Hong Kong still pulls in the crowds12 April 2005
When business is bad the trade generally approaches exhibitions with great pessimism and this latest event of APLF was no exception. However, APLF still managed to put on a good show despite predictions of gloom and doom. There may have been fewer exhibitors and visitors but there were still more than enough to make this an important show, the aisles were busy and many stands could be seen writing business. With even China suffering from overcapacity, insufficient labour and shortages of power, times are far from easy in the leather industry, but Hong Kong is a great place to catch up with old acquaintances and renew business contacts. Not every day was busy. The show got off to a late start on the first day with business not picking up until the afternoon. And like shows everywhere the final day tends to be slow with many senior staff leaving the day before. The organisers having been working very hard to make APLF more attractive to visitors and exhibitors. They ran a full programme of seminars, initiated a prestige Buyers' Club, held daily fashion shows for Fashion Access and for the second year running presented Best of APLF Awards. They also instigated a Manufacturing Enhancement Technology Forum in Hall 3 which aimed at strengthening the industry's awareness of new developments in leathermaking and featured 18 presentations. Last, but by no means least, they also sponsored the 3rd Upholstery Leather Conference which was held the day before the show was opened and which concentrated on upholstery leather manufacturing in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to the awards for Fashion Access which included best ladies' footwear, men's, travelware, innovation, quality collection and stand design, there were five winners in the Materials, Manufacturing and Technology section. Pellerossa-TLP took the award for best new technology with their detailed lasercut leather. The citation describes 'Rosetta' leather as making use of laser cutting to achieve exquisite detailing and showing how such technology adds value to low-grade leather. Rosa Boni told Leather International that she takes low grades of leather and then plays around on her computer until she finds the right design to cut into the leather. It may be time consuming but Pellarossa are marketing some highly effective lace-cut leathers which enhance the basic raw material and make it a very special product. Best new leather went to Pittards for their Muffler which creates a new category for leather since it is neither nubuck nor full grain. This soft bovine for footwear is a 100% aniline leather with a semi matt surface. The award states that: Its low density, lightness and suppleness is ideal for footwear as it conforms to the foot to give maximum comfort. A special award for education went to the British School of Leather technology and their citation reads: For its role of advancing the international leather industry through its offering of various leather technology courses including distance learning programmes for a postgraduate diploma in leather technology. (Msc) There were also awards for the best new component (Ducksan Korea): mesh with a metallic effect and best new non-leather material (Omnipel Technologies Italy): material in woven cotton thread dipped in pu solution.