to better manage cost and quality issues.

During the Materials Show itself, buyers, designers, and company leaders alike attend the “Peclers Paris Trend Presentation” every year. Created by global design trend powerhouse, Peclers Paris, this in-depth presentation explores key socio-cultural and aesthetic influences uncovered through extensive research by Peclers’ massive network of international trend explorers. Peclers neatly summarizes the mindsets, desires, societal pressures, and other factors brands should expect to see exerting force on the market in the three to five years to come. Brands looking to anticipate what’s coming next will find Pecler’s detailed, highly visual summary invaluable for planning their design direction.

Other highlights of the Northwest show schedule include a presentation by Premier Vision Sport dedicated to the Active & Performance Sports Industry. The talk is titled “A Matter of Protection” and will reconsider the form and function of protection for sports and outdoor for Autumn/Winter 2020-21.

Attendees at both the NW and the NE Materials Shows will have access to a special presentation by the World Textile Information Network (WTiN). “An Overview of Graphene Technology for Smart Sportswear Applications” will explore the industry potential of the material graphene, which scientists have dubbed a “supermaterial.” Thinner than paper, but stronger than steel, graphene is poised to revolutionize the athletic and performance industries.

The week’s technical tours, discussions and presentations reflect the breadth of materials available to the footwear industry today. As Muhareb pointed out, “Today’s products are made of so many components and have gone through many processes. Apparel and footwear designers and product developers alike are always exploring the marketplace for new materials. Trade shows, especially the Materials Show vendors, offer them a large, fresh, and diversified collection of materials and components to choose from.”

In addition to its roster of new events and expert presentations, The Material Show is experiencing a boom in growth in 2019.

The show’s founding company American Events, launched its first Materials Show in the EU in London this Spring, bringing long-standing Materials Show vendors, and a few new favorites, to Europe for the first time. The EU launch encouraged buyers from major European labels like New Balance UK, Decathlon, Dr. Martens, Foot Soldiers, Nike Europe, Pentland and Clarks to visit the show for the first time, and drew in luxury brands, including Burberry and Sophia Webster.

The Materials Show is expanding in the United States, too, increasing its show floor footprint by 25 percent in the Northwest as it welcomes an exclusive offering by Première Vision Sport featuring vendors from Première Vision’s global fashion shows. Première Vision Sport will feature fabric mills, accessories and trims, high-performance materials and design studios in its selection of 50 vendors from around the world. Geared toward fashion and performance apparel designers, it’s a perfect complement to footwear for today’s increasingly popular active and athleisure markets.

The NW Materials Show will take place Aug. 14-15, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore., with pre-show programming beginning Aug. 13 with the Footwear Materials Summit. The NE Materials show at the Aleppo Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington, Mass. is Aug. 6-7. American Events anticipates even more exciting developments for the NE show when it moves to its new location at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston for its Spring show in 2020.

Make plans for the Materials Show today to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the footwear industry. Visit americanevents.com for more details and to register online.

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