Pride or Hide
By Egbert Dikkers
The leather industry is experiencing a challenging time. One of the biggest challenges we currently face is to ensure that consumers and designers base their choice for a material on facts and understanding.
However, for years the industry has collectively forgotten about the importance of education and promotion. It is only this year that several initiatives have been starting to educate consumers, brands, designers and others about leather by simply answering questions. Where does leather come from? How is it made? When can leather be called leather? Why is leather a cool material?
As said, just recently several initiatives originating from the industry have started to communicate to consumers and trend influencers. To name but a few are the activities by One 4 Leather and Leather Naturally. Also national initiatives from the US and from Italy are targeting to tease consumers about the beauty of leather.
I believe that promotion starts from education. And I strongly believe that the best and most passionate ‘teachers’ that could educate about leather are working in the leather industry. You and I! They work in tanneries, in chemical companies and so on. But how often do you see these ‘passionate teachers’ standing up to share their passion? How often do you see these ‘passionate teachers’ standing up when something wrong is written about leather in a magazine, a newspaper, on TV, on a party with your friends or when talking to a salesperson in a shoe shop who is claiming that ‘vegan leather’ is better?
The industry is now producing all kind of educational material about leather via earlier mentioned channels. And global promotion of leather has started through Metcha, the initiative that was set up by Leather Naturally and its donators.
Pride or hide?
It is time to show your pride about leather and share all the good things about leather available through initiatives like One 4 Leather, Leather Naturally and Metcha. Share its existence with your networks, at LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, with your friends, your family and when you are confronted in the shop with people telling wrong things about leather. Don’t hide, show your pride!
I am interested in your personal experiences!
The LIFE Biopol project aims to provide answers to the most relevant issues of European policies for the leather industry: in particular the reduction of hazardous chemicals as well as their environmental footprint and impacts.
In 2013, Smit & zoon Wet-end introduced the Simplicity concept. Simplicity means: shorter tannery processes providing attractive, high-quality leather while saving water and energy. Although each tannery uses different processes, the Simplicity approach can be used in any tannery and tailored to its operating methods.
Education and promotion of leather
Leather Naturally is the global leather industry’s initiative to educate and promote leather to designers, brands and consumers. Leather Naturally as an association has doubled membership since last year and is eagerly welcoming new companies in the leather industry as a member.