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Leatherworld Paris: Final Report September 2018

15 Oct 2018

15,075 visitors thronged the aisles at the “Fairyland for Fashion”, which grouped Messe Frankfurt France’s trade shows dedicated to the fashion industry at one venue. With over 80% of visitors coming from outside France, these shows remain THE allimportant event for the global fashion industries.

There are no longer regional blocks for each continent that predominate as there used to be. We observed a variation in visitor numbers according to country, to different degrees; however not very noteworthy overall except in the case of France, whose numbers continue to grow with a plus of 11%. Further good results were posted for Italy +5%, Russia +7%, Switzerland +16%, India +17%, South Korea +15%, the Lebanon +14%, Canada +7%, Argentina +8%, Colombia +5%, Tunisia +11%, Mauritius +8%. 

The TOP 5: 1 - France, 2 - United Kingdom, 3 – Spain, 4 – Italy, 5 - Turkey Spain and Italy each move up one place, relegating Turkey to the bottom of the table. 

Leatherworld Paris: a première that laid the groundwork for a new concept for a show dedicated to leather and related materials 

This year, 44 exhibitors came from 6 different countries.  "25% of buyers we saw were looking for an alternative to leather" reported MariePierre Chapuis, head of PR at CETI, which was an exhibitor at the partner show Avantex. This confirms the relevance of the concept for Leatherworld Paris with its range of materials aimed at fashion accessory producers (bags, shoes, belts, small leather goods, trimmings for clothing etc.) and to include leather and fur. 

This first Leatherworld show was literally stimulated by the attendance of a dozen South African exhibitors, clothing manufacturers and designers of bags and shoes. The confidence in their industry and their good mood charmed visitors, who showed pronounced interest in the skills from this country, the guest of honour at this first show. "What a fine opportunity to be able to demonstrate the quality of my work” said Barbara Lenhard, the founder of the Coco d’Afrique label for leather bags. "Thanks to SAFLEC – a South African leather exports organisation – we were able to demonstrate that South Africa can play a role on international markets. We have a good hand in terms of skills, expertise and rare leathers". Majda Rabin, founder of Chimpel, a brand for leather bags and belts, expressed her wholehearted satisfaction as early as the second day of the show: “It’s an excellent show! I've met some specialist retailers. They were very surprised and delighted to discover the products offered by South Africa." 

Needless to say, visitors examined the range of leather offered at Leatherworld Paris, which focussed on the fashion product, methodically and inquisitively. Leatherworld has found its audience as it had been greatly anticipated. In fact, 46% of visitors to Messe Frankfurt France's Paris shows wanted a segment devoted to leather and related materials. "We're leaving with a feeling of having achieved outstanding success. We made some valuable contacts with fashion designers, buyers for decorations and even leather merchants and furriers”, exclaimed Ali Liang Ma, the marketing director at Ningxia Shansan Industry and Trade, which was presenting a fine collection of sheepskin, cowhide and fox fur. 

Material derived from animals, offered by South Africa, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan and Turkey, was incontestably one of the strong points at Leatherworld. The ranges of materials intended for the same use proved to be one of the show’s attractions, no doubt thanks to greater scope for expressing creativity, both in terms of visual and tactile appeal. The producer PU Dongguan Zhigao Leather saw a stream of Italian and American principals, while the polyester throws, with an extremely soft handle, from Changshu Asia Textile Decoration were firm favourites among designers and creative fashion labels. Ecopel, the manufacturer of fake fur, whose collections are designed in Paris, consolidated their customer base by building up a new portfolio of buyers. 

The forward-looking spirit was very much in evidence both at the trends forum, showcasing the most interesting materials at the exhibition, as well as at the FashionSustain stand, which demonstrated the issues of sustainable development in the shoe industry by way of some model products. A series of four lectures (sustainable development and marketing; all about shoes; alternatives to leather; the future of shoes by way of leather and recycling) organised on 17 September in the agora of Hall 2 by FashionSustain examined these goals in detail, promising potential for a better future. 

On 19 September, a Leatherworld catwalk show took place on the podium, showcasing in particular the shoes and bags from South Africa and the Turkish firm Acar Basim ve Cilt Sanayi, in addition to clothing collections and fashion accessories from Muhammad Ashraf, a Karachi tanner. 

Another catwalk show on 20 September dedicated to South Africa presented work by Tara Simeon, a young designer who came to people’s attention during Africa Source, another Messe Frankfurt trade fair. When observing a charity distributing goods to poor children, she was deeply troubled by how fast the pillows disappeared – even quicker than the food did. This need for protection and reassuring comfort has been interpreted into dual-purpose clothing that can be turned into pillows, bedding or shelter.  

True to its stated intention of making Leatherworld Paris an event for flexible materials and finished products, Messe Frankfurt France has launched a new exhibition concept relevant to all solutions for shoes, clothing and accessories, in the world of fashion. 

Next Leatherworld  11-12-13-14 February Paris, Le Bourget 

All details about textile trade shows organised by Messe Frankfurt throughout the world can be found at the new platform:

Background information on Messe Frankfurt Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With more than 2,400 employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €669 million. Thanks to its far-reaching ties with the relevant sectors and to its international sales network, the Group looks after the business interests of its customers effectively. A comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent). 

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Press officers: RE ACTIVE – Frédéric Pellerin – & Dimitry Helman –  –  +33 1 40 22 63 19 
Messe Frankfurt France – Cassandra Galli – - +33 1 55 26 61 39