World Footwear


Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags ready to open its doors

Jan 10, 2022 Italy
Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags ready to open its doors
Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags is set to safely welcome more than 500 exhibitors, representing over 32 countries worldwide, in the second event in-person since the outbreak of the pandemic, which will be held from the 15th to the 18th of January. The guarantee comes from Roberto Pellegrini, Chairman of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, and Alessandra Albarelli, General Manager of Rival del Garda Fierecongressi, with whom we have spoken to anticipate the exhibition, but also discuss the future of the industry

Do you feel that the level of attendance suggests that the worst moment of the COVID-19 pandemic is already behind us business-wise?    

Alessandra Albarelli - Two years after the beginning of the pandemic and after the implementation of the vaccine, I believe it is now clear to everybody that we will have to learn to live with COVID-19 for a long time. However, I am also sure that the most challenging phases of the pandemic are over: I am referring to the times where we didn’t know about the ways in which the virus spreads and how to manage it. The operators of the Footwear and Accessories Industry are now ready to start the recovery. The slow but steady growth of world consumptions and imports indicates that this historical moment is an opportunity to grasp and that Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags coming back in-presence safely -and with the traditional influx of international companies and buyers- is the right thing to do.

Would you say that despite the severe hardships faced in the past two years, the industry not only adapted successfully but took something positive of this trying period and improved itself?    

Alessandra Albarelli - Every year we have the privilege of organizing two Editions of a unique and special Exhibition, dedicated to a creative and innovative Industry. The ability to imagine and create “the new” is the distinctive trait of the international Footwear and Accessories Community and it is also an indicator of great flexibility. Personally, I believe that flexibility is a fundamental skill for Innovation and, as I had the opportunity to witness, Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags’ buyers and exhibitors have plenty of it. They got through every challenge set by the pandemic extremely well and they transformed the crisis into an opportunity.

The upcoming edition will be focused on innovation. How would you define innovation in the footwear industry? Could you tell us a bit more about the already announced Innovation Village Retail?

Roberto Pellegrini - If we think about everything that is behind the value chain of a shoe - raw materials, production machines, communication, distribution etc. - it’s easy to see which sectors are most suited for research & development. Innovation in the fashion Industry means having the intuition, the ability and the determination to imagine something new, reinvent what is already there or improve the procedures of the markets.

In this sense, Innovation Village Hub is a showcase of Start-Ups, companies, institutions and professionals that accepted the challenge of Innovation. It is a brand-new exhibition space, promoted by Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags and created in collaboration with Blum and Retail Hub, with the scientific coordination of Alberto Mattiello. Innovation Village Hub allows ten Start-Ups within the Fashion world to present some disruptive solutions for retail and to get in contact with major industrial partners. I am sure that this encounter will be a great opportunity for all those within our Community that are looking for new ideas, interesting partnerships and new business or market niches.

How do you see the footwear industry evolving in the future?

Roberto Pellegrini - Sustainability and digital evolution will be the common threads that unite all the components of the Footwear and Accessories’ value chain.  I reckon that the operators of this industry - even the ones coming from the “slowest” countries in terms of environment-friendly innovations- have developed a brand-new awareness during the pandemic. I am talking about a reshaped culture and revolutionized way of looking at the market: environmental, economic and social awareness are now fundamental for final consumers and for the next generations that will form the Community of the future.  

Would you leave a last message of reassurance for the companies which will join Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags very soon?   

Roberto Pellegrini - Despite everything - pandemic, limitations to international mobility, introduction of reinforced Green Pass to access the fair etc.-, I have the pleasure to confirm that the 96th edition of Expo Riva Schuh and the 7th edition of Gardabags are going to take place, as planned, at the Exhibition Centre in Riva del Garda, from 15th to 18th January 2022. Our utmost priorities are our Exhibitors and Buyers’ health, safety and satisfaction. We obviously implemented a firm safety protocol to protect every participant, and we trained our staff to be ready for every eventuality. More than 500 exhibitors are now ready to safely welcome tens of professionals at their booth to finally start the Industry’s recovery as soon as possible.