On the final day in Italy, we visited Lineapelle, a leather company and said farewell to the city of Milan. Lineapelle is known for having large exhibitions every few months in Milan, New York, and London, with the next one being in July. During the site visit, we were mainly shown the leathers they use and were educated about the tanning process of leather. Today I focused on how Lineapelle deals with the tanning process, and how future technological innovations will change the leather industry.
On the site visit, the company representative began by talking about the different leathers that the company uses. These include animals all the way from deer to alligator to fish. We were then handed samples of all these animals, and I had never seen so many types of leather in my life. The point of showing this leather was for us to begin to wonder how it was cut and tanned the way it is. The representative explained that the company uses dermis, the inside layer of the skin that accounts for 85% of the skin, located between the grain side and flesh side. Because this accounts for the majority of the skin, efficiency is maximized and the area that they’re working with for each animal is uniform. There are many different types of tanning that consist of completely different steps. The two main techniques used are Chromium tanning and Vegetable tanning. Chromium tanning consists of leathers with chrome salts, and vegetable tanning includes wood and bark. After each tanning process the leather is finished and delivered to Lineapelle. In order to have all these different types of tanning, Lineapelle is made up of many different tanneries. The best finished products always go to Lineapelle, making it similar to a consortium for leather. To organize this, they have a digital archive online for people to access. In the future I believe that this process will become a lot more automated. Machines can take over both the tanning process and finishing process when items are mass produced. This may initially lead to quality reduction, however after years of advancement, the quality could become better.
I was personally surprised with learning how Lineapelle is able to use so many different types of leather without getting in trouble with animal rights activists. I found the leather to be beautiful and wouldn’t really think about animals were being harmed, however they did say that they have been contacted by animal rights activists but have eliminated concerns through safe prectices. As long as the company continues to stay away from endangered species, they will be good to continue to make beautiful leather out of so many different types of animals.
During my study abroad experience in Italy I have seen multiple differences in the way people act vs. the way people act in the United States. The first thing I noticed was the amount of value placed in preserving tradition. In Italy it is seen as extremely strange upon to dip bread, order a cappuccino after noon, or underdress. While I was warned about all three of these issues before the trip, I still committed them at some point and the only negative effect was the locals seeing me as an obvious tourist. Even when seen as a tourist, I still felt I fit in as Italians treat tourists with extreme respect and normalize their presence, as millions of tourists enter their country every year. I was amazed with this hospitality, as I didn’t come into Italy with such high expectations
After hearing about studying abroad by many people, I had thought it would be hard to do and would take up the full semester. This course was perfect because it only lasted two weeks, but still gave me a full view of Italian culture. I tried many new foods, found out how to navigate through many cities, and accomplished my mission to fully understand the fashion supply chain. While Italy is in the EU, the cultural differences are extreme with even their next door neighbors that I have visited, and I feel like I got a completely new experience from this program. I had a great time in Italy and am definitely planning to study abroad again in the future. Thank you for following my blog!