An important September

September looks like being an important month for the BSLT. The main event going on is the Shanghai is the All China Leather Exhibition (ACLE) which is the “Biggest and Most Important International Leather Trade Fair in China”. It is certainly important to the school as we are well advanced in developing relationships with three Chinese leather schools in Wenzhou, Xian and Chengdu (where Tony Covington is already a visiting Professor). In addition to this China has been quite an important source of students over the last few years.

Looking forward we actually expect Chinese leather students to be taught locally in China with the final year and any post-graduate work in Northampton. We also expect Northampton to teach the teachers via our M.Sc., Ph.D. and Leather MBA programmes. This September our Vice Chancellor, Ann Tate, will be in Shanghai with Mark Wilkinson. If any alumni reading this will be present do let me know so we can arrange to meet up and if we have a decent group we can all get together for a drink with the VC. We are looking to create a series of useful meetings for the VC so if you are able to help do let us know.

IULTCS Istanbul Initiative arrives in Paris

When Mark returns from China he will at once lead a delegation to the International Leather Forum in Paris. This is an invitation only meeting called by Marc Folachier who is the current President of the IULTCS to “reflect on strategic issues faced by the leather industry and on leather’s future in the marketplace.” This comes out of the IULTCS meeting in Turkey where it was agreed it was necessary to get all stakeholders from ICHSLTA through the educational and research institutes to the suppliers and ultimate brands talking together. A long process has gone on to get invites out to a selected 100 key industry people to invite to this meeting a lot is expected of it. The University and the BSLT will have Geoff Attenburrow as Chair of the IULTCS education committee as well as Tony Covington for his leading edge research. The University wants to play a lead role as a top educational and research institute with strong links to the brands not just via leather but also via fashion, 3D design and other areas of the university such as environmental management and management.

I have always argued that the fragmented nature of the leather industry has weakened it and that too much time has been spent thinking about marketing “leather” rather than providing a proper body who can speak up for the industry against some of PETA’s unfair claims, issues such as REACH and some of the testing procedures for “banned substances” which are not at all scientific. Leather itself is well thought of by the consumers – it is the tanners that have been weak in protecting the industry and letting others like the brands dictate whether we use Indian hides or how to test for CrVI.

The SLTC Conference at Chester

September also brings us the SLTC conference at Chester. It is the 110th this year and the keynote speaker will be our alumnus John Basford who is talking on liming. It has all the makings of one of the best conferences for many years and the bookings are already looking very good.

Michael Redwood

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

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