The show’s offer once again managed to strike the right balance between essential classics and refreshing innovations. Stimulated by the creativity and exacting standards of luxury labels, tanneries know how to innovate while maintaining their quality standard. And their vision is not limited to the forthcoming season but also addresses their development in the medium-term.
Sustainable development is now firmly at the heart of their strategies, whether this involves improving the eco-responsibility of their production process and their output, or reducing their impact on the environment. Without doubt, this sense of responsibility is helping to make the market wiser. Nevertheless, it remains very lively and shows that labels – and luxury ones in particular – are still attached to leather, to its beauty and its unique qualities, which Première Vision Leather continually seeks to showcase.
Classics and best-sellers
Classics remain the key product for both tanneries and their clients. But, according to its savoir-faire and history, each tannery has its own speciality. So, Soydan focuses on its dipped lamb, aptly named Elégance Plongé, soft and sensual and with very little coating. Dean (1) has made the same choice, to the delight of its customers. Russo di Casandrino attracts leather goods and footwear labels with its Vendôme, soft, shiny and with a slightly waxy feel. Richard finds takers in the leather goods sector with a firmer lamb leather, 0.9mm thick and covered with a finish that varies to order. Meanwhile Didier Lieutard enjoys the same success with its smooth vegetable-tanned lamb leather. With regard to shearling leathers, Spanish merinos are the benchmark here, “with a glossy wool that is as soft and light as possible” from Gunduz Kurk (2), alongside other essentials such as Lacaune, Toscana and Domestic UK from Yesiller Deri, all of which boast a suede or nappa treatment that is more or less smooth and uniform on the flesh side. Whether the finish is aniline, grained and drummed, like at Peausserie Clément, or more discrete with a finer grain like at Didier Lieutard, goat leather also has its fans. With its large choice of films, San Martin (3) meets a wide category of demands, whether this is using goat leather…or bovine leather, which the Spanish tannery also offers. “Our items with a clipped surface are always popular and are now some of our best-sellers,” their spokesperson on the stand tells us. Bovine suede split “lightly oiled to give it more depth,” also remains in favour for Sciarada Industria Conciaria. As for calfskin, the best seller at Enterprise is soft and metallic, while it has a more or less substantial finish and different thicknesses at Carisma (4). Tanneries Haas uses mixed tanning (chrome then a vegetable re-tanning) then nourishes the leather. Without fanfare, baby calf leather has carved out a niche in the catalogue of many tanneries, such as Masini – with a variety of finishes – or Carisma. For crocodiles, the natural shiny and rather soft finish, such as the Millenium item from La Patrie (5) remains a must for leather goods. Meanwhile, in python leather, matt finishes are in the highest demand, according to the same Italian specialist.
Classic dipped lamb from Dean
Spanish hair-on merino from Gunduz Kurk
Laminated goat skin from San Martin
Calfskin for leather goods from Carisma
Millenium crocodile leather from La Patrie
Never ceasing to stimulate the imagination of their clients, tanneries offered a plethora of innovations this season. Tanneries Haas chose to “work on textures”, offering calf leather with rubbery or waxy finishes for their leather goods clients, and the creation of a new brush-off leather for footwear makers. Russo di Casandrino (6) has produced a shiny, metallic, soft calf leather, that is lightly varnished, and a shiny calf leather “a touch vintage” but with a natural texture, both of which are particularly suitable for leather goods. Enterprise presented calf leather items in a laminated liquid metallic finish, or varnished or nubucked half-calf. New crocodile markings on a calfskin base appeared at Conceria Samanta “for leather goods”. Masini (7) produced a series of calf suede that was flocked with a variety of reliefs, playing with the blend of roughness and softness. Carisma (8) offers a very judicious water-repellent nubuck calfskin. In bovine leather, reptile embossing was also the star of the show for San Martin (9) and Peausserie Clément. Conceria Samanta (10) stood out for its double pattern, first digitally printed then using a transfer. And Sciarada Industria Conciaria (11) presented suede flesh splits roller-printed in a variety of patterns.
