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10 leather trends forecast for 2023

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: Inverse Leather

The leather industry is being revolutionised by new materials and finishes, as innovation disrupts its very essence in this era of climate change.

Bio-based materials continue to drive innovation, but so is technology, creating previously unimagined finishes and textures. Other alternatives to bovine leather are getting noticed, too, like leathers created from invasive species, which revive 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.


Padded leather, already championed by luxury houses like Bottega Veneta, will be a key look for early 2023.


As flat lengths of leather make their way out of the limelight, textured statements using latest innovative technologies, will be the next talked about leather trend.

Eco-friendly leather alternatives

From coffee, mushrooms and seaweed to fish and python invasive species, there is now a plethora of eco-friendly materials that designers are using and customers are demanding.

Worn out / pull up finish

As an increasing number of consumers embrace the height of second-hand clothing cool, designers draw inspiration from the ‘worn out’ effect, creating distressed leather surfaces and plenty of beautiful pull up finishing.

Sea skin

Vacation themes continue to take us on a journey in the fashion scene so the fantasy of embodying a mermaid has never been so enticing. Sea skin leather effects and sustainable fish skin leather will feature in accessories and outerwear, creating a sleek look that’s coveted by all.

Regenerative leather

Regenerative invasive leather pioneered by INVERSA Leathers is leading 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 weight of impact needed to use the term. Regenerative textiles ensure the brand is going beyond sustainable and is proactively doing good for the planet. This will become the new talked about topic in 2023.

Vegetable tanned vibrant and natural dyes

Vegetable tanned leathers will start replacing hazardous chrome-tanned skins, finished with naturally vibrant dyes to create the next wave of eco-friendly and eye-catching leather looks.

Metallic and pearlized

Leather is a timeless textile but the multitude of finishes it can take keeps the trends rolling, and in 2023 metallic and pearlized finishes will dominate.

Exotic prints

Fashion has started to reference the contours and textures from raw, natural earth, and will continue to do so in 2023. A variety of animal prints that live in gritty earth such as a python will be showcased in garments and accessories made in natural fibres. As consumers expand their knowledge in sustainable textiles, this trend can overlap with a trend of sourcing regenerative exotic leathers.

Wet look (gloss)

The wet look trend has made a continuous come back since the 80s, reinterpreted in countless ways using textiles to create illusions. Sensual and figure hugging, this trend embraces the beauty of the human body in all shapes and sizes which supports the industry’s push to be completely diverse in representation. This year, leather will take on the wet look using gloss finishes.

Inversa Leather is backed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and supported by the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA). Its mission is to create a portfolio of Invasive Leathers, each one addressing a unique human-induced crisis to revive ecosystems around the world.

For more information visit www.inversaleathers.com

Inverse Leather