A superior finish: Leatherworld Middle East

17 April 2018

The fourth edition of Leatherworld Middle East took place on 27 February to 1 March 2018 in Dubai, and focused exclusively on quality and aesthetically superior finished leather products.

When Leatherworld Middle East broke new ground in Dubai in 2015, it had its own hall, an air of exclusivity and 86 exhibitors, all of whom jumped at the chance to take advantage of this underappreciated region and a leather trade that was estimated in 2014 at $4 billion.

Four years later, Leatherworld Middle East 2018 concluded a few weeks earlier than its usual May slot and with a more pared-down structure, having had to share hall space at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre with Paperworld Middle East.

Nevertheless, Leatherworld Middle East still represented the region’s premier showcase of leather goods, fashion and accessories, and thousands of trade buyers flocked to see the latest innovations. Unfortunately, the earlier schedule meant that fewer Europeans were able to attend due to its proximity to Lineapelle and Tanning Tech in Milan.

Quality items, expert knowledge

The 2018 show had 34 exhibitors from nine countries displaying high-end, handmade leather items. Combined, the two shows welcomed just over 7,000 visitors from more than 90 countries, with many inspired by the luxurious leather on show, ranging from the exotic skin handbags from Thailand to the luxury South African fashion accessories and UAE-produced camel hide goods.

“We were thrilled to bring the global leather creations community together once again at Leatherworld Middle East 2018,” commented Ahmed Pauwels, fair organiser and CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East. “Exhibitors from all over the world came to the fore, displaying the very best of what they had to offer to regional trade buyers who were looking for something truly unique and special.”

Mohammed Ghanem Al Mansoori, general manager at Al Khaznah Tannery, Leatherworld Middle East’s founding sponsor, said, “Leatherworld Middle East is a great platform for us, and – as usual – we’re very happy to be part of the show and to grow along with it. We’ve been part of the show’s previous editions and will surely support [it] in the upcoming editions. We specialise in the manufacture of camelskin – the pride of the UAE’s leather industry – and other top-grade skins, and supply to leather goods manufacturers across the UAE. We export our products to Eastern Asia and Europe, which account for almost 50% of the factory’s output,” which is about 750,000 pieces of camelskin, goatskin and others per annum. “We are always amazed by the ROI that we receive from participation at the show.”

New additions

Concluding on 1 March, Leatherworld Middle East 2018 featured exhibitors from Italy, Australia, Thailand, Pakistan, India, South Africa and Lebanon.

Purveyors of fine fashion with an eye for the future were also treated to a student showcase on the exhibition floor, where 15 handbags made by year-two students of prestigious fashion design institute ESMOD Dubai were on display. “This year, we focused our work on leather bags, and ESMOD Dubai decided to showcase the difficult way of playing with layers and canvas, leather stripes, colours and shapes,” said Tamara Hostel, founder and CEO of ESMOD Dubai.

A two-day seminar programme was also introduced for the first time, ensuring industry insiders walked away armed with essential knowledge centred on launching new fashion brands in the mass market and on reimagining the future of the global leather industry.

Leatherworld Middle East 2018 is supported by the South Africa Leather Export Council and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan. The annual three-day event is the region’s dedicated showcase of finished leather goods from footwear, clothing, bags, wallets and accessories to premium corporate gifts, stationery and household decorations.

It is the ideal networking platform for regional traders, private brand-owners, retailers, designers and corporate gift promotions companies searching for all things leather-related.

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