Clariant’s Business Unit Leather aims to help tanners add value to their products by supplying fashion themes and ideas well in advance of their competitors. They have formed a small fashion group, based in Italy, made up of external fashion consultants, leather technicians and marketing personnel to develop practical fashion trends for customers using Clariant’s leather chemicals.

The group meets every quarter to discuss concepts and practical applications for a wide range of leathers for footwear, leathergoods, garment and accessories. ‘The fashion consultant introduces the ideas for new items. Our technicians then turn the concepts into practical leather solutions’, Robert Rehmann, Clariant Italy, told Leather International.

Clariant have employed the services of two fashion consultants, Anna Grazia Egidi and Manuela Polidori to initiate the fashion concepts. They take inspiration from a number of sources including forthcoming trend selections in the textile sector. ‘It is important that the technicians are able to turn the trends into practical applications’, says Egidi. ‘We have to make a number of visual presentations to show our ideas. For example, it takes more than words to describe a new concept such as cosmic energy, which we are proposing for spring/summer next year.’

The importance of being able to reproduce the fashion themes into a practical application is also required. Clariant technicians in Italy and Germany process and finish the articles for the fashion group to assess. The leading effects are then selected and used on leather product applications such as shoes or handbags. Egidi works alongside a number of leading Italian leather products manufacturers to develop the leathers into finished articles:


Baldinini – F.lli Fabbri – Grey Mer – Il Calzolaio Srl – Mario Bologna – Barbara Peci


Rossanti Creazioni – Yuri Moda


Smart leather

Spring-summer 2005 themes

Finally, the Clariant fashion group came up with eleven different finished leather types. Each leather type forms one part of five themes.

The groups themselves have been displayed as part of a fashion package for Clariant’s worldwide customers. The preferences chosen for the spring-summer 2005 season are divided into the following five fashion themes. Each leather type is also shown:

Jet set

Lifeline: Urban handbag leather. A combination of a white background and slightly hazy black stripes ideal for upgrading lower quality materials such as splits finished with the Melio Prograde system.

The same effect is also created with different coloured stripes.

Lifestyle: Full grain bovine leathers have been embossed with various grain patterns to highlight a strong contrast. The crust leather was upgraded using stucco finishes.


Double: Very silky nappa feel and look using warm colours which can be worn on both sides. A transfer technique allows reversible garments and accessories. Designed to be used with all types of soft leather such as garment.

Free Spirit: Shoe upper leather on calf. Combination of suede and full grain leather makes it possible to be unlined. Ideal for urban footwear both casual and elegant.


Urban Elegance: Elegant black transparent look on goat with a glazed finish to give a luxury appearance. Additionally, pastel colours provide a sophisticated addition for the summer. Suitable for leathergoods, footwear and accessories

Principe di Galles: Articles produced on crust leather using printed grain effects. Several colours are used to make the leather suitable for both female and male articles.


Acid Vibration: Articles produced on calfskin leather which present strong, bold colours such as mint green, salmon pink and strong fluorescent colours. A velvety rubbery appearance is achieved using Clariant’s Aqualen system on boots, leathergoods and accessories. Strong colours also form a foundation for striking printed calf leathers such as those featuring news print. This look was applied to ladies’ boots, sandals, golf and other sports equipment.

Matelassé: A retro sporty style including graphics that can be used on garments, shoes or leathergoods.

Rubber Flash: Sheepskin leather for garments in a fuchsia colour giving a velvety, peach skin feel.

Cosmic energy

Explorer: A special embossed article featuring bluish silver-grey effects with copper. Ideal for luggage and leathergoods leathers, the concept creates a feeling of travel and exploration.

Oblo’: Corrected grain bovine in acid green colours designed to be used on leathergoods.

‘Each of the eleven leathers from the five groups may used on different leather substrates’ says Robert Rehmann. ‘The tanner can apply the same finish to a first grade calfskin or to upgrade splits.’

A ‘fashion-CD’ featuring all the latest trends will be distributed to Clariant’s customers worldwide in the next few weeks. Following a short presentation of the fashion trends, the CD features a click-on button menu leading to all the finishing formulations, a description of the fashion-trends and a description of the leather-articles. The fashion concept is part of Clariant’s worldwide strategy to enable their customers to find new ways of adding value to the final article.

‘We have already seen a direct benefit to our new fashion approach. A leathergoods producer here in Italy was so interested in some of our leathers that they have contacted a local tanner to produce the leather for their next collection’, Dr Alessandro Cavassi, leather division manager – Clariant Italy told Leather International.

The fashion presentation took place during early April at Clariant’s technical and application centre in Castelfranco di Sotto in the tanning region of Santa Croce S’ull Arno (see Leather International, June 2003, page 20).

Presentations of the new themes, leathers and finished products were given to key Italian customers of Clariant, finished product manufacturers, staff from Clariant and members of the press.

Currently, the Clariant fashion group is developing the next fashion-collection for the autumn/winter 2005/2006 season.