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$20k Gold Shoe

Unique handmade leather shoes embellished with 24 karat gold were in the spotlight at the Leatherworld Middle East exhibition in Dubai. Launched for the first time in the region by Italian manufacturer, A&E Fashion Group, these custom-made shoes are produced uniquely for the user by Italian master craftsmen, who hold the world patent for the design.

These hand-crafted shoes are also available in platinum, palladium and silver finishes, as alternatives for those who prefer other metals to gold. The luxury shoes made their Middle East debut in Dubai with a price tag of just over $20,000 for a gold pair, $23,000 for platinum and over $3,000 for the silver-finished pair.

Earlier, the Middle East’s only dedicated leather industry trade show opened at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre with 70 exhibitors from 16 countries, all of which have their sights on a Middle East and North African (MENA) leather market that remains in good shape.

According to analysts Euromonitor International (EMI), MENA leather trade was valued at US$4.6 billion in 2015, including the import and export of raw hides, skins, furs, and leather articles such as saddles and harnesses, travel goods, handbags, wallets, apparel, and accessories.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) holds a 67 per cent share of that figure, with US$3.1 billion worth of exports and imports last year, spearheaded by the UAE (US$1.2 billion of imports and exports), and Saudi Arabia (US$497 million).

Saudi is also a leather manufacturing hub, with a production turnover of tanning and dressed leather (clothes, footwear, and accessories) valued at US$346 million in 2015 according to EMI, and growing nearly eight per cent over the next four years to be worth US$373 million by 2019.

The UAE meanwhile is a haven of luxury spending; last year, the retail value for the UAE’s luxury leather goods market, including wallets, bags, purses, handbags and accessories, grew 14 per cent year-on-year, valuing US$413 million, with this expected to nearly double in size by 2020, when the market will be worth US$800 million.