A cold Big Apple served as the backdrop to the FFANY and FSNYE shows last week. Despite the chill in the air, though, the overall mood among attendees was relatively warm, and that’s despite ongoing supply chain issues and macro uncertainties brought on by very hot wars in Europe and the Middle East.
“All our buyers were very optimistic, but are aware of the developments in the world and impact on consumer confidence,” says Marty Rose, distributor for All Black Footwear. Likewise, TJ Kelly, US sales director for Birkenstock, reported an overall positive mood among buyers at its “fully booked” showroom, and the resposne to its latest collections was great. At the same time, what happens outside the industry is beyond anyone’s control.
Indeed, a key takeaway from the shows was a guardedly optimistic approach to business in general. Hope and plan for success, but be prepared for whatever challenges that could splash cold water on them. So, one might say, it was business as usual in a post-pandemic world. At least attendance was up.
“This FFANY Market week was incredibly vibrant and was the best-attended week in many years,” says Sandi Mines, vice president of corporate engagement for FFANY and FDRA. “Retailers attended our pop-up at 724 Fifth Avenue and area showrooms with their full buying teams in addition to top level managers and company executives.”
FSNYE President Phyllis Rein concurs on the “exceptional” quality of traffic. “The show at the Park Lane New York hotel attracted the majority of major department stores, in addition to the high-end boutiques,” she reports, noting that a few chain stores that hadn’t shopped the show since December 2019 were back in attendance. “Retailers seemed extremely optimistic and open to see the new trends for Fall/Winter 2024,” she adds.
Speaking of trends, there was a plethora to peruse spanning dress, casual, and athleisure. Sneakers are still setting the (casual) fashion pace, but there are other styles (think chunky loafers, Mary Janes, and lug-soled boots) that look to gain meaningful traction next fall. Here’s some of what was on display.
All Black Footwear