Fifteen French tanneries, famous for their reputation as high-end leather producers, will showcase a range of hides at the inaugural edition of Leatherworld Middle East, which takes place from May 4-6 2015 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

On view will be a complete range of leathers fashioned from cow, buffalo, sheep and goat hide, as well as more exotic leathers made from crocodile, alligator, lizard and python skins, as the French aim to captivate influential regional buyers.

Included on the list of top flight French tanneries is Gordon Choisy, owned by luxury goods manufacturer Hermes, and Bodin Joyeux, owned by global fashion house Chanel, which employs about 100 employees and produces nearly 600,000 lambskins per year.

Another headline French name is Tannerie Sovos Grosjean, founded in 1864, and renowned for its full grain cattle hides designed for interior design, furniture, boating, aviation, leather goods, case making, shoes, and wristwatches.

Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the organiser of Leatherworld Middle East, said tanneries are taking advantage of the growing regional demand for quality leather products and furnishing, particularly in the booming regional hospitality sector.

“One of the primary reasons for many tanneries to be exhibiting at Leatherworld Middle East is due to the rapid rise in the development of hotels in the UAE and across the region,” said Pauwels. “A great deal of high-quality leather is needed in these five-star establishments for interior fit-outs and so demand for premium offerings is on the rise.  

Meanwhile, spending on small luxury leather goods in the Middle East and African (MEA) region is surging ahead – a factor that is driving interest in the region from top flight French tanneries and other international exhibitors at Leatherworld Middle East 2015.

Leather goods demand

Market figures released by analysts Euromonitor International show that the MEA small leather luxury goods market (wallets, purses, card holders, and other accessories) was valued at US$270.7 million in 2014, and growing 13.7% annually to reach US$453.5 million by 2018.

Nick Butler, Export Manager at Covico, another French exhibitor at Leatherworld Middle East, said: “To date very few quantities of French raw hides and skins have been destined for the Middle East region, and Leatherworld Middle East presents us an exciting opportunity to open into this market. 

“French hides and skins are recognised to be among the best quality raw material available for making top quality leather. We are convinced the Middle Easterners appreciate quality and will be attracted to our products.”

Other French tanneries and suppliers at Leatherworld Middle East 2015 include LCO Group, Tanneries Haas, HCP Exotic Leathers, Degermann, Pechdo, Alran, Remy Carriat, Megissserie de la Moliere, La Megisserie Sofacuir, and ATC Tannery Chemicals.

The strong French connection will be further complemented by two of Leatherworld Middle East’s supporting associations, the French Federation of Tanners, and the French Skins and Hides Syndicate.

The international flavour at the first edition of the three-day event will be highlighted by more than 90 exhibitors from Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Pakistan, Senegal, Spain, the UK, USA, and the UAE.

Leatherworld Middle East will also feature exclusive product zones, including ‘The Shoe Box’, a section dedicated entirely for footwear; ‘The Trend Zone’, for tanneries to display the latest international leather trends, from colours, leather types, innovation and eco leather; and ‘The Fashion Avenue’, where suppliers of high street fashion leather products showcase their high-end leather clothes and accessories.