Home NEWS A Step in History: Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags’ 100th Edition

A Step in History: Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags’ 100th Edition


In the heart of Riva del Garda, the 100th edition of Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags unfolded, not just as a celebration of the past but as a testament to its enduring influence and impact on the international footwear and bag business. This milestone event brought together a global community committed to advancing the industry and overcoming challenges.

Roberto Pellegrini, Chairman of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi addressing the gathering at the Inaugural Session

The inception of Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags in 1974 marked a significant moment in the history of trade exhibitions. Originally conceived to connect international buyers, the event has evolved over five decades, defying the conventional narrative of “The End” by extending its legacy into the future. The recent 100th edition, held in January 2024, served as both a reflection on the past and a launchpad for what lies ahead.

Roberto Pellegrini, Chairman of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, from the stage of the Celebration Night

The numerical indicators of success at the 100th edition are noteworthy. With approximately 1300 exhibitors hailing from 39 countries, a 15% increase compared to the previous year, and a robust attendance of 9,000 buyers (80% European, 20% non-European), Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags demonstrated resilience in the face of challenging market conditions. Italy, the UK, and Poland saw increased participation, while Germany and France experienced a decline reflective of economic trends in those nations.

The diverse composition of attendees was equally intriguing, with 30.4% from the retail sector, 19.3% from distribution, 5.2% from e-commerce, and 15.5% representing manufacturers. A majority of buyers, 58.9%, held decision-making roles as company owners or head buyers. These statistics underscore the event’s significance in shaping the industry’s dynamics.

The January 2024 edition not only showcased impressive figures but also hosted the memorable Celebration Night, a testament to the event’s historical significance. Paolo Villa, President of ASSOPROV, described it as “a memorable and extraordinary moment” that revived the spirit of early days, emphasizing relationship-building and business dealings on the shores of Lake Garda.

Alessandra Albarelli, General Manager of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi, highlighted the event’s commitment to understanding exhibitors’ production and market dynamics, fostering relationships with institutions, and collaborating on projects for the industry’s benefit. Albarelli affirmed that the 100th edition validated the positive impact of recent innovations, including digital, business, and marketing services.

GianPaola Pedretti, Exhibition Manager, summarized the successful events held during the exhibition, such as Market Focuses on various regions, Highlights Area sessions, and the Innovation Village Retail. These initiatives provided valuable insights into consumer preferences, future trends, and innovative solutions, including the Startup Competition winner, iF Returns Solution.

The Celebration Night, held on January 14, 2024, paid tribute to the event’s 50-year history. A short film and photo exhibition, curated by Roberta Bonazza and Luciano Stoffella, highlighted Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags’ journey against the backdrop of global transformations. The exhibition honored key contributors who shaped the event’s success, acknowledging their professionalism and friendship.

As the Celebration Night demonstrated, Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags doesn’t merely celebrate the past but looks ahead to the future. Alessandra Albarelli expressed joy in celebrating a glorious past while anticipating the event’s continued growth in supporting the footwear and accessories industry.

Key contributors who shaped the event’s success acknowledged for their professionalism

The short film and photo exhibition showcased the event’s evolution over 50 years, capturing the broader context of international transformations in history, sports, fashion, and society. The Kataklò Athletic Dance Theatre Milano added a dynamic element with an energetic performance symbolizing the event’s 100 editions.

(Centre) Dipika Chopra, Editor & Publisher – Shoes & Accessories felicitated at the Celebration Night, held on January 14, 2024

In conclusion, the 100th edition of Expo Riva Schuh & Gardabags marked a pivotal moment in the history of the footwear and accessories industry. With a rich legacy behind it, the event stands as a beacon, illuminating the path forward for the global community dedicated to this vibrant and ever-evolving sector. As the lights dimmed on the Celebration Night, the industry looked ahead with optimism, ready to face the future with renewed vigor and anticipation for the upcoming June 2024 event.