In lamb leather, Russo du Casandrino doubled their impact with a soft and shiny item and another with a rounder, more sensual handle. Soydan (12) has developed a procedure for making a crease-resistant lamb leather, despite its fineness (0.3mm) and with a slippery finish. Dean varied the pleasures with a new caviar grain on a lamb base and cracked, sparkly or pearly finishes. Curtidos Bassols (13) has developed an embossing that imitates corduroy on sheep leather with a soft-to-the-touch finish, as well as a new varnished sheep leather. To renew its selection of shearling leathers, Yesiller Deri (14) decorated the hair side with a big cat print using a transfer, or contrasted light colours on the flesh side with dark shades on the hair side. In goat leather, Masini has found new varnishes and San Martin, new suedes and other laminated patterns. Meanwhile Didier Lieutard (15) showed its bold side with a very rustic item, with a truly original elongated, marked grain. On crocodile leather, La Patrie (16) played with new hand-applied metallic finishes and on python with a variety of digital prints.
Soft metallic Calfskin from Russo di Casandrino
Flocked calf suede from Conceria Masini
Water-repellent nubuck Calfskin from Carisma
Mechanical reptile grain on bovine leather from San Martin
Double printing by transfer and digitally on bovine leather from Conceria Samanta
Printed suede crust by Sciarada Industria Conciaria
Extra-fine crease-resistant lamb leather from Soydan
Embossed sheep leather in a corduroy style from Curtidos Bassols
Shearling lamb leather with transfer print on hair side from Yesiller Deri
Elongated grain rustic goat leather from Didier Lieutard
Digitally printed python leather from La Patrie
For many exhibitors, sustainable development was a major focus in the development of their ranges. Curtidos Bassols in sheep leather, San Martin in bovine leather, Richard in lamb, Masini and Tanneries Haas in calfskin, Sciarada Industria Conciaria and Russo di Casandrino have all made metal-free a short-term priority. Quality is another recurring theme for exhibitors, such as Dean or La Patrie, who say they want to offer “fewer, more beautiful items.” Improving service is also on the menu for these companies, many of whom supply the very demanding luxury houses.
Thanks to its new machines, San Martin wants to develop the embossing on its lower-quality bovine items. Enterprise wants to create lighter laminations on its calf and half-calf leathers to offer shoe makers materials that are light-resistant and stain-proof. After checking availability, Didier Lieutard wants to produce baby calf. And to capitalize on the revival of Pastel production in his region, the Tarn-based tannery is thinking of shortly launching production of indigo lamb leathers. Soydan (17) wants to break further into the leather goods sector with thicker lamb leathers (1mm) “without much finish but very concentrated in dye and with good rub- and tear-resistance.” In reverse lamb, Yesiller Deri is seeking to improve the softness of the hair for the premium market, whilst offering other labels less expensive rustic and more curly versions.
Thick lamb leather (1mm) for leather goods from Soydan
Although they have been respecting national and European regulations for many years, the tanneries at Première Vision Leather are now clearly deeply committed to bold sustainable development policies. Under pressure from labels, they have all embarked on the progressive conversion of their activity towards a “greener” production. “The demand for ecological leather is even stronger from leather goods makers than shoemakers,” notes Carles Blancafort of Curtidos Bassols
This mutation starts by sourcing the skins as locally as possible. “We mainly use Spanish sheep,” the Catalan tanner tells us, while Didier Lieutard says that “we use French goats.” “All of our skins come from Europe,” adds Sema Ismail from Yesiller Deri. In addition to generating less transport pollution, this rationalisation of sourcing makes traceability of the skins easier. The calfskin sector is the most advanced in this area, and the individual marking of skins should become operational in 2020. This is confirmed by Tanneries Haas, who think it should start at the beginning of the year. “Our skin suppliers are certified by the Leather Working Group (LWG),” say San Martin and La Patrie, which guarantees a certain knowledge of their origins.
Among the many certifications that attest to corporate sustainable development policy, LWG is particularly appreciated by labels. The Masure and Fortier Beaulieu tanneries have just obtained it and with Gold medal status, no less! The same applies to Gunduz Kurk. The Haas, Opera, La Patrie and San Martin tanneries should receive their precious certification very shortly.
