A game of two halves - Simac Tanning Tech and Lineapelle

23 May 2016

Held at the Fiera Milano Rho on 23–25 February, the international expo for tannery, footwear and leather goods machinery and technology, Simac Tanning Tech and Lineapelle, were hives of activity. But just how did they fare? Leather International went to assess the situation.

As Simac Tanning Tech on one side of Fiera's main concourse, and Lineapelle, displaying collections for spring/summer 2017, on the other, came to a close on 25 February, the overall sense was that both fairs ended with a flourish, rising to the challenges that surround the international leather industry with increased visitors and optimism for the year ahead, which signals a positive sense of how the industry is bouncing back, despite buyers tapering off on the third day at Lineapelle.

Tanning Tech itself, in halls 14 and 18 of the Fiera Milano Rho Expo centre, displayed as much energy, buzz and pace as the machinery on display, with visitors reputedly up 30% from last year and a buying snowball effect that will deem this edition a big success once the official numbers come out.

The momentum both shows are gaining is undeniable, especially since moving to the Rho facilities in 2014, despite leaving behind the aesthetics and glorious cuisine of Bologna. The dates are also somewhat contentious considering they land right on the heels of Première Vision in Paris the previous week.

International agenda

Assomac, the trade association for manufacturers of machinery for leather goods and tannery industries that organises Simac Tanning Tech, announced that there was growth in the number of buyers in respect to previous editions. With a particularly international feel, considering the event, with cooperation with the ITA, the Italian Trade Agency, drew 25 foreign delegations, for a total of more than 150 foreign delegates including those from Iraq, Nigeria, Peru and India, there was a major increase in visitors from Italy and abroad.

As for Lineapelle, which showed a 6% rise in exhibitor numbers over the February 2015 edition, results were still patchy depending on whom you spoke with, but the overall state of health is positive despite complexities in the market, from labour concerns, consumer appetites and hide prices.

And as Lineapelle was going on at the same time as Milan Fashion Week, the changing face of luxury is resonating throughout the entire supply chain, with an increasing demand for products right off the catwalk. Prada, for example, presented its latest shoulder-strap Pionnière and Cahier bags, which went on sale in select stores days after, not months.

With customers all over the world living in different climates, many fashion houses are foregoing the usual six-month gap between shows and retail availability by offering runway items in shops or online right away. This trend was a topic among exhibitors and visitors at Tanning Tech and could lead to greater buying power in the luxury market - something tanners and brands can benefit from.

Greener grass

Back over at Tanning Tech, and as an example of its success this year, tanning drum and automation system developer Hüni signed one of its biggest contracts in its history with a prominent Bangladeshi leather producer, according to leatherbiz.com.

"The success of Simac Tanning Tech 2016 is primarily thanks to the exhibiting companies, which interpreted customer needs extremely well, offering sustainable and innovative products," says Gabriella Marchioni Bocca, president of Simac Tanning Tech.

"We recorded a major increase in visitors from Italy and abroad, and they were especially appreciative of the eco-friendly technological solutions. This is fast becoming a pressing global requirement and found a determined response at Simac Tanning Tech. The exhibition remains the most important technology event worldwide for the footwear, leather goods and tanning sector. Over three days, it provided concrete answers to the demand for process sustainability, recognisability and innovation coming from the market."

Overall, people were satisfied in Milan. Lineapelle and Simac Tanning Tech exhibitors said that trends look promising on the back of doing good business. The next Simac Tanning Tech is scheduled for 21-23 February 2017, and if positive results like this year and industry cohesion continues, the future is looking promising. ?

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