The leather industry alone has gone through stages of transformation. The earliest records of leather being used by humans date back to 1300 BC. Leather was no longer a by-product of hunting, but actually a material used in a range of ways. While the tanning process may have developed over time, today’s leather remains fairly unchanged. That’s not to say the industry hasn’t evolved – Kangaroo leather, or K-leather, has grown in popularity for products such as football boots, due to being softer and more flexible. In addition, the industry has taken some strides to become more sustainable, due to the introduction of engineered leather.
As mentioned above, the material industry has always been eager to transform the way it thinks and works. Changes in consumer attitudes have huge influence on this, and the material industry is currently trying to keep up with two consumers demands simultaneously: increased consumption, and improved sustainability.
As the world’s population continues to grow, so too does global consumption. In almost every aspect of their lives, from travelling to buying new shoes, today’s consumers are demanding more and more. As a result, the use of natural resources is increasing, and our climate is changing. However, consumers are also increasingly aware of their impact on this planet, and therefore look for more sustainable options.
Ultimately, the goal must be to deliver what people want, and what the planet deserves: high quality products and services, developed and produced responsibly and sustainably. It’s time, yet again, for material change.