15 June 2018


WAKE-UP…and smell the leather!

Given the pressure that the leather industry has been under in recent years, you might almost forget that leather still has the smell of success. That is why the organiser of All China Leather Exhibition (ACLE), the largest leather trade show in China, APLF is collaborating with visionary innovation platform The Footwearists to wake-up and shake-up the global leather industry with an inspiring conference that puts leather in a whole new light. This “Shanghai Shake-up” will be a breath of fresh air with high-paced short lectures, technological trend videos and interactive group discussions, centering around three key future scenarios that each offer a wealth of opportunities for the leather industry as well as related industries, including fashion, leather goods, interior and automotive.

Connected to the conference, ACLE will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a Technological Innovation Trend Forum at the show, featuring functional innovations from exhibitors and from carefully selected invitees. The contents of this forum are also curated by The Footwearists, presenting relevant new applications that have not been displayed at leather trade shows before.



Chinese consumers are disrupting the international luxury market by requiring renowned brands to collaborate with online streetwear influencers – including upcoming Chinese designers – in order to stay relevant. Suddenly, the image of luxury is no longer determined by craftsmanship and the high price of materials, but by who has made the design, who is wearing it and how it performs. Fortunately, this also means that the high-fashion and luxury market is suddenly wide open to tanneries and other material suppliers that make plain sporty leathers or provide technological finishes that could be used in trendy sneakers. Speakers in this scenario will talk about how leather will be applied in this new market, how to define the best strategy to approach it, how to connect with talented Chinese designers, how to be on top of streetwear trends and how to translate these to leather. They will also discuss how to tweak the leather tanning and finishing process in order to provide customizable materials.


Leather Lab

The future of the leather segment will likely be developed at various kinds of laboratories, many from outside the industry, ranging from biotechnology to informatics. Most research is focused on creating applications that are potentially more sustainable, such as growing leather from stem cells or ensuring full supply chain transparency through blockchain technology. Shanghai Shake-up aims to prevent tanners from thinking that such developments might be too far in the future or could even pose a threat to their business. For instance, many people in the leather industry do not realise that “lab-grown leather” is actually a misleading term. We are really talking about lab-grown skin, which still needs to be tanned afterwards. That is why this kind of biotechnology can provide a great opportunity for tanneries, rather than a problem. In the Leather Lab scenario several of such promising green-tech applications will be explained.

leather lab

Made to Move

This final scenario focuses on how leather will be used in the automotive industry… or should we say: the “mobility industry”? We are not just talking about upholstery for cars, but also about various kinds of public transportation or leather lifestyle products for urban mobility, such as bike saddles and headphones. As our way of transportation changes, so will the demand for and application of leather. For instance, speakers in this scenario will explain how autonomous cars will look and function much more like living rooms, merging the automotive and home interior industries. They will discuss how this opens up new opportunities for collaborations between tanneries and other material or chemical suppliers, might lead to leather lifestyle products for car brands and to partnerships with technology suppliers in order to create innovative methods for leather assembly as well as conductive and interactive leathers. After all, future consumers expect to be moved both physically and emotionally!

All China Leather Exhibition (ACLE) is the first and only international leather fair in China. ACLE is known as the premier event for international companies seeking opportunities in China’s huge markets – the focus of the global leather industry. Since its inception back in 1998, ACLE has welcomed hundreds of thousands of professional buyers from the main tannery and leather goods / footwear manufacturing provinces of Mainland China.

ACLE targets the Chinese tanning (upstream) sectors which are sourcing raw hides and skins, semi-finished leather, leather chemicals and leather machineries to manufacture into finished leather to be used in the domestic footwear, leather goods and automotive upholstery sectors.

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