The event began with an opening ceremony attended by leaders from across the industry as well as the Thai Tanning Industry Association (TTIA), Indonesian Tanners Association and Fashion Accessory Makers of the Philippines.

Grace Lee, Director of event organisers APLF Limited, said: “One of APLF ASEAN’s aims is to support the development and growth of the Thai and regional leather industry. Such developments will be driven by the increased business activity within the sector fostered by the trade fair.

“This will be complemented by a wide-reaching event agenda consisting of a comprehensive programme of education, artisan talks, and student competitions to promote the application and accurate concept of leather.”

As one of its focuses, APLF ASEAN will aim to provide opportunities for suppliers in the international leather supply chain as part of the trade agreement between the ASEAN member states and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which includes China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Event organisers highlighted how Southeast Asia surpassed North America as the strongest sales market for tanners in the results of the 2023 ILM Tanner Business Confidence Survey.

APLE ASEAN host nation Thailand is at the heart of the ASEAN region with 30 members of the TTIA in attendance as well as top leather goods designers.

TTIA President Suwatchai Wongcharoensin said: “TTIA has been at the forefront of promoting and advancing the leather industry. It is our honour to extend our support to APLF that propels our sector forward as the meeting point of knowledge exchange and market expansion.”

Day two of the event will include the Next Leather Goods Designer Competition, showcasing the work of undergraduate students, crafted using leather from 10 Thai exhibitors. APLF ASEAN will also include a series of workshops and other events throughout the three days.