The skins of goats that once browsed the leaves of shrubs and trees in Nigeria’s oldest city are washed in anti-fungal solution and packed for export across West Africa, through Morocco and on to factories in Tuscany and northern Italy.
In Italy, the skin is treated again and turned into suede before being manufactured into designer goods for a host of global brands, where they are given luxury Made in Italy stamps of approval and sold for thousands of dollars. Nigerian Winston Udeagha wishes to change the narrative. Three years ago he formed Winston Leather, a luxury African leather brand, and in June he hosted dozens of African firms at the Abuja Leather Experience, showcasing the firm’s new collection of wares made from over 200 different types of exotic animal skins.
The skins of ostrich, python, anaconda and monitor lizards are manufactured into luxury shoes, handbags, belts and wallets by Winston Leather, who want to build an image of excellence and quality for brand-conscious buyers in Africa and abroad. African countries have 25% of the world’s sheep and goats but produce less than 10% of global output of hides and skin. Africa’s leather sector is part of a global industry expected to be worth $30bn by 2027, according to a report by Business Wire, a market research company.
SOURCE: AFRICAN BUSINESS