According to an executive officer of the Australian Hide Skin and Leather Exporters Association, Australia’s leather industry is at an all-time low as consumers opt for vegan alternatives.
Denis King, the officer in question, said: “The leather industry is in one of the worst depressions it’s been in in living memory. Talking with people who have been in the industry for 40 or 50 years, they’ve never seen the industry in as bad a shape as it is.”
Australia exports animal skins abroad, where the tanning process is carried out. The skins are then shipped back to Australia to be made into goods such as shoes, bags, and jackets. According to King, the cost of prepping and shipping untanned hides is now greater than the sale price.
The finger of blame was also pointed in the direction of new materials for vegan shoes and clothing, as well as the high price of wool. King explained that sheep are arriving already shorn while in the past, there would be at least an inch of wool “that would have gone into the sheepskin side of things for warm jackets.”