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Industry News

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

You'll have to choose - Lineapelle or Micam/Mipel - after organisers announce a 3-week gap

Published: 24th Jan 2022
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor

Milan, Italy – On Wednesday last week, footwear fair Micam, leather goods fair Mipel, and haut-à-porter show The One Milano, announced they had changed dates from 20-22 February to 13-15 March 2022. They said the new dates would partially overlap with the fashion jewellery and accessories fair Homi Fashion & Jewels, on 11-14 March. All fairs will be at the Fiera Milano Rho exhibition centre.

      The next day, the leather and components fair Lineapelle announced that it was NOT changing its dates, which remain 22-24 February, also at Fiera Milano Rho.
      Both sets of organisers have given reasons for their decisions, but they don't address the effect for visitors, especially for those from outside Europe.
      Said Declan Kelly of crocodile skin trader 4Seeable Trading, Johannesburg, Gauteng, SA: "This is interesting. Going to interfere with travel plans. Which dates does one choose when the hope was to see all at one time?"
      The Micam/Mipel/The One Milano organisers said "this new schedule, requested by the market and by industry operators, aims primarily at creating a platform that brings together the entire fashion system and offering the international audience of professional visitors a single, great business opportunity at a time of greater serenity".
      Lineapelle explained its decision not to change dates: “Due to the peculiarity of their exhibits (leathers, materials, accessories, components), Lineapelle thinks that a postponement would not allow the production chain to respect the correct dynamics of creative development and production of collections and that the current schedule is the only one meeting this requirement”.

      Lineapelle also referred to pandemic regulations: "Besides, the community of Lineapelle buyers and visitors is composed by the middle-high segment of the fashion industry, which has operational and commercial offices in Italy and in Europe, and whose participation in the event is not prevented by the current management of the pandemic.  In addition, we are also asking with extreme urgency the authorities in charge to solve the problem of access of foreign operators who have been given vaccines not recognized by EMA (European Medicines Agency)." 

Casual will still dominate men's footwear in SA, but formal making a strong comeback

Published: 17th Jan 2022
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor

On 04 January, Footwear News surveyed US retailers about trends expected to dominate the men's market there this year. Their picks suggested footwear, dominated by sneakers, will remain mostly casual, whereas formal clothing is making a comeback. Read the full article: HerernLocally, last week we asked a dozen men's footwear suppliers for their forecasts. 4 - all importers - responded:

Michael Craft, Dangee Carken
Johannesburg, Gauteng, SA – Nothing pleases South Africans more than a fresh pair of kicks.
      Men’s footwear for 2022 is a hard one to pinpoint any specific style or shoe. My favourites for this year are the more 'out there', rough looking rebellious shoes with a modern twist. The grungier the style as well as thicker soled shoes are definitely expected to take off this year with the trend to decorate shoes being widely represented this season.
        Where I believe sneakers will keep their momentum, the likes of formals are slowly making a comeback in the first quarter of the year with an anticipated increase in the following quarters.
      These days people want to make every moment count so making a statement when going out is big deal, it’s out with the basics and in with the new fashion!
      Bring out the rebel in you.

Nas Kokoroyanis, Florsheim SA/Derek Brown Agencies
Johannesburg, Gauteng, SA – Based on my recent experience, I believe we are mirroring what is happening in the US and Europe. Sneakers are still a feature and growing amongst the younger population. But, in saying that, we have experienced a large growth in formal sales in the last 4 months of last year, and going into this year too. This seems to be for the following reasons: one is the increase in numbers @ formal functions, and functions themselves, and secondly, more people are returning to work. I also, personally, believe that  SA men are sick of dressing casually for the last 2 years (working from home), and now want to dress up again.

Laurence Lotzoff, Dale Footwear/Hush Puppies SA
Johannesburg, Gauteng, SA – We have seen an uptick in demand across all our categories and noticeably in our new waterproof dress range, our beach sandals and sneaker categories, and most definitely in our new slipper/lounge collection.
      I think consumers are in a state of flux ranging from going back to work in an office environment to still work-from-home so the demand for related footwear is showing.
      Even though COVID meant a lot more stay at home situations, our response in the slipper category was well-timed and it seems despite the changes in work environment, the category is here to stay and growing!

