MESH01 is in Las Vegas for the ENKWSA tradeshow August 7-9 as part of the Design Studio Live.  If you are in the neighborhood be sure to check us out.  Recently, I had the chance to catch up with David Kahan, President of ENK Footwear.  We talked about the footwear industry and changes at this year’s show.

You have been involved in the industry for a while now.  Can you tell us about your background in footwear?

I started working part time in the shoe department in Macys while in college then was recommended for the Buyer training program. Eventually I became a Footwear Buyer then moved onto the wholesale side. I spent most of my time on the athletic side of the industry, working my way up at Nike from a sales rep to a Regional Manager. Eventually I became Head of Reebok USA, responsible for all sales, marketing, and operations. After being acquired by Adidas, I moved over to manage the Rockport brand. My experience spans both athletic and “brown” shoe and has allowed me interaction with all distribution channels.

What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in the industry over the last few years?

The biggest change I’ve seen is the consolidation at retail. Fewer retailers now make up a significant portion of the market. Also the speed at which fashion is interpreted through the market – from Runway to Luxury boutiques to value chains is now happening almost instantaneously.

What are the most difficult issues facing the footwear industry today?

The most difficult issues revolve around the supply chain. The ability to get products from inception to consumer in a timely, cost efficient manner is critical.

How does the ENKWSA show help companies address these issues?

ENKWSA is the largest show in the USA focused on all elements of the footwear supply chain. We realized that the issues suppliers face is what is keeping them up at night so we dedicated our resources to creating an event that can meet their needs. ENKWSA is THE most inclusive show of its kind – all global sourcing bases are represented as well as a design resource like Mesh 01. Its a great show for anyone with design/product/marketing responsibilities to attend.

For those of us who have attended previous shows, what are some of the new things that we can expect to see, at ENKWSA this time around?

ENKWSA will be bigger and better than ever. The show will now encompass 2 exhibit halls, one dedicated to sourcing and the other dedicated to “fast” fashion. Our seminar series is filled with great information from industry leaders like Pantone, Lineapelle, Materials Connexion, and FDRA President, Matt Priest. In addition, Design Studio Live will create energy as we connect the dots between design, sourcing, and fast fashion. This is an exciting event for both retail Buyers as well as Product Marketing teams.

Thank you for your time.  We look forward to seeing you at the show. 

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