The leather industry is being revolutionized by new materials and finishes as innovation disrupts its very essence in this age of climate change.
Bio-based materials continue to drive innovation, but so does technology, creating finishes and textures previously unimaginable. Other alternatives to bovine leather are also being noticed, such as leathers created from invasive species, which are reviving pockets of ecosystems around the planet.
This trend outlook for 2023 is compiled by Inversa Leathers, a company founded in 2020 with a mission to develop materials that solve an environmental crisis to protect biodiversity.
Quilted leather, already championed by luxury houses like Bottega Veneta, will be a key look for early 2023.
As flat lengths of leather are stepping out of the limelight, textured statements using the latest in innovative technology will be the next leather trend to be talked about.
Eco-friendly alternatives to leather
From coffee, fungi and algae to invasive species of fish and pythons, there is now a plethora of eco-friendly materials that designers use and clients demand.
Worn finish / pull up
As more consumers embrace the ultimate in second-hand cool, designers are taking inspiration from the “worn-in” effect, creating distressed leather surfaces and many beautiful finishes.
Holiday themes continue to take us on a journey through the fashion scene, so the fantasy of being a mermaid has never been so alluring. Sea skin leather effects and durable fish skin leather will feature in accessories and outerwear, creating a stylish look coveted by all.
The regenerative invasive leather launched by INVERSA Leathers is paving the way for the future of the leather industry. “Sustainable” as a term has become diluted as “greenwashing” has diminished the value of the word and the weight of impact needed to use the term. Regenerative textiles allow the brand to go beyond sustainability and proactively do good for the planet. This will become the new topic of discussion in 2023.
Bright, natural vegetable-tanned dyes
Vegetable tanned leathers will begin to replace hazardous chrome-tanned hides, finished with naturally vibrant dyes to create the next wave of eco-friendly and eye-catching leather looks.
Metallic and pearly
Leather is a timeless textile, but the multitude of finishes it can take keeps trends going, and in 2023 metallic and pearlescent finishes will dominate.
Fashion has begun to reference the contours and textures of raw, natural earth, and will continue to do so in 2023. A variety of prints of animals that live in the gritty earth like a python will be featured in clothing and natural fiber accessories. As consumers become more knowledgeable about sustainable textiles, this trend may overlap with a trend to source regenerative exotic leathers.
Wet look (shiny)
The wet look trend has been making a comeback since the 80s, reinterpreted in countless ways using textiles to create illusions. Sensual and body-hugging, this trend embraces the beauty of the human body in all its shapes and sizes, supporting the industry’s drive to be completely diverse in its representation. This year the leather will take on the wet look using shiny finishes.
Inversa Leather is backed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and backed by the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA). Its mission is to create a portfolio of invasive leathers, each responding to a unique human-induced crisis to revive ecosystems around the world.
For more information visit www.inversaleathers.com