APLF busy despite rising manufacturing costs

4 April 2011

Several interesting observations about this 2011 series of APLF exhibitions, Materials, Manufacturing & Technology (MM&T), and Fashion Access (FA), which were co-located with the annual apparel conference, Prime Source Forum. The main talk of the fairs was the increase in the price of raw materials, with leather prices being the highest since 1996. Much of the rise in costs was attributed to a series of climatic factors that reduced supply availability. However, the atmosphere of the fairs was upbeat, and the mood of the exhibitors and visitors was very positive.

As well as more than a 20% increase in exhibitors compared to 2010 in MM&T, both MM&T and FA got off to a busy start on Monday, March 30 for its 27th year. The show took place March 30 to April 1 at the HKCEC.

Regular buyer Phoebe Yu of Nike, commented that MM&T is ‘much more colourful and innovative compared to last year,’ and that ‘the Material Trends Space saves time’ when sourcing.

Tom Chen of Diesel agreed: ‘MM&T gives me direction and guidance for the coming year’s trend in colour and materials.’

From an exhibitor’s point of view, Filipino hand-crafted footwear company PLV Trading’s Pamela Villaneuva said, ‘The best part is the number of orders we get.’

Another highlight of the fairs was the Design-A-Bag Online Competition award ceremony. Marie Cabirou of ESAA Duperre, France, the overall competition winner was delighted with the contacts she made and winning this prestigious award. Head judge and creative director for the competition, Jayne Esteve Cure said, ‘I was thrilled with this year’s competition; it was infused with energy, enthusiasm and vibrancy.’ She added, ‘We are also moving the competition towards a more fashion-orientated theme, as evidenced by the overall winner from the Super Fashion category.’

And co-located, the sixth Prime Source Forum took place over two days, starting with a tremendous talk from Edwin Keh (former COO of Wal-Mart Global Procurement), setting the scene and tone for the rest of the forum. The event also had vigorous debates on sourcing, challenges, competition, labour issues, and retaining talent.


Inaugurated in 1984 this annual exhibition is the industry’s most international leather event with exhibitors and buyers from north and south America, Europe, Africa and the Asia Pacific region. The fast-growing economies of both China and India are well represented. The growth of this market is reflected by a 20% increase in exhibition space this year and 82 new exhibitors.

Exhibitors from all sectors of the leather, footwear and fashion accessories related industries are present showcasing products from raw materials and hides to semi- and finished-leather, and from chemicals and tannery machinery, to synthetic materials and components.

Featured prominently at MM&T are upcoming fashion trends recognising that the leather sector is today an integral part of the global fashion industry. The spring-summer 2012 colours will be presented at the Materials Trends Space.

Hand bag catwalk show at Fashion Access

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