The 34th edition of APLF will be held about two weeks earlier than its traditional dates – 14 – 16 March 2018 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).
The earlier dates will not only prevent APLF from running up against the Easter Holiday in certain calendar years but will also allow professional buyers to source the supplies, materials and components needed to manufacture new designs in time for the Fall/Winter season later in the year.
APLF Director, Perrine Ardouin, noted:
“The decision to bring the days of APLF forward to mid March was taken after careful consultation with both exhibitors and buyers. Bearing in mind that fashion is one of the main drivers behind quality leather and other luxury materials such as cashmere, both brands and customers will have similar demands for sustainability and traceability. Hence, there is mutual synergy not only between Cashmere World and Fashion Access in terms of complementary fashion accessories, but also between Cashmere World and APLF Leather & Materials+.”
Thus, all three events overlap and complement each other with the main focus being on the APLF Leather centerpiece held in Halls 1A – 1E.
Background to APLF Leather 2018
This year the Organisers have had to deal with sharply increased demand for exhibition space in APLF Leather and this is despite the fact that leather, since late 2014, has lost part of its market share to synthetics across the board in the footwear manufacturing industry. It has been the upholstery and automotive sectors that have underpinned demand for leather in the last three years.
Currently leather prices are at their lowest levels since the collapse of hide prices after the 2008-2009 global financial crisis and this is due to oversupply of hides especially from North America. At the time of writing (15 December 2017) there is an overhang of almost 5 million hides not yet shipped to their final destination in US warehouses.
With lower prices ruling, it makes sense to take advantage of professional business platforms such as trade fairs to make new contacts, consolidate existing customer relations and gather market information from peers and competitors at the fairgrounds.
Based on standard rules of supply-demand, lower prices should stimulate demand from designers and manufacturers and even more so as the raw stock oil price for producing synthetic materials that compete directly with leather has now risen to over US$60 / barrel for the first time since 2014.
As a result, leather is more competitive than it has been for many years and this could well be the catalyst that has sparked more tannery interest in exhibition space for the 2018 APLF Leather event.
Highlights to watch out for at APLF
The main Halls 1A – 1E are fully booked and some exhibitors have had to be located on Concourse 1 at the leather fair.
The leather chemicals section in Hall 1A welcomes back some chemicals companies to APLF such as Fenice, Sisecam, and Zschimmer & Schwarz, thus helping to expand this key section of the fair. Other new exhibitors include Alfamex, Grabados SRL, Ningxia Jinhai Leather Industry LLC, Qingdao YoungChang Int'l Leather Co., Ltd and Skinmax SA from the leather sector and Curtidos Leathercol and Martinengo & C Srl, raw materials suppliers.
National pavilions are hard to miss at APLF leather and APLF welcomes back the Egyptian pavilion to the 2018 event and these participants are joined by group pavilions from Brazil, China, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UK and USA – with a first time presence from Sudan.
For APLF 2018 there will be a total of over 800 exhibitors from 46 countries and regions. Visitor numbers are expected to be over 17,000.
In order to cater for the whole supply chain of components for leathergoods and footwear manufacturing, Materials+ returns in 2018 after its successful launch last year. The Materials+ Hall has attracted this year more shoes components and functional materials exhibitors such as Plaginsa and Lenzig Fibers.
To complete the trade element of the international fairs, the APLF organisers have integrated them with a comprehensive schedule of conferences and seminars of topical interest for the professionals present at the events.
The final programme is still being worked on but there will be the Sustainability in the Leather Supply Chain as usual, and the Global Footwear Retail Conference will enhance its scope to include topics on footwear materials, together with Trends Spaces for each fair and workshops.
These educational and informative fringe events make APLF a complete, integrated event with something of practical use and interest for design, sourcing and manufacturing professionals.