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Global Footwear Executive Summit 2024, Hong Kong

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Addressing Challenges and Shaping the Future of the Footwear Industry

Hong Kong, March 20, 2024 (Wednesday)

The Global Footwear Executive Summit, held on the second day of the Asia Pacific Leather Fair (APLF), gathered industry leaders and experts to dissect the challenges and opportunities within the footwear sector. With sessions ranging from production and supply chain management to material sustainability and retail branding strategies, the summit provided a comprehensive overview of the current landscape and future trajectories of the footwear industry.

Nerisha Jairaj – Director South African Export Council (SAFLEC), Benjamin Lau – Partner China of Materialise 3D, Lazaro Rogerio – Director Footwear Gap Inc, Rosy Wang – Director Footwear Eram Group and William Wong – Consultant of HK Footwear Association

Session on Footwear Production and Supply Chain

Under the moderation of William Wong, Consultant of the Hong Kong Footwear Association, the first session delved into the critical issue of balancing supply and demand in the footwear market.

Lazaro Rogerio from Gap Inc. shared his insights, stating, “The industry has faced significant shifts over the past five years, with supply often outstripping demand. We must adapt our supply chain strategies to meet evolving consumer preferences.”

Benjamin Lau, Partner China of Materialise 3D, emphasized the need for innovation, stating, “Technological advancements like 3D printing offer opportunities to streamline production and reduce waste. Embracing these technologies will be crucial in addressing supply chain challenges.”

Session on Footwear Material

Moderated by Joel Lecroq of Super Lecroq Consulting Co Ltd, the second session explored the sustainability of footwear materials.

(R-L) Joel Lecroq – Super Lecroq (Xiamen) Consulting Co Ltd, Neil Wright – National Sales Manager of Kamu Safety Footwear, Bernie Rhodes – Director of Rhodes Management Consultancy Ltd, Dr. Thomas Schmidt – Director HuaFeng Textile Group, Carl Flach – Senior Director for Operational Strategies of ISA Tantec and Herman Wong – Co Founder of Affinity Network

Neil Wright from Kamu Safety Footwear highlighted the importance of sustainable materials, stating, “Consumers are increasingly seeking environmentally friendly options. It’s imperative for brands to prioritize sustainable materials in their product offerings.”

Herman Wong, Co-Founder of Affinity Network, echoed this sentiment, stating, “The future of footwear lies in materials that are both eco-friendly and high-performing. Brands that embrace sustainability will not only meet consumer demand but also drive positive change in the industry.”

Session on: Footwear Retail and Branding

Marketing isn’t just about the product. It’s about the Market.”

stated Amit Chopra, Managing Director of Shoes & Accessories Magazine, while he led the final session, focusing on the future of footwear retail and branding.

Amit Chopra – MD Shoes & Accessories, Andrew Wood – Commercial Director Asia Pacific Steve Madden, Vikas Bagga – Business Strategy Consultant, Rajesh Kadam – CEO of Inc.5 Shoes & Adang Zheng – Footwear Director of Kolon Sport, Anta Group

Andrew Wood from Steve Madden emphasized the importance of customer-centric strategies, stating, “In a crowded market, understanding and catering to consumer needs is paramount. Brands must prioritize customer experience to stay competitive.”

Rajesh Kadam, CEO of Inc.5 Shoes, emphasized the role of branding, stating, “Authenticity and relevance are key in building brand loyalty in today’s marketplace.”

Vikas Bagga, Zoom Shoes, emphasized the role of story telling, stating, “Brands must tell compelling stories and create meaningful connections with consumers.”

The summit concluded with a dynamic Q&A session, where attendees engaged with panelists to delve deeper into the key themes and insights shared throughout the day. As the footwear industry continues to navigate through unprecedented challenges and opportunities, events like the Global Footwear Executive Summit serve as vital platforms for collaboration, innovation, and collective progress.