Almost 100 exhibitors from countries as diverse as India, Turkey, China and Colombia will feature in the Footwear and Leather Show at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, November 15-17, 2022.
With 23 impressive companies from India alone, trade visitors will have ample choice, though one attraction promises to grab the spotlight: the South African pavilion featuring 10 enticing labels – the largest ever group from that nation to exhibit at Australia’s leading footwear and leather trade fair.
Among the standouts is Saint & Summer, launched in 2014 by dynamic duo Julia James and Roxy Message, both born and bred in coastal city, Durban and “besties” since they were schoolgirls.
Eight years on, the label that began with a fresh take on jelly sandals has grown into one of South Africa’s fashion favourites, famed for its limited edition footwear collections for both sexes and edgy women’s apparel.
Slides, sneakers and espadrilles will be among Saint & Summer’s new season offerings, though the big attractions are likely to be the women’s leather sandals – supple, sexy and striking with their exotic African prints and intricate details.
Also positioning South Africa as a fashion innovator are the svelte handcrafted leather bow ties, skinny ties, suspenders and pocket squares created by Devan Swanepoel and Patrick Musil for their men’s accessories label WEEF.
The pair, who met while working at a design studio in Cape Town, share a passion for South African arts and crafts. They took the bold leap of investing in their own equipment and team, and have won a strong following for their designs – each piece created and assembled in-house. WEEF’s motto: Dress Well, Do Good.
From KwaZulu-Natal Province comes Ekamu Brands which began in 2012 as African-inspired streetwear for adults and now extends to kidswear, though the key focus is on luxury leather and suede footwear, accessories and bags, including dog-carrying bags – the ultimate in pampered pooch comfort.
Like Saint & Summer, Ekamu has initiated schemes to support a nationwide drive that has benefitted thousands of children.
“We believe no child should go to school barefoot … often walking long distances through the scorching heat of the summer and the stinging cold of the winter,” notes Ekamu.
”Our mission is to ensure that all South African children have school shoes in which they walk their journey of education.”
The 10 exhibitors are supported by the South African Footwear & Leather Export Council and the Department of Trade, Industry & Competition, Republic of South Africa.
EVENT: FOOTWEAR & LEATHER SHOW AUSTRALIA
DATES: TUESDAY 15 – THURSDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2022
VENUE: MELBOURNE CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE