Best Foot Forward

By Shereen Shabnam

Shoes are an integral part of dress codes internationally for all occasions and GCC is one of the biggest markets for the shoe brands looking to make an impact. As shoe industry spans across the globe, Abicalçados, Brazilian Footwear Industries Association is at the helm of the shoe industry worldwide with some of the best brands and choices.

We ventured to SICC 2018recently, together withAbicalçadosand Apex-Brasil – the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, to the city of Gramado, Brazil to look at Brazilian footwear brands and the ‘Made in Brazil’ potential both in the manufacturing of shoes and in fashion design.

The bustling International Leather and Footwear Exhibition (SICC) has been taking place since 2000 and its popularity was evident as we saw thousands of retailers, importers, manufacturers collaborating, negotiating and making deals not just at the exhibition venue but in hotels in the beautiful mountain city of Gramado.

The show has been gaining popularity with growing national and international visitor numbers and stands out especially in Latin America for footwear trade fairs.

We saw more than a thousand brands of footwear, bags and accessories and bring you some insights into why the ‘Made in Brazil’ stamp ranks high in the world of footwear.

Personalities behind the Show

The dynamic team behind the show is a result of a collaborative effort from the fair organisers with support from different areas of the show industry. During the exhibition we met with fair Director Roberta Pietsch who tells us the show has come a long way since its inception. The show started as a project of her father Frederico Pietsch and has grown year on year attracting new exhibitors and importers leading to a much larger exhibition venue. The 27thedition of the show attracted over 18,000 visitors.

Brazilian Footwear

The Brazilian Footwear is the international branch of Abicalçados and has been greatly contributing to the improvement of footwear exports. It aims to increase exports of Brazilian footwear brands through development, trade promotion, and image actions focusing on the international market.

Since the first signature of the agreement, the number of destinations went from 99 to 150 countries. The Program currently has more than 200 member companies that account for about 80% of the revenues generated by footwear exports, which reached US$ 1.09 billion in 2017.

The executive president of the Brazilian Footwear Industries Association (Abicalçados), Heitor Klein, evaluates that the SICC show gets busier each year, which is an encouragement for footwear manufacturers. “The April shipments come from sales made at the first trade shows of the year, in Italy, the United States, and Colombia. During these events alone, deals in the order of over US$ 63 million were negotiated for 2018,” he continues.
According to him, the expectation for the year is that shipments slightly increase in comparison with 2017, which saw the shipment of 127 million exported pairs of shoes to more than 150 destinations.

Behind the Scenes of shoe making

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Calçados Bibi, founded in 1949 ranks high in the children’s shoes market and is often a brand the industry looks up to for reference as the brand is a pioneer and leader in developing products from research development and scientific studies.

The brand has factories in Parobé and Cruz das Almas (BA) and we venture to the tranquil environment of the Parobé venue flanked by a lake, an innovation nest where executives meet and discuss their ideas and hold meetings and shady trees that bear exotic fruits to sit under.

The office itself is a haven for staff who share their mood for the day so that fellow employees can either help elevate their mood or celebrate their positive moods.

Bibi produces over 2.6 million pairs every year and is present in over 70 countries across the five continents.  In Brazil alone it has over 3,500 multibrand sales point, besides the e-commerce and a network of franchises with over 100 stores.

The company is also the only shoemaker certified by the Gold Seal of Sustainability, which affirms the commitment to the industrial processes initiative.

Export Manager at Bibi, Magnus Oliviera, explains that this covers the development of actions by Bibi in harmony with the pillars established on the Sustainable Origin program that covers Environmental, Economic and Social aspects.

Bibi won acknowledgement from the sector from the work it develops with physiologic shoes and on employing the Fisioflex Bibi insole – which provides its target audience, children, with the feeling of walking barefoot.


Piccadilly is a leader when it comes to comfort shoes in over a 100 countries, combining fashion trends that highlight the catwalk with exclusive technologies and promote a comfort with fashion.

We visited one of the four factories of the brand in Brazil to find the reason for their success and saw first hand the knowledge and tradition of a company that has designed high-quality footwear since 1955.

We were greeted by Guilherm Augusto Zimmer, an International trader for Piccadilly who takes us through a journey that showcased the full process of making shoes, from cutting the leather or fabric, to the cutting of the soles, the stitching, and the quality check before the shoes are boxed.