In recent years, many tanneries have invested in new installations that allow them to produce their goods in more environmentally friendly ways. Around ten years ago, Mégisserie Richard invested in a brand-new plant that has allowed it to reduce its impact on the environment. The same applies for Carisma, whose new production facility is even more recent. Little by little, Dean is renewing all its machines. And more partially, Soydan has just bought a new stretching machine that needs only one person to operate it instead of four. San Martin has purchased a new dryer that consumes less energy. Russo di Casandrino has invested in a co-generator that transforms gas into power. “At the end of each year, we carry out a full maintenance revision which allows us to produce even more cleanly,” the representative of Gunduz Kurk tells us. “The pooling of the Graulhet water treatment plant allows us to benefit from a very efficient system,” adds Didier Lieutard “As regards water, we’re already doing good things,” explains Tanneries Haas.
Many tanners now boast a number of articles free of chrome or heavy metals in their catalogues, including Masini – with calf, half-calf and even baby calf, Casandrino, Dean, Yesiller Deri, Soydan, Richard and Didier Lieutard which moved to all vegetable-tanning some fifteen years ago. Sciarada Industria Conciaria has launched the Re-suede range of bovine suede split tanned using chrome recovered from earlier tannings. “These articles require fewer production stages, less chemical products and release less CO2,” the representant tells us. “We are currently trying to product metallic items “without metal,” the spokesperson of Enterprise tells us.
But the biggest step forward this edition is undoubtedly the development by a number of companies of recycled leather. We had already seen some last February on the stand of Recycleather (18), which we found again this session on the Smart Création area and in the Manufacturing zone. This young start-up has refined a procedure for compacting shredded leather offcuts – sourced from a Chinese company making gardening gloves – with natural rubber. From this blend, they fabric large sheets which are then coated with a finish to make them look like true leather. Along the same lines, Timbrados Rubio subcontracts the recycling of its offcuts of wet blue with rubber to a partner company, which then delivers roles of material that have been coated with a finish. The Korean company Akto Planning has a similar procedure creating a similar material. But it has also refined the production of a thread combining particles of leather and polyester or polyamide. The Taiwanese company, Kotai Tannery (19), recovers the fine layer generated when pig leather is split to create chamois, and reuses it as decoration on a number of different support materials. And the Spanish company Creacio Innovacio (20) sprays leather particles, also from offcuts, onto a pre-glued cotton cloth.
Recycled leather panel from Recycleather
Decoration created from offcuts from splitting pig leather from Kotai Tannery
Leather particles glued onto cotton cloth from Creacio Innovacio
Outlets and markets
Of the four main markets for participants of Première Vision Leather, leather goods remains the most attractive. A number of our interlocuters, including Peausserie Clément, Richard, Russo di Casandrino, Carisma, Didier Lieutard described it as being “more dynamic”, even if, as Dean noted, the specifications of clients are increasingly demanding. Enterprise, which previously focused mainly on shoes, now earns most of its turnover from leather goods. Curtidos Bassols would like to increase it to half of its income: “Clients are very aware of quality, which allows us to stand out from competitors,” explains Carles Blancafort. The same ambition can be seen at Soydan for whom leather goods represent 30% of its activity. “Demand is still high, but it’s not overwhelming either,” cautioned Tanneries Haas.
Still suffering since the boom in popularity of sneakers, the footwear market “is holding up” for Tanneries Haas and for Peausserie Clément. “The market is not in great shape, but we are making it work with our suede items,” explains Sciarada Industria Conciaria for whom it makes up 65% of turnover. “The items used on sneakers are small, but there are so many pairs of sneakers sold around the world…” notes Masini with a touch of optimism. “Our traditional mid-range footwear clients are suffering greatly from internet competition,” notes the young Jorge San Martin from the eponymous tannery. “It is a very price-sensitive market,” his compatriot from Curtidos Bassols tells us.
Other than for Carisma, for whom it is “currently ok”, suppliers are finding the clothing market sluggish. In particular those offering shearling products, such as Gunduz Kurk, for whom it represents 90% of its activity. “The first half of the year wasn’t bad but the second half is poorer,” their representative tells us. “There is less sheepskin in mid-range collections than before,” notes his colleague from Yesiller Deri sadly. For Soydan, which makes 70% of its income from these products, “the market is in a crisis”.
For La Patrie, watch straps in exotic leather are a major outlet, “representing around half our activity”. According to the exhibitor, the market has been growing since 2016.
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