This Pitti Uomo fair probably marked the largest attendance of “Shoe Industry People” due to the event that took place in the middle of the fair, BeShoes, hosted by Mr. Simon Crompton of Permanent Style and Tommaso Melani of Stefano Bemer. The point of the event was to bring together some of the greatest minds in footwear and get them all in one room not only to then pick their brain and hear their points of view but more importantly to see and appreciate their works of art, all in one room. It was a great concept and the one that follows this will be even better. But it’s not for me to say. Do stay tuned for BeShoes part 2 however. Anyway, the BeShoes event was great and the gala that followed was even more amazing. The reason being, will be better explained in the paragraph below that also explains my new outlook on Pitti Uomo.
So my new-found appreciation for Pitti Uomo very much stems from the fact that it brings people together. Whether or not you are meeting in the trade show bit or standing outside praying that your picture gets taken by The Sartorialist, the nice thing about it is that every one is there. I have said that if everyone in the shoe industry were all friends, I think that we would all do better (financially and artistically) and grow the industry even more than we are now. Jealousy and envy take no part in the growth of anything outside of negativity. But appreciation, sharing and admiration help many things become greater. And Pitti Uomo allows that to happen by creating a destination sought out by so many that you can’t help but run into people and engage with them. The exchange of ideas is how many of the beautiful things in our world have come about and Pitti very much allows this to continue by providing a platform for that exchange to take place within the menswear industry. It is then simply up to the people to make it happen. The internet has made the world small and Pitti makes it so that you can transition those virtual identities into real ones. And that is the beauty of it.
Going back to the BeShoes event, it sparked the first time that many different makers/owners of shoe brands had been in one room presenting their product and ideas. It was quite cool needless to say and was great to see that people who may be, in theory, in competition really don’t have to be in reality as at the end of the day there are enough people in this world for all of us to make money. The idea to grasp, and what I challenge all business owners to think about, is how can we all work together to gain more customers and convert those that have the means to buy smart, well made shoes but are still stuck on brand name shoes that offer an image but don’t provide value. That is the question we should be thinking about, not ‘oh, their shoes are similar to mine, how I can sell more than they do?’ Focusing on that will forever keep your progress limited. Instead, let’s all be friends and think about how we can better the shoe industry!
Here are some more posts by Permanent Style of the BeShoes event for those interested. HERE and HERE