Leather UK is committed to protecting the unique identity of leather as a sustainable and beautiful product and working together as one united sector to promote the UK leather brand at home and abroad.

We are Leather UK. We’ve been here since 1908 as the only trade association in the UK promoting, protecting and connecting this great British industry, at home and abroad. We bring together every part of the leather supply chain, from tanneries to designers and everything in between. Our lobbying activities ensure we are heard by government, both nationally and internationally. Leather is a sustainable, beautiful product and we are proud of the work that we do. We support the industry and also provide expert information to the media and consumers about any aspect of leather. This is a wide ranging service, from how leather is made, its sustainability credentials, to where to find an expert leather artisan to make a bespoke item, or refashion a favourite leather piece.

Education and addressing misinformation is an important part of our role. Our website hosts a wide range of factsheets and videos in addition to the Leather UK Directory, a repository of people, businesses, events, training courses and other sources of information. We also work with education faculties to support and develop the next generation of leather technologists and design and fashion students. Through our two industry trust funds, leather practitioners can apply for awards for industry-relevant training to further their careers. Our promotion of leather craft and involvement in the development of training in leather and leather good manufacture is vital in developing the next generation of makers and leather manufacturers. We put businesses and people in touch with each other, in addition to hosting regular events and other networking opportunities.

What we do

Industry Development
Education and Training
Innovation and Research
Promotion and Trade
Developing Craftmanship

Our history

In 1908, a meeting was held at the Leathersellers Hall, London, where the first national leather trade association ‘Federation of Light Leather Trades of the United Kingdom’ was formed.

Historically, Leather UK has supported predominately tannery members with advice, promotional opportunities and representation. However the Leather UK Board have recognised the growing need to support the whole of the leather supply chain, from processing raw hides to producing leather goods, and all businesses that work intrinsically within the leather industry.

Leather UK welcomes membership applications from tanneries, leather finishers, leather merchants, service providers, manufacturers, leather goods producers, students and anyone else working within the leather sector. In 2016 Leather UK launched a five-year strategy to promote sustainable growth of the UK leather industry. This had significant effect on the sector, with additional impact made by Brexit, the climate crisis and COVID-19.

Our 2021 – 2026 strategy was launched in September 2021 and is available here.

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A historical timeline of changes

1908

The first national leather trade association ‘Federation of Light Leather Trades of the United Kingdom’ is formed at a meeting held at the Leathersellers’ Hall.

1918

The association changes its name to Federation of Curriers, Light Leather Tanners and Dressers (Incorporated).

1919

Formal incorporation of the United Tanners Federation.

1926

The Sole Leather Publicity Committee of the UTF is working hard to promote the industry.

1950

25 July 1950. Name changes again to British Leather Federation (BLF).

1954

The Leather Institute is formed, bringing together the Sole Leather Publicity Committee, the Full Chrome Publicity Committee and the British Tanning Extracts Manufacturers’ Association, to carry out the vital leather marketing and promotional activities for the industry.

1962

BLF merges with the United Tanners Federation (UTF), the heavy leathers tanners association to cover the trade as a whole, while retaining the BLF name.

1983

BLF merges with the British Leather Manufacturers’ Research Association (BLMRA) to form the British Leather Confederation. The Leather Institute transforms into the BLC Marketing Committee, and now works under the name of the UKLF Marketing Group.

2000

BLC restructures itself into BLC Research, the parent company (which holds the historic assets of the former BLF and BLMRA) and BLC Leather Technology Centre Ltd, the commercial operating company which encompassed the UK Federation activities.

2005

In September the UK Leather Federation splits from the BLC, to form a separate operating company to allow both organisations to focus on their individual core activities.

2019

UK Leather Federation adopts the trading name Leather UK.

Meet the team

Photo of Kerry Senior
Dr Kerry Senior
Director

As Director of Leather UK, Kerry has responsibility for operational management, development of the strategy, and coordination of activities on behalf of the organisation.

Dr Kerry Senior took over as Director of Leather UK in 2013. His role includes the secretariats of the Leather Producers’ Association, the Dr Dorothy Jordan Lloyd Memorial Trust and the British Industry Development Trust. In 2019, he became secretary of the International Council of Tanners.

