Featured as part of Mercedes-Benz’s New York Fashion week in February 2012 and displayed in a showroom in the Big Apple, Japanese leather goods are swiftly making their debut on the international scene.

Launched by the Japan Leather Good Development committee and funded by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), “Leather Japan 2012” is a project organized in order to introduce Japanese leather fashion to international markets.

The committee was established by the KUIPO fashion group, responsible for building renowned Japanese brand “genten”, which features products made from nature-friendly vegetable tanned leather.

The brand’s philosophy aims to live in coexistence with nature, and its selection of bags, wears, shoes and interior goods are on par with caring for the environment and conserving resources. “genten” is now celebrating its 12th anniversary and is still expanding, with 65 stores in Japan and seven overseas.

The overseas market development is an important theme not only for KUIPO group, but also for the entire leather industry in Japan.

The presentation at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York city, implemented by Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo, played a key part in introducing Japanese fashion leather merchandise to the rest of the world and exploiting the global market.

The New York launch unveiled creations stemming from collaborations between leather designers and fashion designers with a strong appeal for this particular kind of fabric and approach to composition.

Those collaborations highlighted the work of four different pairs of designers, for fashionistas and buyers alike to keep on the radar:

AGURI SAGIMORI (ready to wearAguri Sagimori SAKAGUCHIKOSHIFORBLAZE (shoesKoshi Sakaguchi

Vantan Design Institute of Fashion graduate Aguri Sagimori presents a uniquely Japanese aesthetic fashion through her concepts of feminine beauty and enchantment, frailty and strength.

Paired with the works of illustrious shoes craftsman Koshi Sakaguchi, the designs are sophisticated and elegant, yet sporty and using the latest technologies.

Official site: www.agurisagimori.co.jp

No, No, Yes ! (ready to wearTaichiro Hashimoto)Le Parrain (shoesNao Yokoo)

Co-founders Taichiro Hashimoto and Makoto Kawamura’s world-renowned designs, sported by Lenny Kravitz in his 2011 European World Tour costumes, are unique, border-less pieces worn to “not to the body but the bone”.

The timeless concept, in duo with Nao Yokoo’s tasteful and fadeless high-quality designs, are flawlessly merging fashion and art.

Official site: www.nonoyes.com

SOMARTA(ready to wearTamae Hirokawa)NORITAKA TATEHANA(shoesNoritaka Tatehana)

Designer Tamae Hirokawa, who learned the trade from the likes of Issey Miyake, delivers beautiful lace graphics and structural dress wear designs which receive admiration, both from within Japan as well as internationally.

Coupled with the handmade pieces (and permanent dwellers of the Museum at FIT New York) of Noritaka Tetehana, the artist behind the skyscraping platforms of Lady Gaga, the collection skillfully presents Japan’s rich potential to the rest of the world.

Official site: www.somarta.jp

motonari ono (ready to wear / shoesMotonari Ono)

With stints at the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, designer Motonari Ono joined famed London designer Bora Aksu as a chief pattern maker in 2004.

Having returned to Japan in 2006, he established his brand, which is now distributed to famous select shops and department stores.

His sleek, feminine, yet edgy designs take the form of womenswear, shoes, bags and accessories, and are about to take the world by storm.

Official site: www.motonari-ono.com

For more information about Leather Japan 2012, visit: leatherjapan.jp

by Vivian Morelli