Cheryl Taylor, Editor Footwear Today Magazine, talks to GIOVANNI LAEZZA, GENERAL DIRECTOR OF EXPO RIVA SCHUH, Riva Del Garda, Italy

Firstly, I would like to ask you what are your most important plans in the next year?

Mr. Laezza: “Our goal is to remain a point of reference for the international footwear sector, able to help operators to orient themselves among the deep evolutions that the sector has experienced in recent years. We do not just offer a trade fair space, but also a platform for comparison, and qualified meetings for your business and services.

 “Our plan now is to continue within the logic of a ‘total look’ proposal, further enriching the exhibition offer. In fact, Gardabags completes the product sectors of Expo Riva Schuh with a selection of bags, belts and leather accessories. A synergy that has allowed us to create the only international business hub that is able to integrate a unique proposal with footwear and accessories for the volume sector.”

How are trade fairs developing, especially considering the Digital Revolution, and how do you assess the further necessity?

 Mr. Laezza: “Trade fairs are irreplaceable business platforms and strategic moments of confrontation to find a balance between the increasingly accelerated pace of fashion and the needs of production and distribution. Our fair formula – extended to the whole town – and the unique union of business and leisure are strategic advantages, thanks to which “Expo Riva Schuh continues to strengthen its position on the world fair scene. Over the years, Expo Riva Schuh has demonstrated its ability to intercept market changes quickly and to adapt to them without losing its identity, an element that allows us to maintain a high level of loyalty among exhibitors and visitors.

“Our flexibility has led us to respond effectively also to the Digital Revolution. E-commerce, social commerce and influencers have not weakened the role of trade fairs: the challenge is to rethink the approach, to become a hub where all this digital vortex takes shape in the new collections (increasingly tailored to the digital consumer), in the exchange between production and distribution and in the confrontation with a retail world that is increasingly rapid in responding to the suggestions of social networks.”

 I understand that Expo Riva Schuh and Gardabags are part of a widespread fair. Why is this a plus you offer to buyers and visitors?

 Mr. Laezza: “Expo Riva Schuh and Gardabags, together with the exhibition network of hotels in Riva del Garda, propose themselves as a true and proper Widespread Fair. We want to continue to invest in this particular way of understanding and experiencing business, because it encourages meetings and represents an opportunity to discover the territory and its excellences.

 “In order to offer buyers and professionals a unique and complete itinerary, the next edition will present a great novelty: the Riva del Garda exhibition centre will host Expo Riva Schuh and Gardabags in a single location. Thanks to an important real estate operation, we will extend the exhibition area and add the new pavilion D – covering a surface of over 3,000 square metres – which will host Gardabags.

 “Through this evolution, we want to renew ourselves in line with the needs of the global footwear market, working towards an increasingly accurate selection of the product range, accompanied by innovative services and the renewal of the exhibition spaces.”

The 92nd of Expo Riva Schuh will take place at The Exhibition Centre, Riva Del Garda, Italy, from 15th to 18th June 2019.