The annual leather exhibition was held from March 13 to March 15 at Dubai World Trade Centre. The exhibition showcased a wide range of leathers, leather products, from footwear, bags and accessories items. The event was attended by leather tanners, footwear manufacturers, retailers, buyers, and enthusiasts from all over the world.

In addition to the networking and business opportunities, APLF also hosted the third edition of the Global Footwear Executive Summit, which explored the latest trends in the leather industry, and seminars organized by the not-for-profit association Leather Naturally, with two courses about the leather foundation and other two about footwear design.

The exhibition had a total of 500 stalls, with exhibitors from countries such as Italy, Brazil, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China. The stalls displayed leathers, leather goods of different types and designs, including leather jackets, bags, belts, shoes, and wallets. 

Apart from the products on display, the exhibition also had a series of informative sessions and workshops for visitors. Experts from the leather industry spoke about the latest trends, innovations, and challenges in the leather market. The sessions also covered topics such as sustainable leather production, ethical practices, and the use of technology in leather manufacturing.

The French Fashion Institute in Dubai, ESMOD, was APLF’s institutional partner in Dubai. ESMOD Dubai, the French Fashion Institute in Dubai, has partnered with APLF to raise awareness among students and young designers about the leather and fashion industry, as well as enriching their knowledge in this field of work. As part of this partnership, APLF Dubai provided a display area at the Dubai World Trade Centre from March 13-15, 2023, where ESMOD Dubai students showcased their product sketches and leather garments, including those made using camel leather.

Moreover, ESMOD Dubai designers had access to onsite workshops conducted by one of the institute’s professors, Maurizio Lacopini, a footwear maker who has worked with popular brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Alberto Guardiani, and Aldo Brue, and designed several luxury shoes for prominent figures, including Michelle Obama, Jenni Kayne, and Jessica Alba.These workshops offer valuable opportunities for ESMOD Dubai designers to connect with industry experts and gain practical knowledge about the latest trends and technologies in the leather and fashion industry. 

The partnership between ESMOD Dubai and APLF represents a strong commitment to the fashion industry and the integration between the education and business sectors. By working together, they aim to support and boost the development of the Dubai Fashion Industry.

Furthermore, the recent lifting of China’s compulsory quarantine and travel restrictions led to a renewed interest among Chinese exhibitors and buyers in attending APLF. This development was a positive sign for the leather and fashion industry. 

APLF Dubai welcomed delegations from China’s Fujian, Hebei, Guangdong, Shandong, and Zhejiang provinces. These delegations, which are supported by the China Leather Industry Association (CLIA) and local industry associations, consisted of around 60 companies that manufacture and export bags, footwear, and components for the shoe industry.

After facing restrictions for the past three years, the Chinese leather, footwear, and leather goods industries were able to once again source from and sell to international exhibitors and buyers. APLF in Dubai is their first port of call in tapping into international markets and connecting with industry players from around the world. 

One of the highlights of the exhibition was the fashion show, which featured models showcasing the latest leather fashion trends. The fashion show was well received by the audience, with many visitors expressing interest in buying the showcased products.

Overall, the leather exhibition was a grand success, with thousands of visitors attending the event over the three days. The exhibition provided a platform for the leather industry to showcase its products and innovations, and for buyers and retailers to connect with manufacturers and suppliers. The event was a great opportunity for visitors to learn about the latest trends and technologies in the leather market and to appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of leather products.

The Global Footwear Executive Summit (GFES)

The Global Footwear Executive Summit (GFES)is an annual event that brings together manufacturers from around the world to discuss the latest trends and challenges in the industry. The 2023 edition of the GFES was held in Dubai on March 14, and focused on the theme of “Innovation and Sustainability: Driving the Future of Footwear.”

In this edition of the Global Footwear Executive Summit, top players from footwear brands, retailers, suppliers and associations once again gathered together to discuss and explore the latest trends of the industry and examine the corresponding strategies. The event included keynote speeches, panel discussions, and networking opportunities, providing attendees with a comprehensive view of the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in the footwear industry. Among the speakers were leading figures from companies that manufacturer for top global brands as well as representatives from industry associations and sustainability organizations. The sessions were moderated by Amit Chopra, MD Shoes & Accessories and Vikas Bagga, Business Consultant and guest editor Shoes & Accessories magazine. The panellist of the session were Deepali Khanna – Inochhi, Rajesh Kadam – Inc5, Abdallah Hamdan – Aldo, Nakul Manchanda – Lamos and Pooja Chopra – Felix. 

Another major theme of the GFES was sustainability. Speakers emphasized the urgent need for the footwear industry to adopt more sustainable practices and reduce its environmental footprint. They discussed the latest developments in sustainable materials, circular design, and supply chain transparency, as well as the challenges of scaling up sustainable practices across the industry. The session panelits were Joana Vaz Teixeira – World Footwear, Sanjay Leekha – CLE Chairman, Aqeel Panaruna – Chairman Florence Shoe Co.,  JK Seth, Strategic Consultant and Rajesh Kadam – Inc5. 

The Metaverse debate: A series of initiatives was undertaken to foster an enabling environment for innovators, developers, entrepreneurs, and technologists building the decentralised networks that will power the next era of the digital economy. The session was a part of the summit as a continued commitment to develop narratives around the blockchain and the Web3 space, and to curate, build and empower cohorts of innovative and disruptive Web3 startups that are convincing to have the potential to solve problems at scale and define the future of the business. The speakers were Catherine Hindermann – Gaia Amore and Stephanie Bretonniere – WEIMPACT.WORLD

Overall, the GFES provided a valuable platform for industry leaders to exchange ideas, learn from each other, and explore new opportunities for collaboration. The event highlighted the importance of innovation and sustainability in driving the future of footwear, and demonstrated the industry’s commitment to addressing the challenges of the 21st century.