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Can Made in Africa Transform the Continent’s Leather Industry?

Although not previously acknowledged, much of the leather in Western fashion goods originates in Africa. Despite Made in Africa previously carrying a negative connotation, the quality can be top-notch and is beginning to get such recognition. With influencers touting African leather, perceptions are shifting, creating new opportunities for leather makers to develop their own brands versus simply supply others. Winston Leather, a Nigerian leather brand, celebrated the biggest sales in its 30 years in business last June. The boost was thanks to a tweet in March from fashion historian Shelby Christie highlighting how its tannery, based in Kano, Nigeria, supplies leather to luxury fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren. The tweet resurfaced in June and prompted a flood of orders as the fashion industry sought new sourcing opportunities that supported Black businesses. And the single tweet put right some misconceptions about the quality of African leather goods.