24 September 2022
At a well-lit, oriental style booth, in the heart of the APLF show in Dubai, Al Khaznah Tannery’s General Manager, Mohammed Ghanem Al Qasali Al Mansoori, proudly shows the company’s flagship leather: camel skin. “Camel leather is very noble, and has a real character to it”, he says, showing samples of various hues, textures and colors. “Camel hide is soft, yet strong and easy to handle,” he explains.
Described as “the ships of the desert”, camels were an essential part of the Bedouins life and tradition. A vital means of transportation, source of food, shelter and protection as well as of clothing, camels are symbols of reliability and resilience in the harsh Arabian climate. Their lifespan can extend up to 40 years.
“One of the biggest pros of camel leather is its durability. The toughness of an animal’s hide is largely determined by the environment they live in, and camels live in some of the most extreme environments in the world”, says Ghanem.
Built on the vision of the late president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Al Khaznah Tannery was established in Abu Dhabi in 2003 and became operational in 2017. It has since become one of the leading tanneries in the world for the supply of camel leather, a material considered as strategic for the country. With the support of the government, camel farming has been subsidized and set up all over the country.
While creating butter-soft leather in all manner of colours and finishes, Al Khaznah is committed to reducing its impact on the environment. Its products are produced using environmentally friendly and sustainable methods. For example, up to 80% of the water required in production is recycled. In keeping with its commitment to sustainability, the tannery uses mostly local resources and its leathers are all entirely chrome free and biodegradable if disposed of in certain conditions and with a specific type of compost.
The company’s commitment to the highest ethical and environmental standards, its support and development of local manufacturers in UAE, its respect for the very noble material that is camel leather, which is a strong part of their heritage, earned Al Khaznah Tannery the Best-of-APLF-Award – Ethical Leather Collection.
When asked why preserving tradition is such an important part of the brand’s ethos, Ghanem says: “We are all moving in a way that is converging towards one identity. It’s important to differentiate, especially to have a competitive advantage. When you stay true to your history, it helps you stand out in a positive way.”
One of the first industries to warm to the idea of using locally produced camel leather was the shoe industry, which now accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the tannery’s business. The UAE has an established shoe manufacturing industry, with products ranging from the iconic traditional Arabic sandals to tactical desert boots, which it also exports to the rest of the world. Other products include hunting and equestrian accessories. It also supplies the automotive, aviation and yachting industries.
“Participating in APLF Dubai has provided us a unique opportunity to showcase the Emirates’ products at their best and clients have flocked to our booth from day one,” Ghanem says.
The Next APLF Dubai will be held on 13-15 March 2023.