As June FFANY Week Arrives, Industry Looks to August for In-Person Return

Written by John Heron

As June FFANY Week Arrives, Industry Looks to August for In-Person Return

As we put Memorial Day in the rear view mirror, school ending and summer starting dominate normal conversation, but as June begins another topic is top of mind and very relevant for the shoe industry, FFANY!

Traditionally, buyers and sellers as well as top executives from across the greater footwear industry would descend upon New York City the week following Memorial Day to introduce Holiday offerings, debut collections for the following Spring and meet with key partners in business.  Like with so many other situations, 2021 is presenting new challenges for the industry and this June is anything but normal.

Months ago, when it became evident that New York City in general and many companies specifically would not be ready to return to an in person market week in June, we made the decision that a return to a traditional in person June FFANY Market Week was unfortunately not feasible.  The early June time frame on the footwear calendar remains important as ever as the June FFANY is the start of the seasonal buying cycle for brands and retailers for Holiday 2021 and Early Spring 2022 collections.  June has always been a critically important time in the footwear calendar and this year is no different.  Supply chain challenges are ever increasing and product development timelines continue to be lengthened with the lack of ability to get product teams into sample rooms and overseas factories.   Having the ability to successfully detail seasonal items is more vital than ever and these June meetings are in fact taking on an increasing level of urgency.

This year, instead of hosting line debuts and business meetings in New York city showrooms, executives across the industry are holding virtual meetings in the coming weeks to debut lines and hold seasonal business updates.  Digitally capable showrooms have been built and upgraded with the latest in video technology in virtually every wholesalers corporate office across our industry.  Although these virtual capabilities have increased exponentially in the past 15 months and these tools have provided vital solutions, there is a definite pent up demand to return to in person interactions with people and samples.  In many cases, executives and sales teams are on the road traveling for in person meetings in retailer headquarters and buying offices across the country to accomplish tasks normally completed in New York City Showrooms.

New York City offices, showrooms, restaurants and events are all returning to life and the August return to FFANY Market Week is looking increasingly positive with each day that passes.   Navigating  early season line details and sample logistics are daunting in a normal year but this year has only amplified those challenges and the ability to bring together key retail executives and buyers to home showrooms is going to be welcomed universally in the wholesale community.   The FDRA is developing a new digital directory tool of New York City showrooms as well as wholesale industry sales team information that will be detailed in the coming weeks.

We wish you the best in your virtual efforts for June FFANY and look forward to welcoming the industry back to New York City FFANY Market the first week of August.