16 November 2023

Leatherbiz Market Intelligence - Brands must keep retro focus on leather


adidas launched a new collection in its originals range, working jointly with fashion brand Wales Bonner, in November.

Our most recent Leatherbiz Market Intelligence newsletter went live on November 14 and is available to read here.

The focus this time is on the impression that an objective, new observer might form of the leather value chain. That there is abundant, natural raw material that people have been able for millennia to turn into a versatile, beautiful, highly functional material is undeniable. It would seem rational to use this raw material rather than lose it.

However, the newsletter points out that decisions on the use and production of materials are not exclusively based on what is rational. If they were, people would most likely prioritise leather products in their purchasing decisions owing to leather’s functional properties and durability and the high levels of workmanship that many finished leather products have.

A marketing expert would be able to explain that success, often, is not about drawing consumers’ attention to the facts, but about distracting them and inviting them to focus on something else, the newsletter suggests.

Something that does give grounds for optimism is that sports group adidas has reported ongoing growth in demand for its originals shoes, many of which are made from leather.

This is part of a broader surge in popularity, especially among young consumers, for what Market Intelligence refers to as “retro models”.

adidas and other major brands could try to serve this trend by using substitute materials to make these shoes, but there must be grounds for hope that “sense will prevail”, the newsletter concludes, and that companies will continue focusing on leather, at least for these products.

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