Leather is undoubtedly a strong brand and the industry has managed the recent difficult economic times better than most, but our talks and informal meetings have highlighted real concern about negative publicity about leather and its raw materials and even more about ensuring that young designers and consumers retain the same favourable view of leather as their parents and grandparents.
We meet now with many messages of support from every sector of the industry. We meet with an plan of how we might move forward. It is a critical moment: we need to decide if we will commit, if there is enough support to put something together which will be fresh, positive, and able to engage the new leather industry stakeholders. It will have to use the tools of communication now dominating our new technological world and find the right vocabulary and images to do so.
The aim is to keep leather away from being just another commodity, to remind the consumer it is a premium material . Technically advanced and elegant at the same time. A delight for the designer to work with and a joy for the consumer to own and use, time and again. And good for the planet.
Increasingly we recognise that markets are conversations and that consumers have the final say in the ownership of a brand. That is the essence of this concept. To help educate designers, retailers and consumers so that they continue to feel ownership of the brand that is leather. LeatherNaturally!
Our evening will journey through this, laying out some plans and ideas and seeking comments and support. We are all leather ambassadors and everyone will be able to comment or question either formally or informally.
What we have been hearing very loudly is that leather needs a louder voice, promoting its quality and defending it against false statements. We can no longer assume that future consumers will either need or desire leather. We need to work together to ensure that it they do.
Mike Redwood, Industry Expert/Leather Naturally!