After working for several years for the Italian leather goods trade association, he was for a decade sales manager for a number of high-end brands, both clothing and footwear, before returning to the world of bags and, from 2023, holding the position of Project Manager at Gardabags. His goal? To relaunch the role of accessories in volume production. With him, we retrace the history of Gardabags and, above all, look at the projects of the event in the near future.

When was the idea for Gardabags born?

Gardabags is a project born from the need of buyers at Expo Riva Schuh, dictated by the necessity to complement footwear with accessories. European and international footwear buyers, in fact, have always come to Expo Riva Schuh to buy volume footwear and, according to a survey carried out in the pre-Covid period, more than 40% expressed the need to combine footwear with bags and accessories. Gardabags thus debuted a couple of years before the advent of Covid, then unfortunately the pandemic somewhat slowed down the development process. But since this year we have decided to invest more in relaunching the event and – from an initial edition in January 2023 with a dozen or so bag exhibitors – we have moved on, last June, to the participation of over 50 companies specialising in the production and sale of bags and accessories such as small leather goods, belts, and travel items. I would also like to emphasise the careful selection of the collections proposed at the fair, carried out on the basis of production districts and aimed at ensuring a wide variety of choice in terms of sourcing locations, product type and price, with the participation of countries such as China, India and Turkey. The Italian presence is small, but for a very simple reason: the production of leather or fabric bags in Italy has a high cost and is aimed at a more limited public.

Can we give some anticipations regarding the next edition?

For the January 2024 edition, I believe that the number of participants will remain at the same level as last June, with around 55-60 bag and accessories companies, and the presence of a few more luggage manufacturers, in which small and medium-large European retailers are always interested. We are talking about Turkish and Chinese luggage manufacturers, in particular, with Italian representation. With regard to the presence of fashion accessories in the footwear section, around forty companies will be present, which, along with shoes, will also present bag collections. Gardabags will be located inside the Riva del Garda exhibition centre in two distinct points: a larger part will be in Hall D (half of which will be occupied by leather goods); another group of about ten companies will be located in the transition between B2 and A2. We believe that this multi-point positioning facilitates the visit of buyers and the purchase of those interested in footwear and accessories. In addition to the countries already mentioned (China, India and Turkey), representatives from Spain, Portugal and Bangladesh will participate.

A new and interesting project is that of the ‘highlights’: would you like to tell us something in advance?

This is the new feature of the next edition, an area dedicated to highlights, to market trends in the leather goods sector, again in Hall D. The project, realised in cooperation with our reference partner Arsutoria, will take place on about 50 square metres in which four macro-areas will be presented: men’s, women’s, unisex and business. Arsutoria will share its analysis of trends in leather goods with the exhibitors. Based on the relevant themes for the coming season, a number of products will be selected for display in the highlights area. Speeches by Arsutoria experts dedicated precisely to the new trends will also be organised in this area.

This is a pilot project, which will be perfected in the next editions of Gardabags, and which not only aims to offer visitors useful information for their business, but also has the objective of developing an effective collaboration within the community made up of exhibitors, partners and buyers.