“We have seen more visitors at the show this year than we did during the same event last year”, K Anees Ahmed, Managing Partner, for Indian small skin tanners, Kamil Leathers told ILM. Kamil manufacture sheep and goatskins from its tannery in Vellore for footwear and leather goods. Europe represents a major market and the upturn in visitor numbers and potential business is most welcome for them and many others in the business after a difficult 2015. “For us the goatskin business for linings is quite steady at the moment but sheepskins have been more challenging”, explained Ahmed.

Visitor numbers at the fair were very positive on both the opening two-days of the show, especially on the second day where tanners are highlighting leather collections for the Spring-Summer 2017 season. The general sentiment during the fair was that Lineapelle is growing in importance once again as a major European and global leather event and reconfirms the decision of the organisers to move the fair away from Bologna to Milan. 

In terms of the market, it can be generalised that the garment leather segment remains depressed, footwear upper is slow whereas the furniture and automotive segments remain quite buoyant. Maybe the most positive feeling from this edition Lineapelle was a perceived improvement in the leather goods (hand bags) sector. It is felt that lower raw materials prices are beginning to attract back buyers who turned away after leather became too expensive for mainstream leather goods makers.

Despite the positive feeling at Lineapelle, underlying global economic problems persist in many of the BRIC nations, the conflict in Syria, Russian sanctions and a fragile recovery in Europe means that the road ahead will remain challenging. 

Lineapelle hosts 1,153 companies from 43 countries covering a surface area of 43,400 sq m of the Fiera Rho Exhibition grounds in Milan. “Lineapelle is not just a trade show, us Italian tanners hold it as our most important and prestigious event. 2015 closed with decrease in the luxury goods segment. However, we expect many more billionaires in China and India over the next few years that will help the luxury market improve”, states Gianni Russo, UNIC President and President of Italian tanners, Russo di Casandrino.