Photo: Sapica

Sapica Does Its Best To Fill Its Own Shoes

By KELIN DILLON

Sapica’s 84th edition begins today. Tuesday, March 9, from León, Guanajuato, showcasing the latest and greatest in shoe design from Mexico’s footwear capital in a blended in-person and virtual conference that has adapted to the worldwide covid-19 pandemic.

Models wearing Angel Grave clothing featuring shoes by Bratano. Photo: Daniel Araujo/Sapica

The event will be held, as usual, in Poliforum León, a 12,000 square meter conference center on the side of the highway that takes a straight shot through the Guanajuato city, which houses exhibitions, conventions and events throughout the year. The space can hold over 24,000 guests, though due to covid-19 social distancing regulations, the allowed 20 percent capacity will allow just 4,800 attendants to enjoy the Sapica event, while the overspill is relegated to join in via the conference’s online platform.

Prior to coronavirus, the walls of the auditorium were packed to the brim with different shoe vendors showing off their newest wares to attendees, though with coronavirus present, the emphasis on this year’s conference will be more so about adapting the shoe industry to the new normal, than about the shoes themselves.

Models wearing clothes by Cihuah with shoes by Mona Company. Photo: Daniel Araujo/Sapica

A press conference on Feb. 24 gave a rundown on what to expect from the three-day fair, including hopes from its organizers that Sapica, aside from helping promote and sell shoes, would help reactivate the economy of León, following its economic slump in 2020.

León is a shoe-heavy town, naturally spawning from the city’s historical and reputable leather industry. The city alone manufactures a reported 70 percent of all of Mexico’s shoes, with respect for the craftsmanship so high even Pope Benedict XVI chose León-made loafers as his footwear for his retirement. 

The reputation of city-dwellers as leather workers and shoemakers has even rubbed onto the León sports teams, who were nicknamed “green bellies,” after the way leather used to dye tanners’ skin.

Some even like to call León the Shoe Capital of the World, culminating in the biannual Sapica international conference to showcase León’s grip on the market.

Models wearing Vero Diaz with shoes by Efe. Photo: Daniel Araujo/Sapica

This year’s conference is held between Tuesday, March 9, and Thursday, March 11, and will feature footage from three runway shows shot in November 2020 at the Poliforum, using clothes from Mexican brands Cihuah, Vero Diaz and Angel Grave alongside León-made footwear, a production I had the great pleasure of modeling in.

Sapica will also hold talks from many industry experts throughout the course of the week, including e-commerce discussions held by Carlos Amerena and Caros Silis on Tuesday, followed by marketing forums the following day led by Jaime Meschoulam, Rodrigo Lanuza, Lucas Chávez Alcor and Gustavo Prado. Thursday will cover the topic of business intelligence and strategy, featuring discussions with Javier Reveles, Ricardo Valenzuela, Lorena Bravo and Daniela Orozco.

Those planning to attend the conference in person will need to follow outlined social distancing regulations, while others can access the platform digitally, conveniently opening up Sapica to be more accessible to the international audience it caters to, as the shoe conference does its best to help jumpstart the heart of the economy of León.

…March 9, 2021

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