The winter 2017-18 Lineapelle trade show in New York this week showed advances in leather treatments and cuts — as well as an appropriation of an Internet-native subculture.
Nearly each leather booth, most hailing from Italy, was stocked with iridescent foiled leather skins — resembling the circa 2011 post-Web aesthetic and music culture known as Vaporwave.
“I’ve never heard of that,” a dealer from Italian skins firm Deviconcia said of the post-Internet movement, which counters the current media glut by examining early computer sound bites and aesthetics, lacing them with a languid tempo.
This pre-digital nostalgia is now evidently leaching a mood onto the larger consumer market, with unicorn color tones and finishes reminiscent of the Motorola Lzr phone. “Customers asked for holographic skins, and when customers ask, we give them what they want,” he said.
Such a reaction is understandable — given the dealer’s comments on the accessories market. “The Brexit isn’t hurting us for now, because we are not selling in England. But the [other] brands are not selling because of the global mood. Before, luxury brands were the ones selling a lot, but not anymore,” he confirmed of a stagnated accessories market, which has dipped amid global economic fears and consumer fatigue.
So with buyers evidently pining for holographic leathers, dealers made it their business to deliver. From purple and green foils, to textured foils, to foils imprinted with glitter, the holographics blanketed booth stalls.
Most such leathers, dealers told WWD, utilize a new bonding technology that adheres the foils to a leather backing. The majority were priced between $3.25 and $3.80 per square foot.
Courovale from Brazil developed a three-layer foil that can be distressed and polished to reveal the varying colors underneath — at $3.12 per square foot.
They too, had not heard of Vaporwave.
Representatives for Courovale said that a strong dollar has affected the firm’s travel plans to the U.S., making them more conscious when spending in New York. “It’s a balance, if we eat pizza one night we will go out for meat the next,” one noted.
“If you have the right articles and the right merchandise, you will do fine [with sales],” he said.