Day Two of WSA Showcases First Live Footwear Fashion Show

The second day of The WSA Show included a Style Talk session hosted by television personality Lawrence Zarian and fashion designer, Nanette Lepore.
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LAS VEGAS, (August 3, 2006) -- The second day of The WSA Show, the largest footwear and accessories show in the world, took on an international flavor with delegations arriving from France, Germany and Italy. In addition, show guests were treated to a Style Talk session hosted by television personality Lawrence Zarian, a frequent style commentator on “Live with Regis and Kelly” with featured speaker and well-known fashion designer Nanette Lepore, who shared insights about the launch of her first footwear collection and her successful career in fashion.

“Day two clearly built upon the momentum we saw from opening day,” said Diane Stone, chief operating officer of WSA. “From hosting key buyers and retailers, to welcoming the domestic and international attendees resulting from our increasing global outreach efforts, to sharing the high energy of our first live runway show with a packed audience of buyers, this was a day of business being done and product being showcased.”

During Wednesday afternoon's Style Talk session at the Mandalay Bay, Ms. Lepore said that her Spring '07 collection will feature wedges, heels and platforms with lots of intricate detailing such as cut-out flowers, mesh inserts and color blocking. She also talked about her collaboration with Keds to create a Nanette Lepore collection, “It was fun to do. Keds made it really easy to work with them.”

Noted footwear and apparel industry analyst Marshal Cohen of The NPD Group addressed an early breakfast crowd of WSA Show attendees talking about reaching the boomer audience.
Noting that 50 is the new 35, Cohen said that those marketing to the huge boomer population should not rely on youth marketing to try to reach boomers.

More than half of boomers surveyed said they did not follow youth trends. “Boomers don't want to be marketed to with old or young messages. They want a company to know them better, know their interests,” Cohen said. Cohen noted that the average woman owns 10 pairs of shoes and men only 1-3 pairs, showing opportunities to grow sales to men.

He added that in 2005, women spent $4 billion on footwear and men accounted for $2.2 billion in sales. He also noted that only 5% of U.S. consumers repair their shoes, evidencing the American tendency to dispose of things rather than repair them.

Spring '07 trends are front and center in creative booth displays throughout the show, with the “green” or “eco-friendly” trend coming on loud and clear.

“When it comes to footwear and accessories, consumers are saying it is okay to indulge,” said Anne-Marie Otey, executive editor of WSA Today, WSA's show daily. “The look today is luxurious, no matter what the price point. We are also seeing that consumers who normally would be conservative are now taking more risk by purchasing styles in bold colors and with metallic accents. Even men are breaking the traditional molds by asking for comfort, because comfort styles have been infused with fashion.”

For women, according to Otey, wedges with embellished heels are strong, along with tattoo inspired styles. For men, “mandals” (sandals for men) are popular, along with low profile shoes and vulcanized soles.

Key broadcast media including CNBC and BET were on hand to cover the show, in addition to more than 100 consumer editors from magazines including Best Life, In Style, Lucky, Martha Stewart Living, Maxim and Vogue.

Lionel Richie and Gladys Knight entertained show attendees on Tuesday's opening night at WSA again benefiting the Two Ten Foundation, the footwear industry's own charitable organization that provides financial assistance to those in need.

The WSA Show, including The Collections at WSA which is focused on luxury and designer brands, runs August 1-4, 2006 in Las Vegas. The event is held in three venues, The Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the Sands Expo Center and The Collections at WSA at The Venetian.

About the World Shoe Association (WSA):
Twice a year in Las Vegas, WSA simultaneously hosts the WSA Show, the world's largest and most comprehensive marketplace for the footwear industry, and The Collections at WSA, the world's largest luxury footwear event. Featuring over 6,000 brands and 36,000 participants, these combined events offer an unmatched opportunity for manufacturers to showcase their products and for buyers to discover the latest trends. The WSA Show is the must-attend event for anyone involved in the footwear and accessories industry. For more information, please visit www.wsashow.com or www.thecollectionsatwsa.com.

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