Global and local players are displaying their latest wares, from exotic hides such as alligator, snake, stingray skins, or Amazonian fish hides, to finished leather goods including footwear, handbags, and belts.
"Manufacturers and suppliers are coming from almost every corner of the globe, from Australia, Germany and Italy, to Thailand, Iran, India, and of course, the UAE. The international stature this week is also underlined by national pavilions from France, South Africa, Indonesia, and for the first time, Egypt," said Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the organiser of Leatherworld Middle East.
Spearheading the UAE presence is founding sponsor Al Khaznah Tannery, the Middle East's only tanner of biodegradable, metal-free camel hide, and producer of goods such as handbags, sandals, and accessories; and Afriwest, a supplier of high-end leather and leather care products for the automotive and interior industries.
Many high-end European tanneries are looking to further their presence in the Middle East market, with French players Remy Carriat, Sovos Grosjean, and Tanneries Du Puy leading the way. Italhide from Italy is also returning for the second straight year, and is launching its 2018 exotic skin collection used for shoes, bags, garments, or interior design.
"We are looking to meet designers, architects, or manufacturers who are after the finest quality of exotic leathers that have the best touches from an Italian tannery recognised as among the world's best. Our soft crocodile and unique wool python skins, as well as our diamond dusted skins will surprise everyone this week," said Silvio Rognoni, export manager for Italhide.
Taking centre stage at Leatherworld Middle East 2017 is the Trend Forum, an exclusive showcase of exquisitely finished leather innovations and designs seen for the first time in the region, and in some cases, the world. It was the focal point of the global launch of a gold embossed, diamond encrusted women's shoe collection from Italian shoe designer Antonio Vietri.
Genesis Gulf International is another exhibitor presenting the international launch of its leather brand GEN Leather Arrays, offering fashion accessories, leather garments, shoes, wallets, belts and bags.
Leatherworld Middle East 2017 features other key highlights, such as the Fashion Avenue, where the UAE's most talented designers at ESMOD Dubai are presenting their creative flair with an inspiring array of leather garments, bags, and accessories.
Other features include leather production for tanneries and dealers of semi-finished and finished animal hides; and the Shoe Box, a dedicated section for mid to high-end leather footwear.
Leatherworld Middle East 2017 is supported by the French Hides Association, the French Federation of Tanners, South African Footwear and Leather Export Council, the Indonesian Footwear Association, and the Egypt Expo and Convention Authority.
The UAE was a key regional player, importing leather goods worth $1.2 billion in 2016, while exports added up to $263 million. Saudi Arabia's imports were worth $400 million, while exports amounted to $69 million. (KD)
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