On the day before Lineapelle New York in mid-July, the fourth World Leather Congress will take place upstairs at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan’s Chelsea district.

Leather Industries of America and the US Hide, Skin and Leather Association have collaborated to make this edition unique, all under the auspices of the International Council of Tanners. UNIC and Lineapelle are also providing administrative assistance – and with that kind of backing, the programme has been sounding a strong drumbeat of greater cohesion across the industry.

The theme for this fourth Congress will be ‘Leather in Everyday Life’ as a way to educate people outside of the industry about the virtues of leather, and dispel the increasing amount of false narratives and misinformation that has blighted the industry for years.

While the first three congresses dealt mainly with the industry and its supply and distribution chain, this one – especially being located in New York – is focused on the consumer, products and design. With growing emphasis on the power of the consumer, it is important for the congress to look at leather and leather products from the viewpoint of consumers and their interests – increasingly buying products that are ethical, sustainable and consumer friendly.

Following the new economic models and evolving consumer attitudes towards fashion, especially the athleisure boom, the leather industry is experiencing a technological and digital transformation, developing and implementing new organisational patterns.

This transition has gone hand to hand with the industry’s commitment to safeguard and keep intact the story, cultural relevance, significance, sustainability and properties of leather.

Take the stage

International speakers from the most important fashion and tanning industries and organisations worldwide will join the event to discuss the appeal and value of leather in ordinary life. Speakers include the University of Cincinnati’s Steve Lange, who will speak about the rudiments of leather – what it is and how it is made, and this unique material’s global appeal.

Leather Naturally’s Mike Redwood will pick up on that refrain and delve more into the culture, history and legacy of leather. And Orietta Pelizzari, owner of Milan-based Mattori Studio, the trend forecaster and consulting agency specialising in product development and brand scouting for the fashion industry, will speak about how progressive, dynamic and ultimately modern a material leather is, and all of its different uses and applications.

Given the range of expertise, this Congress will signal a greater commitment to inclusiveness within the industry and beyond.