APLF, Hong Kong, showcases some of the latest fashion accessories in the market, as well as various tanneries and chemical companies from around the world. It is a leather fair that is more technologically based compared to Lineapelle, which is more fashion focused.
During the fair, there were several conferences and talks held about various parts of the leather industry, for example cleaner technologies, sustainability and innovative research, to name a few. Stahl headed a conference, being the main speakers in the Sustainability in the Leather Supply Chain Conference, where they focused the attention on bio-based polyurethane technology for leather finishing. This is based on renewable raw materials which can provide equal or better performance versus petrochemical based alternatives.
As for trends, there was definitely an air of ‘play’ around the fair. Contrasting techniques and colours were being used throughout the exhibition, with harmonious and conflicting contrasts seen to draw the eyes of many. There didn’t seem to be much of a trend when it came to the finish aesthetics, as it ranged from gloss to matt, and even to opaque finishes. This lack of continuity in style may be an indication that the industry in unsure of what the upcoming fashion forecast will show, or perhaps they merely wanted to show off their skills when it came to design. Tannery of the Year Awards also took place at APLF and the winner was Couro do Norte from Brazil.
Raw hides, wet-blue and crust seemed busy during the fair, but not everybody got contracts. Chinese market is full of stocks, for instance one tannery sold out finished leather at 1,00 USD/SQFT. What is more depressed Turkish market gives prices totally below the market and everything shows another drops coming.
“Leather keeps searching for the bottom, the questions is how much longer?”