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APLF ASEAN 2nd Edition – A Resounding Success for the Leather Industry in Bangkok

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By Dipika Chopra

APLF ASEAN 2023 was a game-changer for ASEAN on the global stage, providing a magnificent platform for emerging designers and catering comprehensively to industry needs under one roof. 

The sole leather exhibition in Thailand, APLF ASEAN 2023, concluded with resounding success. The bustling metropolis of Bangkok played host to the APLF ASEAN 2nd Edition, a prestigious gathering of leather industry professionals, manufacturers, and designers from October 25th to 27th, 2023. Organized by APLF Limited, the event took place at the esteemed Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, Bangkok, Thailand, serving as a dynamic platform for the exchange of ideas, trends, and innovations within the flourishing leather market of Southeast Asia. With a vibrant atmosphere and an impressive turnout of attendees, the APLF ASEAN 2nd Edition showcased the region’s remarkable potential and commitment to the advancement of the global leather industry. From cutting-edge technological displays to sustainable manufacturing solutions, the event encapsulated the multifaceted nature of the leather sector, demonstrating its evolution and adaptability in the modern business landscape.

Operating under the banner of “ASEAN in Action,” this second edition in Thailand built upon the triumph of its predecessor. As a professional hub for the leather industry, APLF ASEAN brought together Thai and international suppliers dealing in leather, chemicals, machinery, and components. This convergence facilitated opportunities for both regional and global buyers, designers, and traders in the tanning and leather goods manufacturing sectors.

Labeled M.E.E.T—Matching, Education, Experience, and Tradeshow—APLF ASEAN transcended the conventional tradeshow model. It seamlessly amalgamated event organization, knowledge dissemination, and a comprehensive leather goods experience, delivering an all-encompassing event for attendees.

A pivotal segment of the event spotlighted the Autumn-Winter 2024/25 trends in colors and materials for leather, curated by Olivier Guillemin in collaboration with The Comite Français de la Couleur. These trends were categorized into four themes: Essential Impulse, Serene Impulse, Disruptive Impulse, and Eclectic Impulse.

Notably, APLF ASEAN 2023 provided an invaluable platform for designers. The event featured a special seminar showcasing “Top Leather Good Designers,” where five prominent Thai designers showcased their signature bag collections and shared insights and advice for aspiring designers.

Adding to the vibrancy, the event hosted a competition titled “The Next Thai Leather Goods Designer Competition,” encouraging undergraduate students from various universities to ideate and craft marketing plans for their brands. Ten finalist teams exhibited their innovative work at the fairground, with the ORI-GINAL team from Srinakharinwirot University clinching the top spot and receiving prize money of 20,000 baht.

“The APLF ASEAN 2nd Edition played a pivotal role in fostering growth, innovation, and collaboration within the Southeast Asian leather industry. By providing a comprehensive platform for knowledge exchange, product showcase, and networking, the event effectively strengthened the region’s position as a key player in the global leather market.”  Takashi Takani, Thai Tokunaga 

Among the key workshops, the Let’s Talk Leather Masterclass stood out. Featuring two distinguished speakers—leather technical advisor Mr. Karl Flowers and British designer Mr. Yusuf Osman—the masterclass offered insights into the finest natural raw materials and their utilization in design. Attendees gained a nuanced understanding of material selection crucial for their business and were awarded certificates upon completion.

“The success of this edition serves as a testament to the industry’s resilience and potential for future advancements in the ASEAN leather sector. We look forward to the continued growth and success of the industry in the years to come.”
Natkitta, Chai Watana Tannery Group

APLF ASEAN catalyzed a surge in interest for leather products across the region. With ASEAN’s economic recovery anticipated to drive consumer demand in fashion, garments, leather goods, and footwear, the impact on leather upholstery for furniture and automobiles is expected to be positive. Thailand, serving as a pivotal gateway for ASEAN nations, hosts over 700 leather goods manufacturers and suppliers, and stands as one of the largest car production countries, significantly elevating Thailand’s industry on the global stage.

Enthralling Exhibitor Showcase

Amidst the gleaming exhibition stalls, exhibitors meticulously displayed their finest leathers and leather creations, presenting a diverse array of products ranging from luxurious apparel to exquisite leathers. Notably, the showcase underscored the region’s role as a trendsetter in the global leather market, boasting a rich tapestry of cultural influences and artistic interpretations.

Business Networking

The exhibition facilitated meaningful interactions among industry professionals, fostering new partnerships, collaborations, and business opportunities. Participants had the chance to engage with key stakeholders, establish contacts with potential clients, and explore possibilities for future collaborations within the dynamic Southeast Asian leather market.

Pivotal Seminars and Workshops

The event’s comprehensive seminar series delved into pertinent industry topics, emphasizing sustainability, design evolution, and technological advancements in leather production. Renowned experts and thought leaders shared valuable insights, fostering engaging discussions and sparking new ideas for sustainable growth and development. Attendees actively participated in these sessions, demonstrating a collective commitment to driving positive change and fostering a more sustainable future for the leather industry.

Prominent Focus on Sustainability and Innovation

A key theme resonating throughout the event was the industry’s concerted efforts towards sustainability and ethical manufacturing practices. Several exhibitors and speakers highlighted their innovative approaches to environmentally conscious production, showcasing a range of eco-friendly materials and processes. This emphasis underscored the industry’s proactive response to global sustainability challenges, marking a significant shift towards a more responsible and eco-conscious approach to leather production.

” It’s inspiring to see the diverse range of designs and techniques displayed here, highlighting the rich cultural heritage and creative potential of our industry.” 
Syed, Rifah Shoes Pvt Ltd. 

Outlook and Future Prospects

As the curtains drew on the APLF ASEAN 2nd Edition, the event left an indelible mark on the landscape of the regional leather industry. The collective dedication to sustainability, innovation, and artistic expression showcased the industry’s resilience and adaptability. Moving forward, the momentum generated by the event is expected to propel the Southeast Asian leather sector to greater heights, positioning it as a pivotal player in the global marketplace.

The resounding success of the APLF ASEAN 2nd Edition serves as a testament to the unwavering spirit of collaboration and progress within the dynamic leather industry of Southeast Asia. As the industry continues to evolve, innovate, and embrace sustainability, it is poised to make an even more profound impact on the global stage, solidifying its position as a trailblazer in the world of leather.

“Attending this exhibition has been an eye-opener. The innovative designs and sustainable practices showcased here provide a fresh perspective on incorporating leather into the latest fashion trends. It’s exciting to witness how the industry is evolving to meet the demands of conscious consumers.”
Deepika, Kiwi Enterprises, India   

Scheduled for November 6th to 8th, 2024, at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok, APLF ASEAN 2024 promises to build upon this momentum.

“Attending this exhibition has been instrumental in understanding the latest market trends and consumer preferences. The variety of high-quality leather products on display is impressive, and it’s reassuring to see the industry’s commitment to offering unique and sustainable options for discerning customers.” 
Mohit Mehani, D Shoe Lounge India

“While I appreciate the efforts towards sustainability and ethical practices in the leather industry, there is still a long way to go in terms of minimizing environmental impact and addressing animal welfare concerns. I hope to see more concrete steps being taken to ensure responsible production practices.”
Atthisa, Classic products