If the APLF in Hong Kong has a really big attendance they can thank the Indian International Leather Fair in Chennai and the great meetings with alumni and friends to remind them of what is going on in Hong Kong for the Leather Centenary.
Despite the depression it looks like the show and the Corium event will be very busy. One function of trade fairs today, more than selling, is as a meeting place where one can catch a feeling from trends and pricing, do some informal benchmarking, and meet a lot of colleagues that it would be impossible to get together with face to face otherwise. For all the power of the blackberry it can only be a supplement to face to face meetings, never a replacement.
Chennai can now say it has arrived as a major presence as there is no doubt that India has one of the best vertically integrated leather industries in the world and its price points and products, heavy in footwear and with a strong formal capability, seem better placed than most to withstand the worst of the recession.
The horror story of the moment is the upholstery sector. If you owned a clutch of world class, top level tanneries around the world at a time when your regular hides were dirt cheap because your market had gone on forced holiday what would you do? Footwear? Enough said and that could be disruptive factor to shake the boat: watch this space.
My picture is of Dr and Mrs Wilkinson plus Richard Daniels (centre), alumnus and reed bed guru.
3rd February 2009