COVID-19 Should Not Prevent the Leather and Fashion Sectors from Moving Forward
19 August 2020
APLF announced on 9th April that the 2020 edition of APLF had been rescheduled to next year due to the travel restrictions. During this 6-month period, APLF continues to offer the industry digital tools to connect with each other.
Webinars offering expert opinions
Since April, we have organised 14 hours of webinars, inviting experts on production, sustainability, business, retailing, sourcing and trends to share their expertise and experience with the leather and fashion industries. A total of more than 6,000 participants attended.
The Italian Tanners’ Association (UNIC) and the Leather and Hide Council of America (LHCA) were both invited to share their expert opinions on how their members were dealing with the challenges posed by COVID-19. In fact, UNIC used the webinar to announce the reopening of their tanneries in May.
Leather Naturally continued its mission to promote leather through our webinar in June by drawing consumers’ attention to the sustainability, durability and beauty of the materials we love.
The National Wildlife Federation of USA and Woolmark are among the speaker lineup who were invited for the first time to speak in our webinar series.
Many of the APLF onsite events have also been moved online. The APLF’s Product Trends for Spring/Summer 2021, and the Colour and Material Trends for Fall/Winter 2021/22 have been announced as online events for a worldwide audience.
The Fall-Winter 2021/22 trends, titled “Another earth…a new era” is a colour and material trends presentation returning to the earth, which helps us think about tomorrow in a positive way – a response to sentiment that emerged as a result of COVID-19.
We also announced the winner of our Design-a-Bag Online Competition, which should have taken place at Fashion Access. Mary Chan from Central Saint Martins was awarded the prize as the overall winner with her SecondSkin, a bag inspired by the female body. She is going to attend a 4-week bag design course at the prestigious Arsutoria School in Milan.
Back to Business
APLF also organised InTouch events – the innovative online business matching format to keep the buying momentum going. InTouch allows exhibitors to launch their product live and virtually to buyers around the world. Through the APLF.com online marketplace, buyers can make enquiries and online appointments to continue their negotiations afterwards.
Since our first InTouch in April, 8 events have been completed, with 40 exhibitors, including the members of UNIC, International Trade Centre (ITC) and awardees of the Materials+ Sustainability Programme.
Many footwear and leather goods brands attended our InTouch. Ms Kate Wang, Sourcing Manager ASPA of Birkenstock who attended and connected with exhibitors through our one-to-one meetings, said, “(The InTouch is) absolutely helpful to my business, especially the sustainable materials session. With the help of the APLF team, I have contacted the suppliers and forward the information to our German team. I appreciated all their online events, especially I can spend an hour at the end of the day to understand the latest industry updates.”
Keeping the momentum
Before the next fairs in Hong Kong, APLF will keep the industry momentum forward by organising even more webinars and online events.
On 3rd September 2020, we will have a webinar on Ways to Tell Consumers How Sustainable Your Leather and Textile Could Be, with Dr. Dietrich Tegtmeyer from Laxness and Linda Wegelin and Mirjam Bänninger from Testex as our speakers.
APLF will also invite buyers around the world to join our personalised business matching service. Through the service, we are able to help buyers with a specific sourcing needs to find the right partners – which has always been the mission of APLF.
These initiatives are the first steps forward within a much larger, future-facing plan for the industry. The organiser is now working on some exciting projects and partnerships which will benefit our exhibitors and buyers.