Increasing raw material prices and a strong euro versus the dollar kept most tanners optimism down at the recent 23rd Pielespaña International leather exhibition held in Barcelona. In general, last year was very difficult for the domestic tanning industry although Spanish garment leather makers did fair better than those producing footwear uppers according to the sectorial association CEC-Fecur.

Approximately 15,000 industry professionals attended the four-day event, which is the major annual showcase for the Spanish garment leather sector. ‘We are hoping that the show will kick-start the next buying season. Sales of doubleface and garment leather were very good up until the end of September last year. Since then the market has been very quiet’, Josep Ballbé, director of the Spanish tanners’ association CEC-Fecur told Leather International. ‘The euro has become very strong making our non-EU rivals more competitive and key European markets for Spanish leather garments such as Germany have been depressed in recent years making the situation worse’, he added.

A total of 180 exhibitors (56 foreign) took part in the show, which was held in hall 1 of the Montjuïc trade fair centre from January 30 to February 2. Exhibitors consisted of tanners, garment manufacturers, leathergoods, accessories and leather making machinery covering 14,000 sq m of gross space. Exhibitors were generally tanners or garment makers of doubleface, nappa, suede and nubuck leathers.

Pielespaña featured two catwalk fashion shows for the autumn-winter 2004/05 season. A full report can be seen in the March issue of Leather International. A second show was provided by leather garment and leathergoods manufacturers from the Balearic Islands. The show featured nine companies and was called ‘Balears en moda’.

The trend area of the show featured a display that mixed leather with art and photography called ‘leather surrealism’. The display was directed by Gianluca di Maulo, artistic of the Italian magazine Vogue Pelle. Garment leather made by Spanish tanners was displayed in a collection of surrealist images reflected in mirrors to highlight the different types, textures and tones.