In the UAE, Piccadilly retails through the Lulu group, K M Trading and the Al Safeer Group to name a few and the brand is also available in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Besides following the main international trends, Piccadilly is constantly investing in innovation and comfort is always of top priority, which is why they are sought after by numerous airlines to design shoes for their staff.

With comfort and affordability at the forefront, Piccadilly has a number of collections that conquer women of different styles and cultures with a unique combination of fashion, comfort and technology.

The brands and Shoe Trends

While exploring the SICC 2018, we came across a number of brands that are currently in the limelight within the shoe industry. We bring you brief insights into these innovative brands.


Bottero is one of the most beloved brands shoes from Brazil offering footwear that combine design, comfort and quality in the same product. Their fashion sneakers for instance are made of top quality leather nubuck. There is a pinstripe on the shoe to add flair to these great looking sneakers.

The new Bottero collection joins the nobility of leather with the best trends of the season 2018/19 offering unique comfort for platforms, espadrilles, sneakers and colored slippers with earthy tones, light pinks, black and white. Under the theme ‘Minimalism’, the valorization of leather highlights the natural beauty of the noble raw material. The inspiration ‘Transparency’ explores the lightness of vinyl in punctual models, in a perfect balance of trends.


Opananken footwear arose from the intention of producing white footwear for the health sector. Nevertheless, time passed by and the market demanded the same shoes in different colors.

The brand developed the Diabetic´s Line, the No stress line, the Maxxim line, and the Stress Mania line, which propose a different visual in spite of watching the comfort over. Another company product is the Zero Stress line, which has a bolder and younger look, always maintaining the comfort.

The Opananken footwear sole is made of Polyurethane, providing excellent resistance to the wearing, being quite soft, flexible and antisliding. Moreover, Opananken shoes goes lined in VACUM leather, which absorbs the perspiration. The company opts to use counters (back line of the shoe, upper part of the heel), armor in the toecap, and backing reinforcement in the leather to offer a better structure to the upper of its products.

The insoles are also made of Polyurethane with permanent memory, with the sole and foot anatomy.


The Summer 2019 collection of Ramarim is divided into four micro-trends, each one in its style.

The natural spirit line is inspired by primitive elements such as crystals, neutral colors, rustic textures and elements of the sea. The desert climate and its arid tones blend with the force of the oranges and reds colours, linked to the power of the sun.

The Preppy Twist line brings new possibilities to the combinations, the preppy school style, refreshed with current touches such as a blend of prints, stripes and denim, rainbow effect, cashmere and mosaic prints. The visual is, in fact: striking, urban and eccentrically “geek”.

The neonostalgic line counts on an eclectic mix of tradition and opulence, touches of vintage style and also some neo romanticism. The pastel tones are present, the light pink still appears “opening the doors” to the very light yellow, acqua and unusual tones of lilac. Transparencies and gemstones also adorn the products, as well as prints inspired by floral gardens.

The Sport impulse line combines retro street style and classic ladylike items with the comfort of streetwear. The 90 ‘s are present in the sport impulse trend, seen as one
of the craziest decades for tennis styles. Everything indicates that the futuristic tennis soles will be 
the new fashion wave.


Verofatto’s spring-summer 2018 /19 collection of shoes, bags and belts for the season come in pastel colors, gradients and delicately feminine ornaments such as moorings in the form of scarves and flower applications. Lasers and strings also emerge in the details. High and medium heeled sandals, slip-on sneakers and flatforms share space with the charm of sneakers, scarpins and mules.


Recently we noticed minimalist sneakers keeps stimulating the feminine dress code, but now, streetwear gives way to the broader, more colorful, patterned designs with the striking design of Dad Sneakers, with bold design. The casual pieces have additions of colors and sparkles, signaling that this comfortable macrotrend has come to stay!

Vizzano bet on the power and contemporaneity of transparent vinyl in scarpins, mules, flats and slim sneakers. The lined heels now reverberate into the shoes, providing an extra punch to the aesthetic set of models. Wedges, platforms, flatforms and monobloc get timeless charm of cork, rope, jeans and natural fabrics with the glamorous touch of pearls.

And to follow this mood, fur and animal print are on mules and flats. The ribbons leave romanticism aside and reappear with visual hype with stripes, varnish or chess in slingbacks and scarpins. Among the classics, the peep toe gets special attention

We note that Flatforms are a hit and never leave women’s wish list. With geometric patterns and stripes, there is harmony between intense and soft tones as well as metallic applications, Vizzano has created statement accessories for all profiles, with inspirations ranging from rocker to sportswear!

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