The cameras flashed in sync at the supermodel who walked the ramp sporting a chic leather bag made of recycled leather. Office and travel accessories, biker jackets, belts, wallets, shoes, boots, and bags that fit every occasion were showcased at The Leather Fashion Show 2024 at the ITC Grand Chola.
The evening began with Tata International’s display of men’s formal footwear in sleek leather in various styles like Derbies, Oxfords, loafers and dress boots.
Hosted by the Indian Finished Leather Manufacturers and Exporters Association (IFLMEA), the evening saw 70 impeccably styled models and 10 showstoppers, donning leather garments and accessories from 13 leather brands — Tata International, Language, Tohl, Gupta Overseas, Roj Leather Exports, IFLMEA, Toni Rossi, Tritan Leather Works, Zeesh, D2 International, Solidaridad, Pref from Rehman Industries, and Ramjee Leathers.
Major leather exporter and convenor of the Leather Fashion Show 2024, Yavar Dhala said that the show has been happening since the early 1950s. “I see the revival of the formal look. The casual look from the pandemic period seems to be disappearing and people are coming back to formal wear with more shiny, elegant and vibrant looks,” he says.
Noting that Tamil Nadu contributes to 40% of leather exports in the country, KR Vijayan, IFLMEA chairman, said in a press conference last week that the industry witnessed a 13% dip in exports this fiscal up to October 2023 compared to the previous year. Several reasons, including inflation and war, impacted consumption. With winter sales picking up abroad, the industry is expecting a boost in exports by about 20% next year.
“Tamil Nadu is going to become the biggest manufacturing hub in India for footwear, and it is going to be a $15 billion business in the next five to six years,” adds Yavar.
Other than the kids who showcased leather shoes, while paying no heed to the ramp walk style, what also drew attention was a presentation of leather garments by Ramjee Leathers, which was supported by Bike Social, a Chennai-based premium superbike reseller. Models entered the arena revving luxury bikes like Kawasaki and BMW as the audience gushed over their chiselled physique, and leather overcoats.
Acknowledging the need for sustainable fashion were the Netherlands-based Solidaridad, who exhibited bags crafted from industrial leather waste.
The show was choreographed by Jude Felix, associated with the Leather Fashion Show for the fifth time. “Each sequence is four-minutes long and can have anywhere between 12 and 20 models. The main focus has to be the products, and to choreograph the moments and plan it mentally takes effort. I’ve been in the industry for almost 37 years and worked with a lot of designers and shows,” he says.
The show director Bhaskaran Chandra Sekhar adds, “We have been raising the bar each time with innovations to make this event a unique offering in the world of fashion. The popularity of this show is a testament to the top quality of models who continue to endorse the show, and the brands who choose to keep coming back to showcase their high quality products.”
International buyers who attended the event included Clarks, Wolverine, Marks & Spencer, Vagabond, Ecco, Legero, Gabor, Mephisto, and Hoegl.
The India International Leather Fair 2024 on at Chennai Trade Center, Nandambakkam ends today.