Positive response from inaugural edition of Middle East’s premier leather trade show reinforces upbeat market sentiment
Dubai, UAE: The curtains have come down on the inaugural edition of Leatherworld Middle East in Dubai, as UAE-based tanneries, manufacturers, designers, and distributors rubbed shoulders with European heavyweights looking to boost their footprint in the emerging regional leather market.
A total of 2,439 visitors from 44 countries passed through the Middle East’s only dedicated trade show covering the global leather industry’s entire value chain, while 86 exhibitors from 16 countries showcased their latest wares, from hundreds of variations of animal hides, production machinery and chemicals, to leather handbags, footwear, accessories, and garments.
The positive response from visitors and exhibitors alike underlined the bold statement from organiser Messe Frankfurt Middle East, which aims to make the three-day event among the world’s top ten leather trade shows.
Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, said: “After three days of busy networking, knowledge sharing, and insights into the latest global leather trends, Leatherworld Middle East has firmly made its mark on the regional and international leather market.”
“The GCC’s US$4.09 billion worth of leather imports and exports in 2014, along with US$1.9 billion worth of manufacturing capabilities reinforces an ideal backdrop for Leatherworld Middle East to become one of the world’s premier trade and networking platforms.”
Leatherworld Middle East 2015 had a distinct luxury touch that is synonymous with all things leather-related, and while new business alliances formed and the distinct leather smell permeated the air, it was the three-day event’s Trend Area that grabbed plenty of attention with its exclusive range of luxurious global leather innovations being seen for the first time in the region.
More than 200 products from 50 exhibitors were showcased, from stingray skin pouches and laser printed calf hides, to 22-carat gold-embossed alligator skins, and for the traditionalists, a classic leather hand-gun holster.
Among the exhibitors most impressed with the first edition of Leatherworld Middle East was Headline Sponsor Al Khaznah Tannery, the Abu Dhabi Government owned company that specialises in 100 per cent biodegradable metal-free camel hide.
“We are very upbeat about taking part in the first edition of Leather World Middle East as we know it will gain more interest in the coming years, especially as it’s launched in Dubai,” said Mohammed Al Mansoori, General Manager of Al Khaznah Tannery.
“Leather is used in every facet of our lives, from airplanes, yachts to houses, hotels, and shoes – the list goes on – and our presence here is very important, because it helps us to interact with other big international manufacturers from France, Germany and Italy. The presence of such a mix of international and local companies under one roof enables the exchange of ideas and experience and helps us to come up with a leather product that benefits all consumers.”
Joining Al Khaznah Tannery at Leatherworld Middle East’s Leather Production area were 15 top French Tanneries and eight Italian tanneries, while other exhibitors included chemical suppliers and manufacturers of production machinery, leather knives and cutting blades.
Meanwhile, seven of the UAE’s most talented up-and-coming fashion designers at prestigious fashion institute ESMOD Dubai displayed their creative talents to a global audience with an inspiring array of leather garments at Leatherworld Middle East’s Fashion Avenue.
The pieces from the year-two students at ESMOD Dubai were chosen from more than 40 designs, and combined a mix of traditional techniques, leather manipulation and cutting edge technology.
Tamara Hostal, Founder & CEO of ESMOD Dubai, Leatherworld Middle East’s Official Show Supporter, said: “This collaboration opens our students’ minds in terms of what they can do with leather.”
“We wanted to introduce them to the world of leather, which plays a major part in fashion, and it’s also important for them to interact with global suppliers at Leatherworld Middle East. The garments on display are so lovely and are a great representation of not only local designers’ talent, but also how leather and fashion go hand-in-hand.”
Leatherworld Middle East attracted a wide range of visitors from throughout the wider Middle East, the Asian sub-continent, and North Africa. The annual showpiece event was a major supplier source for leather manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and designers.
“I love it,” said Samah Aloul, Owner and Chief Designer of SA Interiors, a UAE-based company specialising in interior design for boats and villas.
“It was really educational and I was able to learn about the different kinds of leather and what applications they are used for, which as an interior designer, is very important. In one day I’ve sourced about seven suppliers and there’s no minimum spend so they are very flexible. I will definitely return next year. All designers should live at the show during its three days.”
Leatherworld Middle East 2015 took place from 4-6 May at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, and is a member of the Messe Frankfurt Texpertise Network, a combination of the world's most important textile trade fairs.
Olaf Schmidt, Vice President of Textiles & Textile Technologies at Messe Frankfurt, said: “Messe Frankfurt’s Texpertise Network is the global market leader in textile fairs with 46 shows in 10 countries, with the inaugural edition of Leatherworld Middle East its newest member.
“The global leather industry is a huge growth market, and the success of Leatherworld Middle East 2015 firmly emphasis the importance and the role that the Middle East region has to play in the development of the global market.”
Leatherworld Middle East 2015 featured three country pavilions from France, Italy, and Pakistan, while other exhibitors came from China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, USA, and the UAE. Other product zones in addition to the Trend Area, Leather Production, and Fashion Avenue, were the Designers’ Area, and the Shoe Box.
Supporting Associations of the Middle East’s annual leather showpiece event included the French Federation of Tanners, the French Skins and Hides Syndicate, and the National Tanning Industry Union from Italy.