Stepping into the world of footwear

Rupkatha Bhowmick

Shoes speak louder than words, some say. That might be true! Shoes happen to be one of the most functional aspects of one’s ensemble. How many times have you noticed a woman or man change into their high heels or formal laced shoes just before entering the work space? And the comfortable flats, sneakers or loafers wait patiently in the storage space until the end of the workday?

Stepping into the world of footwear, all varieties – premium, casual, fashion, formal/work, athletic – have its own appeal, and collectively the market holds promising prospects. Sporty shoes, however, are seeing significant traction. Think about the gentleman who confidently sported his favourite sneaker along with an immaculate suit. Recollect the last time you saw a woman wearing chunky sneaker that perfectly blended in with her hijab. Those customised sneakers are all-time favourites, cutting across gender, age and region.

No wonder, sporty shoes were significantly popular at MICAM 89 – Italian footwear industry’s leading international trade fair that took place in February 2020 – alongside luxury, handcrafted footwear.

Reaffirming its role as a footwear forecaster, MICAM, in collaboration with global trend forecasting company WGSN unveiled predominate footwear trends for Autumn/Winter 2020-21.

MICAM 89 Fashion Show: Considered Comfort

Considered Comfort: This trend is inspired by soft, comfortable materials for an indoor-outdoor look, thereby redefining dress-code boundaries. It explores a new relationship between fashion and home. Footwear that is perfect to be worn in and outside the home is a crucial element of the Considered Comfort. There is a definite rise in the demand for comfort shoes like sneakers, but somewhat dressy. Soft colours will dominate. Elegant but ergonomic is the way ahead.

MICAM 89 Fashion Show: Tech-tility

Tech-tility: This trend focuses on the relationship between actual and virtual reality and uses tech-inspired materials and innovation to create futuristic accessories. There is a definite blurring of the lines between real and the virtual in the Tech-tility trend, with the styles being hyper-functional and modular. Colours are digitally inspired, appealing and cuts across seasons. The use of repurposed materials and metallic textures are clear.

MICAM 89 Fashion Show: Reconstructed Legacy

Reconstructed Legacy: This trend has a strong focus on sustainability and takes inspiration from the past to find new solutions for the future. A response to uncertainties in different areas – world-over – there is a rise of reinterpreted apparel and footwear. There is a mash-up of tradition and modernity in the Reconstructed Legacy trend. While colours are rooted to tradition, archive pieces, punk styles and technical advances dominate.

Overall, there is a clear indication that the days of seasonality are gone. With a greater emphasis on sustainability, more and more repurposed but beautiful materials are being used. Styles will be fashionable yet comfortable, functional and minimalist. In summation, comfortable, sporty and handcrafted were the three dominant features at the MICAM show.

Read the full article in the March edition of RetailME