Brian Carmichael, MTL Trading
Cape Town, W. Cape, SA – Despite the visible presence of relatively inexpensive men's flip flops, sneakers and trainers in store-branded retail, we are also experiencing a renewed demand for formal and more structured smart casual footwear in our markets.
      Formal inflows retailed very well last year leading to shortages which are currently being replenished.

Sneakers - Follow-up to last week's 'local manufacturers must make sneakers' article

Published: 17th Jan 2022
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor

In the January edition of S&V Footwear & Leather Goods last week, the lead article was that if the SA footwear manufacturing industry is to grow, it must start making sneakers. Here are submissions from 2 people who say it can.

Shannon Proctor, BLP Rubber & Plastic Supplies
Cato Ridge, KZN, SA – Barrier to entry for most footwear developments in respect of rubber components remains the tooling cost.
      BLP Rubber has and will continue to take a partnership approach to all new business whereby we can amortize the cost of the tooling over 24 months or finance the tool entirely based off a supply agreement. This has been done extensively where the volumes allow and the footwear manufacturer has faith in the future of the project.

      The issue remains that the footwear manufacturers are not able or willing to commit to projects. BLP invites any manufacturer to engage with us on this front.
      BLP has an in-house design team and a full CNC-equipped toolroom capable of making a range of footwear tools.
      We are able to design the tool, compound, process and characteristics of any product to meet and exceed specifications.

Jirka Vymětal, SAFLIA
Cape Town, W. Cape, SA – I was with Conshu and when it acquired Sportshoe form the late Ben Stoltzman. Sportshoe mainly produced sneakers with Adidas as the main customer. We're talking of thousands of pairs a day. Some of the styles I recall were the Adidas Seattle, TRX, TRX Special, Boston, etc. Today these shoes would be classified as 'vintage' or 'retro' sneakers. Later Sportshoe was merged with Jordan (now part of Bolton) where this production even increased to include other brands such as Asics, Nike, Pony, Saucony, etc.
      We also produced the Police and Prisons PT tender shoes, which would fall into this category.
      Over the years I would say millions of pairs were produced.
      The skills and capacity is still out there.
      My opinion is that sneakers, by their nature, are not highly technical footwear - as opposed to serious running shoes which fall into a different category.
      Surely we can make them locally again.

Revomec is platinum sponsor of the III Eurocongress IULTCS 2022

Published: 12th Jan 2022
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor

Milling drum manufacturer Revomec is the platinum sponsor company of the III IULTCS EuroCongress Vicenza 2022, to be held from 18-20 September 2022.

 Trissino, Vicenza, Italy - Milling drum manufacturer Revomec is the platinum sponsor company of the III IULTCS EuroCongress Vicenza 2022, to be held from 18-20 September 2022.

The company has been operating for 10 years, and concentrates on innovation.
Fabio Gecchele, owner of the company, expressed himself as follows: “We are very proud to be part of this "Risorgimento" project promoted by AICC. We are sure that our recent years' work is of great interest to congress participants. We will present at Eurocongress our latest news that can be see firsthand at the Tanning Tech trade fair in Milan.”

Back to school - Palm: Raring to go - Gem Schoolwear: Positive response

Published: 10th Jan 2022
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor
Palm: Raring to go
By Rajeev Pattundeen, MD
Durban, KZN, SA – We open 10.1, hence the silence… been in a quiet holiday bubble!
      Our retail partners were adequately stocked in anticipation of a normalised back to school season.
      Feedback received,  is that trade has been buoyant with minimal omicron impact.
        We are ready to replenish Trustees within 8 hours on any business day, starting 10 Jan when we resume production after a much needed break for the Palm Family.
Gem Schoolwear: Positive response
By Idris Pandor, MD
Durban, KZN, SA – Have you had much interest yet from consumers? Yes, definitely .We have had a  positive response to uniform sales this year compared to last year, but sales are still lower than the previous year but we are optimistic for the year ahead.
Is the official reaction to Covid cause for hope for a more normal school year? So far yes,  we hope that 2022 will be a more normal year with learners attending to school full time and participating in sports at school.

Are you having any issues with logistics or anything else? Fortunately Gem Schoolwear, being a local, hands-on manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer we have pre-empted any possible delays and geared up very early with raw materials, trims, generators, etc. so that we can be ahead of the curve. With all the shipping crises we can say that our delays have not been more than 2 to 3 weeks. 

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