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Industry News

South African & East African Footwear and Leather Goods, Leather and PPE industry news.

Stepping up the sneaker game

Published: 30th Jan 2017
Author: Graeme Katz; Katz Footwear
Johannesburg, SA – Finally, a footwear trend that is gender neutral and comfortable – we, at Katz Footwear, could not be happier. The sneaker revolution has brought health and fitness back on the priority list of our busy lives. It is now trendy to be fit and trendy to be a real sportsperson but most of all: it is trendy to wear clothes that indicate you have either one of those in your lives. For those who just love luminous synthetic clothing and bright sneakers.
Katz Footwear has unleashed all of its energy to bring you the all-new athleisure brand: WILLOW (R).  This first collection is bursting with style, comfort and endurance. 
Do more with less seams: We've aimed to reduce the number of loose pieces stitched together to make the upper. Majority of the upper is made from woven Nylon. All this lightens the shoe and gives more unobstructed flexibility to the midfoot while walking.
Walk farther with light weight phylon soles: The soles are made of compressed EVA pellets and then heat expanded to close off all air bubbles. These are light weight, flexible and incredibly durable. We are also able to achieve a variety of beautiful colours using this material.
Gravity Cushion inner sock: Comfort is important to us because it allows you to wear the shoes and keep doing what you do for longer. Every single pair of WILLOW sneakers will contain Gravity Cushion socks- a clever combination of latex memory foam and neoprene. Over time, the inside of shoe starts taking the shape of your foot and each stride becomes easier. 
The WILLOW Collection is available now for pre-order from any Katz Footwear representative. Orders will be filled from March 2017. Available in Mens' and Ladies' sizes. 
Katz Footwear will be supplying display and other marketing equipment to our retailers stocking WILLOW.
Watch this space for the new developments in the children's department. 

End of an era: New organiser for GDS

Published: 30th Jan 2017
Author: Cathrin Imkampe; Messe Düsseldorf

After several years of efforts to reformat GDS, Messe Düsseldorf will transfer running of the fair to the Igedo Company after the February edition. Igedo, also Düsseldorf-based, specialises in fashion clothing fairs.

Düsseldorf (Germany) – GDS will be held for the last time at the Messe Düsseldorf site from February 7-9. After this the Igedo Company will act, on behalf of Messe Düsseldorf, as the organiser of the shoe trade show. The new concept kicks off at Düsseldorf’s Areal Böhler venue in late August / early September 2017.
Over the past few years GDS and tag it! have been elaborately redesigned in close cooperation with the shoe sector. Although there was a great deal of support for the new concept from all sides, the expectations made of the new GDS have not been fulfilled.
Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, President & CEO at Messe Düsseldorf, attributes this to the changes in the shoe sector: “The sector has radically changed over the past few years and the pace has picked up again. The major event that GDS has been for over six decades, no longer seems to be the right format for the current challenges within the shoe sector. For this reason we are now taking consistent action with new responsibilities and a new venue.
“My thanks go to the great GDS and tag it! team headed up by Kirstin Deutelmoser, who have been committed to our shoe trade shows with great dedication and many innovative ideas.”
Kirstin Deutelmoser also sees switching the footwear trade show to the Igedo Company as an opportunity for the sector: “The market is acting ever more dynamically and requires a completely new solution. This can only be successful if it can be fundamentally rethought without having to take existing structures and traditions into consideration. For this the Igedo Company is the ideal partner. My thanks go to all our customers, many of whom have been at our trade shows for decades, and the numerous supporters who have been at our side with advice to bring our concept to life. I hope they will use this chance for new beginnings at the shoe trade show.”
After the February event Messe Düsseldorf will transfer its responsibility for its shoe trade show to the Igedo Company.
Igedo managing partner Philipp Kronen is looking forward to offering the shoe sector a new home at Areal Böhler: “I am confident the sector will look favourably on a new concept at such an emotionally charged location as Areal Böhler. Furthermore, we have an experienced project manager in the form of Ulrike Kähler who will rise to the challenge of a redesigned shoe fair. After all, she has already proven with Gallery Fashion how a good orders show works at Areal Böhler.” 
Details on the new shoe trade show will be released by the Igedo Company as part of GDS in February. – []

