Re-energizing the leather world
After two Covid-19 impacted years, the APLF Dubai fair was finally underway on March 30 featuring 463 exhibitors covering five halls of the Dubai World Trade Centre.
APLF Dubai opened to an upbeat atmosphere on on the first day – 30th March,2022. The trade fair in Dubai 2022 hosted large leather industry groups from India, Italy, Pakistan, Brazil, France and Turkey. The show exhibited a sizeable presence of leather chemical and machinery makers with a large group represented by UNPAC and Assomac in Italy representing both segments. It is the first time that the world’s leading leather show is being held outside Hong Kong, its home city since 1984. The fair has been postponed twice and was interrupted for three year before it was decided to temporarily move it to the heart of the Middle East, at the Dubai World Trade Centre from March 30th to April 1st 2022. In terms of visitors and exhibitors, the demographic in Dubai was heavily centred around South Asia with India and Pakistan well represented. Dubai attracts visitors from the Middle East as well as Africa. Due to Ukraine War, many hide and skin suppliers, especially from the U.S., stayed away from Dubai. The other reason could be the absence of Chinese exhibitors.
India bullish on emerging markets
A lot is happening in the leather industry in India, according to Sanjay Leekha, Chairman of the Council for Leather Exports. With more than 86 exhibitors, India is capitalizing on new emerging markets while planning to increase its business volume with the United States. At home, the country plans to create mega-clusters to process its huge raw material base. Its vision is to drive its leather and footwear market to US 30 billion by 2025.
Happy World Leather Day!
Leather Working Group (LWG) and Leather Naturally (LN) have joined forces to introduce World Leather Day, a new initiative to encourage organizations within the industry to positively promote leather. Christina Trautmann, Head of the LWG, and Egbert Dikkers, Board Chair at LN, announced the special day to celebrate the “durability, versatility of an upcycled material from another industry” at the APLF Dubai press conference at the Dubai World Trade Centre. “The aim is to raise awareness and give the industry a well-deserved moment of positive press,” said Christina Trautmann, Head of Leather Working Group. World Leather Day 2022 has fallen timely and conveniently on March 30, the very same day of the opening of the first edition of APLF Dubai. “We adopted the World Leather Day to promote the positive attributes of this wonderful material,” explained Dikkers.
Italy, main exhibitor at APLF 2022 in Dubai
The Italian Trade Agency, in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy in the UAE, the Consulate General in Dubai and ASSOMAC (The National Association of Italian Manufacturers of Footwear, Leather Goods and Tanning Technologies), is hosting 49 companies at APLF 2022. Commenting on Italy’s participation at APLF Dubai, Alessandro Lamura, Deputy Trade Commissioner to the UAE, said, “We are grateful that finally APLF makes it happen! This is an opportunity to meet new customers and Dubai may be the stepping stone to new markets, including Africa”.
Uzbekistan’s ambition triggers presence at APLF Dubai
Customs duties and tax exemptions are some of the incentives granted by Uzbekistan’s government to support its small but growing leather industry. This strategy is expected to encourage investments in the sector and to result in an increase of production and exports. “Our President has set specific tasks and instructions for the development of the leather and footwear industry, so that it becomes one of the leading industries not only in Uzbekistan, but also in Central Asia,” explains Farkhood Nurnukhamedov, Deputy Chairman of Uzcharmasanoat, the Leather Footwear and Fur Producers Association of Uzbekistan. Speaking from a white and blue booth, one of the most beautiful of APLF Dubai, he adds that the strategy titled “Program for the Development and Implementation of Economic Reforms in the Leather and Footwear Industry for 2022-2026” is expected to turn the leather market into a 1.2 billion USD by 2026 and has led to the decision to participate in APLF for the first time.
Sustainability: a strong signature in the fashion industry
Material honesty—the idea that a substance should be itself, rather than mimic something else— and using waste as a resource are increasingly guiding fashion designers, including iconic ones, according to Fashion Trend director Anne Liberati. In her presentation today, about sustainable materials and future insight, she illustrated a vast number of inspiring, sustainable trends.
Shortage of synthetic materials can boost leather
While the aisles of the APLF fair were buzzing with visitors, on the first floor of the Dubai World Trade Centre participants in the Global Footwear Executive Summit were briefed about the current economic situation and how it may affect the leather and footwear industry. “In ancient Chinese philosophy, the word crisis translates both as challenge and opportunity”, explains William Wong Vice President of Hong Kong Footwear Association. Opportunity is exactly what the situation may lead to for the leather industry. While uncertainty, created by the pandemic and the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine has reached unprecedented levels; the shortage of synthetic materials due to the rising costs of oil is likely to boost the need for leather.
The Italian association of manufacturers of technologies for footwear, leather goods and tannery machinery (Assomac) has received the Best of APLF Awards award for its Green Label.
APLF Ltd, organisers of the fair, expect to host the next edition in 2023 back in Hong Kong around late March/early April. However, The location of APLF in 2023 will be decided by the feedback of visitors/exhibitors from APLF Dubai and close monitoring of the travel restrictions in Hong Kong.
“APLF in Dubai was a great initiative and is expected to open up new possibilities for business.” Sanjeev Bhatnagar, Bharat Enterprises
“Good to see APLF back in action at a New venue and location. It was a good fair. Many accessories buyers have contacted us and hope we develop new partners and markets.” Naushad, IA leathers
“APLF in Dubai was a good experience, especially in such an unusual period. We had our regular buyers visiting us and as expected, there was a low response as not many buyers travelled to the show for various geo political and covid reasons.” Sunil Singla, SS leathers