21 September 2023
Image shows the recent Apple watch Gourmette Double Tour, a joint project with Hermès and including, naturally, a leather strap.
A new Leatherbiz Market Intelligence newsletter went live on Tuesday, September 19.
The newsletter said that if the All China Leather Exhibition in Shanghai at the end of August had given companies in the leather value chain the chance to assess the situation in the consumer market in China, the Milan exhibition will give the same companies the opportunity to assess the situation in fashion and the luxury goods sector.
Later, though, the Market Intelligence report bemoans Apple’s decision to stop sourcing leather for its cases and wristbands. “This would not necessarily be a problem,” it says, “if the company were not saying publicly that its decision is related to environmental concerns. The reference to using recycled materials as a substitute for buyers of its watches and iPhones and achieving a better CO2 footprint is questionable. These recurring claims cannot be substantiated by facts.”
It suggests the real reasons behind Apple’s decision are that synthetics are cheaper and easier to work with, but it says brands are now turning these money-saving decisions into “a marketing tool”.
It congratulates Apple for always having been “more than just a brand for many”, with its followers regarding the company and, by extension, the users of its technology to be ‘something special’.
“Hardly any other brand has been able to imbue this spirit so successfully in its customers and derive incredible economic success from it,” the newsletter concludes, “but the decision against leather suggests that the material now belongs outside the realm of ‘something special’. Apple had a completely different opinion of leather not so long ago.”