EAC proposal for duty-free footwear rebuffed

Published: 30th Jan 2017
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor
Johannesburg (SA) – SAFLIA has so far successfully lobbied against a proposal by the East African Community (EAC) that footwear trade between it and South Africa through the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) be zero-rated. Following ongoing negotiations at NEDLAC, the standard 30% duty, which applies to all footwear imports, remains in place and SAFLIA requested that the SACU’s report on the proposal lists footwear as “sensitive”.
        The duty on imports of raw, crust or tanned bovine or equine hides and skins from the EAC into SACU remains at 10%, “subject to negotiations”, according to the SACU report. Ostrich leather, which carries a 30% import duty, is labelled as “sensitive” by SACU.
        Leather goods are not mentioned in the report.
        “It’s not the EAC’s own manufacturing industry that concerns us,” SAFLIA executive director Jirka Vymetal said. “For instance, we’re aware that Chinese manufacturers are growing in Ethiopia and suspect they could take advantage of trade agreements i.e. Through COMESA or the Tripartite FTA ( Free Trade Agreement) of which negations are also ongoing.
        “There is also the issue of policing imports landing in the EAC and being forwarded to South Africa under the SACU agreement from there.”
        The EAC includes Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. SACU is made up of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.
        COMESA includes Ethiopia and 18 other countries.
Monitoring negotiations at the National Economic Development & Labour Council (NEDLAC) has become part of SAFLIA’s operations, primarily to protect and promote the industry.

Western boots at risk in US-Mexico trade war of words - worry for SA ostrich tanners

Published: 30th Jan 2017
Author: Frik Kriek; SCOT Marketing Director
Western boots in the US - 1 of 3 key markets for SA ostrich leather - are likely to be affected by any changes to US-Mexican trade relations, including the threat to impose new import duties. A high percentage of Western boot manufacturing has moved from the US to Mexico, and further afield.
        "We're concerned about the implications of tariffs," says SCOT marketing director Frik Kriek. "It will for sure have implications for the ostrich industry.
        "We're considering different options on how to deal with this, but until such time as they make a final decision and we get the detail, we can't do anything.
        "Trump will not be able to change the NAFTA agreement on his own and it will have to be renegotiated. So we at least have time to prepare for changes."
        Thurling Investments MD Vidrik Thurling has mixed feelings: "I've been very outspoken in my criticism of US Western boot manufacturers being forced to send their production offshore in order to remain competitive. I know there's a lot of automation involved, but it's supposed to be a high-value, high-quality, hand-made American product. Instead, most of it has gone to Mexico, and some of it is now being made in China, which is very disappointing.
        "I'm not advocating a protectionist economy, but American boot manufacturers do need some tariff protection.
        "Also, some of the Mexican manufacturers have got so big they're taking big quantities of skins - up to 8 000 a month have gone to Mexico at peak times - and this pushes the price of ostrich leather below market value.
        "I have reservations about certain aspects of his approach, but I support what Trump is doing in this instance, and if it works, it will enhance the value of exotic leathers."

Da Gama Textiles fined R2m for ‘collusive trading’

Published: 30th Jan 2017
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor
Pretoria (SA) – The Competition Tribunal has fined The Good Hope Textile Corporation (Pty) Ltd, t/a Da Gama Textiles, over R2m for a case involving a State tender dating back to 2013. The case was heard on January 25.
        In its investigation and findings, the commission wrote: “On 16 September 2013, the Commissioner initiated a complaint in terms of section 49B(1) of the Act against Da Gama Textiles, Monoge Mining Contractors & Supply Services cc and Motseng Trading (Pty) Ltd for allegedly colluding when bidding for tender RT60-2012T issued by the National Treasury in contravention of section 4(1)(b)(iii) of the Act.
        “The tender was for the supply of fabric used in the manufacture of uniforms to the Department of Correctional Services, the SA Air Force and the SA Military Health Services.
        “The Commission’s investigation…revealed that: Da Gama Textiles concluded bilateral agreements with Monoge Mining and Motseng Trading in terms of which they agreed that Da Gama Textiles would determine the prices at which both Monoge Mining and Motseng Trading would quote when submitting…their respective bids in response to the tender number RT60-2012T. The bilateral agreements…constitute collusive tendering in contravention…of the Act.”
        Da Gama admitted its guilt and confirmed it had “ceased engaging in the conduct set out…above”.
        It was fined R R2 113 335.45, payable in 2 instalments, “the first payment being made 12 months from the confirmation of the Consent Agreement...the second...6 months after the first payment.”
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