Stahl have announced they are organising a series of roadshows and trend shows around the globe to provide a fast moving means of informing tanneries and their cus-tomers of the latest concepts in surface effects and finishes for leather, and of the tech-nology that is now available for achieving the resulting goals.

In the past, global fashion used to be driven by the two distinct fashion seasons, Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer. Increasing global communications and travel has led to a dynamic of continual change. The fashion industry is no longer willing to wait for the next major trade exhibition to view the latest changes in technology and design.

The series of events planned by Stahl has been designed to enable tanners to over-come the problems created by this continual demand for change and also to build and enhance their own brand identity as never before. They will have an opportunity to discuss new ideas with experts and to translate the concepts into new products suited to their own very individual markets.

In planning these events, Stahl have already seen the importance of upgrading leather to meet fashion demands and this will be the key to the success of the project over the coming months. The display will include over seventy finished leathers aimed at the shoe upper, leathergoods, garment and upholstery markets and with the perception that each finished leather will be suitable for multiple end-uses.

As a start to the events, a series of fashion presentations by John Schoemans, a mem-ber of the Stahl Europe, has already taken place. The first of these trend shows was hosted by Waalwijk in the Netherlands during October before being rolled out to venues around the world. Schoemans explained the latest fashion trends using examples of leathers prepared especially for the Autumn/Winter 2006/2007 period. He explained how the leathers were made and crafted from original inspirations provided by fashion specialists who provide different materials and structures that need to be interpreted in leather.

Using the most recent colour groups, Schoemans showed how the technical theme of ‘simplicity’ could be used in both the selection of products and their use in applications. Compounded products such as compact resins make life easier and simpler for the finisher. The soft look and feel of leather is of paramount importance today and new hand modifiers and cationic product technology have helped to achieve this. Metallic effects abound and use metal powders to create ‘starburst’ effects. These and other vivid surface effects such as wet gloss are shown to be easy to achieve.

Schoemans also demonstrated upgrading using the ‘Mezzo Fiore’ approach on soft leather for furniture, shoe upper and garment leathers to change the look of snuffed or buffed leathers into the look and feel of a full grain. It is an excellent example of value addition which is at the forefront of the shows and is their main objective.

The European collection will be available for other Stahl companies to adapt and ex-plain in their own individual styles and languages, leading to simultaneous communication of the same information across the world. Each presentation will be tailored to the individual and specific market segment of the guests, thus enabling customers to focus on their particular need.