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Leather Pipeline: Brands’ recycled-plastic promises mask reality

Finding a way to regain leather’s market share from plastic alternatives was high on the agenda at the All China Leather Exhibition in Shanghai, but no clear solution was found, according to the author of our exclusive Leather Pipeline report.

While plastic has a bad reputation in the eyes of the public, brands are using this to their advantage by making claims about recycled materials, even though “anyone with even a little bit of knowledge knows that would not cover a micro percentage of the materials used, without even considering the energy consumption and Co2 footprint”.

The report says that the fashion industry “creates the evil and is praised for the intention to get rid of it”.

“The leather industry must learn from it. We are not getting much support from anywhere, even with the good intentions to explain leather. Simple economics dominate and none of the mass manufacturers is significantly impressed by the efforts. We must understand that there is no leather or plastic but a combination of leather and plastic.”

The report goes on to say that the higher quality sections of the industry are still performing well, but questions must be asked about the direction of leather trade fairs, given the declining number of exhibitors and the growing number of synthetics present.

See the full report, plus the lowdown from European and US hides trades, in the Market Info section.

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