WSA August 2006 Show Breaks Attendance Records

The August 2006 WSA Show, the world’s largest footwear and accessories trade show, broke records for attendance. Attendance, at 35,565 participants, exceeded the August ’05 show by 7.6%.
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WSA AUGUST 2006 SHOW BREAKS ATTENDANCE RECORDS

Style Walk, First Live Fashion Show, Style Talks with Celebrated Designers and Stylists, and Increased International Presence Reinforce WSA's Role as the Key Global Marketplace

ENCINO, Calif. (Aug. 16, 2006) – The August 2006 WSA Show, the world's largest footwear and accessories trade show, broke records for attendance. Attendance, at 35,565 participants, exceeded the August '05 show by 7.6%. The August 1-4, 2006 show attracted 1503 exhibiting companies, a 15% increase in the number of companies over August 2005.

“Over the past two years, we have put in place specific outreach programs for buyers from around the world, providing solid tools for conducting business at this show,” said Diane Stone, chief operating officer of WSA. “These initiatives have streamlined the process for connecting critical decision makers. Coupled with the world's largest showcase of footwear and accessories, trend and financial seminars and a live fashion show, this show is securing its place as the global venue where markets are made. The numbers validate the importance of this event.”

Ashley Foy, men's shoe buyer for Dallas retailer Stanley Korshak, said, “The WSA Show and The Collections at WSA let me squeeze in so many appointments and still have time to discover new potential vendors. The show was very well organized, accessible, and full of new possibilities.”

WSA also gets high marks from new exhibitor SpringBoost, maker of performance athletic footwear. “WSA walks the extra mile to help new companies establish themselves in the market,” noted Phil Percuoco, U.S. director of sales for SpringBoost, a first-time exhibitor.

As a result of the new outreach programs targeted at European retailers, the WSA retail relations team, under the direction of retail veteran Celeste Boehm, working closely with Philippe Versluysen, who heads WSA's Milan office, hosted delegations of buyers from Italy and France, and attracted additional buyers from countries such as the U.K., Greece and Ukraine.

“Everyone was delighted with the opportunity to see footwear they couldn't see anywhere else, to meet with top executives for strategic-level conversations and, of course, to write orders,” commented Versluysen.

Michele Fratesi, general manager of Italian shoe retail company Fratesi, seconded that sentiment. “My first visit to WSA was very positive and enabled me to understand the current situation in the American market, as well as giving me the opportunity to have concrete meetings with a range of companies from the industry.”

Tatiana Kavitskaya, sales director at the Helen-Marlen Group in Ukraine, said, “I met with great courtesy and efficiency at the WSA Show. The experience was a very important and positive one, which enriched my knowledge of the industry.”

The Collections at WSA, the WSA Show's luxury and designer show-within-a-show, also experienced growth at the August 2006 show, with 50% more handbag designers participating over the last edition. In addition, the men's footwear category grew 100% over August 2005. Respected designers Nanette Lepore and Karl Lagerfeld unveiled their first footwear collections.

“The caliber of buyers and exhibitors at The Collections at WSA is a testament to the business environment that we have created,” noted Leslie Gallin, director of The Collections at WSA.

Style Walk, WSA's first-ever runway fashion show, hosted by “Fashion Guy” Lawrence Zarian, often seen offering style insights and makeovers on Live with Regis and Kelly and Extra, attracted hundreds of show attendees who enjoyed champagne and hors d'oeuvres as the music played and cameras flashed. In addition to the WSA Show attendees, the upper levels of the mall were brimming with consumers who had the rare opportunity to preview forward fashion in this spectacular setting. Held at Fashion Show Mall across from the Sands Expo Center, the runway show featured footwear from all categories at the WSA Show, modeled by professional adult and child models.

At WSA's popular Style Talk sessions, taking place in WSA's sleek new Style Talk Theater on the show floor at Mandalay Bay, celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch regaled show-goers with stories of his modeling days and his more recent experience dressing celebrities such as Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock and Salma Hayek. Bloch was joined by film and television costumer Jill Ohanneson, who noted that footwear helps define each character that she dresses, including those of television series Six Feet Under.

At a second Style Talk, noted fashion designer Nanette Lepore talked about her career as a women's apparel designer and why she was unveiling her first line of footwear. She also talked about her successful collaboration with Keds. Both Style Talk sessions were hosted by Lawrence Zarian.

“The Style Walk and Style Talks add glamour and relevant fashion insights and advice from top-level style influencers, making the show even more valuable to exhibitors and buyers,” noted Stone.

At the August 2006 WSA Show, more than 135 key trade and business media representatives attended, including BET and CNBC, plus leading consumer magazines including Cosmogirl, Details, Elle, Esquire, Glamour, GQ, InStyle, Jane and Marie Claire, Maxim, to Men's Fitness, Real Simple, Slam, Vogue and Women's Health. The show also attracted international journalists from Europe and Latin America.

The WSA Show has also become a place for the footwear industry to help those in need. Once again, avid runners and cyclists participated in the Red Rock Ride and Run at Red Rock Canyon, sponsored by WSA and Runner's World magazine, benefiting the Two-Ten Footwear Foundation, the footwear industry's own charitable organization. Also benefiting Two-Ten is Opening Night at WSA, held this year at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and featuring outstanding performances from Lionel Richie and Gladys Knight.

Two not-for-profit organizations that help provide footwear to those in need, Soles4Souls and Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) teamed up at the WSA Show to sign up retailers, manufacturers and individuals who want to donate footwear.

“The WSA Show has become the global marketplace for retailers from around the world who want to see what the big global brands are offering, as well as discover the next hot luxury designer. The WSA Show has everything a footwear and accessories buyer needs, all in one place,” said Stone.
The 2007 dates and locations for the WSA Show and The Collections at WSA are:
February 1-4, 2007
Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas Convention Center and The Collections at WSA at The Venetian
July 30 - August 2, 2007
Las Vegas Convention 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 and accessories event. Featuring over 6,000 brands and nearly 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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