Killing Oscar

Karl Flowers and Garen Nalbandian
Karl Flowers and Garen Nalbandian

Did you see the BBC Three programme Blood, Sweat and Luxuries on Leather? Are you getting ready to go and strangle Oscar? I am sure Garen Nalbandian nearly did. If you have not seen it you still have all of May to watch it on BBC iPlayer (http://ow.ly/1Gbpm ) and perhaps the alumni office will have a recorded copy for the non UK residents.

The programme is about six young UK consumers who are sent to spend a few days in Ethiopia working in the abattoir, a tannery and a shoe factory. And at the tannery they found alumnus Garen Nalbandian ready to welcome them, until he meets Oscar.

A couple of things are clear. Looking at the skill of the stitching in the shoe factory the Ethiopian worker is clearly able to manage world class skills in this respect. In the abattoir you are looking at Glasgow in the 1960s but to today’s much more sensitive world we need to work a lot harder on animal welfare and overall cleanliness. The leather industry needs these young people eating meat and buying leather and has to think about the whole chain in getting things as good as they can be.

Progress in Latin America

Dr Wilkinson at the JBS (Berlin) plant in Novo Hamburgo
Dr Wilkinson at the JBS (Berlin) plant in Novo Hamburgo

Over the years the University has had a mixed history in Latin America and has never been quite sure how our leather offer fitted in. Recently with students from Mexico and Columbia in particular along with our increasingly respected research this has changed and it looks like our Institute for Creative Leather Technologies can look forward to lively relationships throughout the continent. Dr. Wilkinson has just returned from a long trip there and was greatly excited by the reception he found everywhere he went. The importance of the Brazilian industry from raw hide supply through to footwear manufacture cannot be underestimated. It has proven to be resilient even in times that the local currency has escalated in value and has been making serious strides in building strong global relationships. With Chinese industry beginning to spend more time working on servicing the growing consumer demand in China itself and with costs there rising Latin America will certainly become increasingly important as a source for leather and leather products and as a consumer market.

And a wedding

Chris and Paul Ohren Bird
Chris and Paul Ohren Bird

Chris Powley-Williams likes double barrelled names. We congratulate her on her recent wedding and in doing so note that she now has four names rather than two to work with. So we now have Chris Ohren-Bird as our famous alumnus and President of the SLTC. Some of the many congratulations to Chris along with photos can be found on both the Corium and SLTC Facebook pages but of course we have to publish our own little group showing Chris and Paul, John and Palin Basford and Mark and Stephanie Wilkinson.

John and Pailing Basford
John and Pailing Basford
Stephanie and Mark Wilkinson
Stephanie and Mark Wilkinson

Mike Redwood

03 May 2010