This year’s fair will take place against a backdrop of tight leather supplies and near record prices as scarcer raw material supplies have propelled leather prices higher in the last year. Although prices have eased somewhat after the Christmas vacation period, the ingredients for another push higher are still latent.

Many countries have banned or restricted the export of raw materials to ensure supplies for their national industry and the world’s major exporter of hides, the USA, currently has the smallest bovine herd on record since 1951. At some point herd rebuilding will limit slaughter and hence hide supplies.

The global importance of APLF MM&T for the leather industry can be judged by the 25 National Pavilions due to take part in this year’s 31st edition of this leading event.

“Concierge service” for busy buyers

So that buyers can maximise their limited time at the fair, the show organisers will arrange a “concierge service” to facilitate a specific itinerary to selected exhibitors or for visitors new to the show. This will enable them to visit, for example, leather for furniture, footwear, garments, leather goods and so on according to their needs, as well as having one-on-one meetings with exhibitors.

France is the Focus Country

Members of the French leather industry are delighted to have France designated as the Focus Country for 2015.

The French Conseil National du Cuir and SIC have designed a journey through a “Galerie” where the visitors can cast their eye over the tradition and know-how of France, but also see the creativity and innovation that can be found on the stands of the French exhibitors, which will be located at the concourse outside Hall 1.

The French Pavilion has increased 84% in size this year and will feature 41 exhibitor stands, all of which are suppliers to the leading luxury houses, headed by the French Federation of Tanners (FFTM) and the French Hides Association, SGCP (Syndicat Général des Cuirs et Peaux brutes). There are seven new exhibitors including Alric, Absire Sevrey, Cuirs du Futur, Joqueviel & Cathala, Tannerie Mégisserie de la Molière, Megisserie Sofacuir and Orylag.

France is the fourth largest exporter in the international leather market, taking all sectors into account.

Leather Club and Forum

Now in its third year the Leather Club and Forum, located on Concourse 1, will be a hub of activity and networking during this edition.

Presentations by experts will cover a wide range of topics relevant to the industry. At this early stage there is already an interesting tentative schedule at hand. CTC Groupe will be present, along with the Korea Apparel Testing & Research Institute (KATRI) and presentations from Stahl and one of Asia’s leading tanneries, PrimeAsia.

Sourcing Luxury

The Sourcing Luxury display is a natural development of MM&T as a platform for sourcing all types of materials and components that embellish products from the luxury sector, which has grown exponentially in recent years – especially in mainland China with its burgeoning middle classes.

Furs and exotic leathers that lend that luxury touch to big name brands and handcrafted features can be vital components in elevating a product from the luxury to super-luxury category. Such unusual and luxury items will be on display in Sourcing Luxury and may help fire the imagination of visiting designers.

Best of APLF Awards

The first Best of APLF Awards (BOAA) were first held in March 2004 to mark the 20th anniversary of APLF’s Material, Manufacturing & Technology fair. The organisers saw the need to raise the bar for all exhibitors by creating an awards programme that would encourage the pursuit of excellence in design and quality.

This is the “mission” of the BOAA and high standards of design originality are maintained by the experience of the five resident judges who include Olivier Guillemin as Head of the Judging Panel from France.