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Last year was “worst ever” for global leather industry

The year begins on the Leatherbiz Weekly electronic newsletter with a new market intelligence report in our exclusive Leather Pipeline series.

Looking back to 2019, the report suggests it was “the worst year ever” for the global leather, hide and skin market. It points out that artificial alternatives have become better and, in many market segments, most notably automotive, has become closer to the original than ever before. 

While this progress in the production of synthetic substitutes for leather has gone on, the original, according to the Leather Pipeline report, “continued to lose its true identity”. And this has happened at a time when there is fierce opposition from vocal minorities in many parts of the world to livestock farming, meat production and leather.

To make things worse, 2019 was also one of the years with the highest cattle kill ever, leading to too many hides coming into the supply chain and a large volume of lower-quality hides going to waste.

However, with fashion designers rediscovering a liking for leather garments, there are still some grounds for optimism.

A positive reception of these leather garments among many fashion commentators suggest that many consumers still appreciate it. Prices are attractive, the report says, and leather as a material fits well with the revival we are seeing of 1980s and 1990s fashion.

The report goes on to make the crucial point that many brands have “understood that leather is also an extremely sustainable material”. Furthermore, it says that if these designers’ new-found liking for leather garments goes mainstream it will stimulate demand along the leather pipeline for 2020 and 2021.

Subscribers can read the full report in the Market Info section of the website.





Smit & Zoon Jan20

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