Op-ed: Old and New Traditions

Let’s take a look back at the automotive industry. Did you know that in 1900 there were nearly 30,000 functioning electric (EV) powered vehicles registered on the road? With the invention of cheap gas, and the fact that these EV cars only had a 30-mile battery life, electric cars of the 1900’s were shelved. Today we have Tesla.

Footwear styles are always being reinterpreted. Jumping off the news and fashion pages we see a trend of bringing back craftsmanship, apprentice programs and quality. We also see major shifts in pricing at retail as brands force retailers to hold price.

There was a time when shoppers looked forward to and planned for the twice yearly end of season sales much like what still goes on in Europe. Consumers are exactly that: consumers. But today these consumers have, shall we say, “enough for the duration.” Buying today is still of course a great deal aspirational but there is a shift happening. We are again hearing the words “built to last” and references to the product “will wear well.”

Luxury is not something made by a machine in a repetitive fashion. It needs a human element, that is what makes it unique and different. We need to protect the talent and its sources, while teaching the customers that it’s always worth paying more for something that will last and feels like quality.

Bring up the word ‘millennials’ and everyone I’ve spoken with recently had something to say. We can all agree walking along Fifth Avenue, Bond Street and Via Montenapoleone isn’t fun anymore. Why? We used to find raw undiscovered and enduring talent. Smaller independent artisans have been pushed out. Are the millennials, which are new, beginning to go old-school? For the future of footwear, let’s hope.


As President of Footwear for UBM Fashion Group, responsible for international footwear trade events FN PLATFORM, WSA @MAGIC, Sole Commerce and Project Sole NYC, Leslie is credited with building the fashion industry’s premier gathering of women’s, men’s, junior’s and children’s footwear. Gallin is one step ahead of the world’s best new designers and fresh trends, providing unparalleled insight and access into the fabulous world of footwear and beyond.

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