Expert on BSI standards development panel, TCI/69 – Footwear & Leather, and CEN Committee TC289 (WG4) contributing to the development of standards for labelling and terminology for leather.

Observer on FAO Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) Partnership, a multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to improve the environmental sustainability of the livestock sector through harmonized methods, metrics, and data.

Industry representative on Footwear, Leather, Textiles and Clothing Health & Safety Commmittee.

Contributor to International Leather Maker and World Leather Magazines.

Kerry’s previous work experience was with BLC Leather Technology Centre, working on UK & EU funded research projects addressing environmental and raw material issues facing the leather industry, and dealing with technical and policy aspects of environmental legislation.

Projects included assessment of insecticide residues on raw materials, enhancement of microbial diversity in effluent treatment systems to improve efficiency, novel preservation systems for raw materials and enzyme-based tanning technologies.

Involved in the development of the EU Product Environment Category Rules for determining the environmental footprint of leather.

His PhD in Microbiology was awarded by the University of Kent at Canterbury – thesis title ‘Biotreatment of Industrial Effluents containing Naphthalene Sulphonate’.

Former motorcycle racer, former diving instructor (worked in Australia, Seychelles, Cyprus and the Turks & Caicos Islands), lives in North Wales, enjoys walking, trail running and climbing.

Governance

Photo of James Lang

James Lang - Chairman

James is a 6th generation leather manufacturer and a director of Scottish Leather Group Limited. He joined the Group in 1978 and has held a number of posts across the group. He is currently responsible for the Group’s External Relations. He is chair of Leather UK, Textiles Scotland and the Scottish Government’s Textile Industry Leaders Group. He is a member of CBI Scotland Council and chairman of the charity Providing for People in Paisley(P3). James serves as a Court Assistant at the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers’ in London.

Reg Hankey

CEO & Secretary of Pittards Yeovil. Reginald Hankey joined the Group as Technical Director of the Yeovil Division in 1990. He was appointed Chief Executive on 19 July 2007 and has been a member of the leather UK Board for a number of years.

Jon Loxston

Managing Director, Pittards Yeovil. A leather industry professional for over 30 years, Jon started his career with Pittards in Yeovil as a lab technician, progressing through the business to become Operations Director in 2001 and Managing Director of its Yeovil division in 2017. Jon’s experience encompasses a breadth of leather manufacturing from supple hair sheep gloving leather to bovine shoe uppers and whole hide upholstery. Jon has been an SLTC member since 1991 and a council member since 2012, achieving fellowship in 2013. He is also a liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Leathersellers, a director of Leather UK and a member of the LWG Executive Committee since 2018.
Photo od Mike Dodd

Mike Dodd

Mike joined Pittards and the leather industry in 1982 as a graduate trainee. 37 years on and still within Pittards Mike has held a variety of commercial roles within the Company including time as Marketing Director prior to taking on his current role as Strategic Sales Director.Sales and Marketing responsibilities have embraced glove , garment, footwear and leathergoods leathers and the global marketplace for Pittards leather throughout Europe, Asia and North America. Together with UKLF we have experienced and survived the crises of mad-cow disease and foot and mouth (amongst others)and their impacts on the industry-highlighting the need for a strong and active trade association.
Photo of Andrew Bailey

Andrew Bailey

Andrew is Sales Director at Charles F Stead & Co Ltd, a specialist suede and game skin tannery in Leeds, which services the branded footwear and leathergoods markets globally. Andrew joined the family tanning business in 2013. Prior to that Andrew obtained an undergraduate Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering before moving into the law and practising in the City for 7 years as an Intellectual Property lawyer.
Photo of Warren Bowden

Warren Bowden

Environmental Director, SLG Technology Limited, a subsidiary of Scottish Leather Group Ltd. Joined the Group in 2003. Warren leads the Group’s environmental sustainability agenda, Group environmental strategy and responsible for the Group’s environmental performance. A member of the Institute of Environmental Sciences and a Chartered Environmentalist with over two decades of experience in the environmental field, specifically in leather waste treatment, Warren represents the UK leather industry on environmental matters at the EU.

Also see

Industry info

Leather directory

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