The final day of our tour of Italy has come much faster than I could have expected. This trip has been such a blur in some sorts that finding myself inside the confines of LineaPelle for our last company visit just didn’t feel like the conclusion that it really was. That is not to say I didn’t learn from the visit however.
LineaPelle is not actually a company, but an association through which numerous leather tanneries and fashion designers connect with one another, similar to the way that the Consorzio della Moda connects different companies together. In addition for setting up contact between designers and producers, LineaPelle also hosts one of the largest for leather, three times a year. Hosted in Milan, London, and New York, this is where designers and others can come to see LineaPelle’s tanneries and their merits. These fairs are also times when fashion trends are decided many seasons in advance. These trends are then promoted by LineaPelle, helping them come to fruition
For this company visit, we were told to look for ways that advances in technology may affect the industry that LineaPelle works in. Recently, there has been talk of synthetic leathers, and leather like materials made from materials such as wine becoming more popular than traditional leather. The reason for this theoretical overtaking of traditional leather is that it would supposedly be more sustainable than animal skin. LineaPelle disagrees with this however, chiefly because of its methods of obtaining animal skins for its leather. LineaPelle gets almost all of its skins for its leather from the byproducts made from the food industry. When the skins are discarded for the meat that the animal provided, they are given to the tanneries in LineaPelle. Because of this, LineaPelle views their process as quite sustainable, because in a way, they are reducing the amount of byproducts made by an industry. However, the production of synthetic leather produces byproducts, so they view this process as actually less sustainable, and will therefore not really have any effect on the leather industry, at least for the near future. With the amount of variety of leather that LineaPelle boasts, it is easy to see synthetics having very little effect as well. This association sources its leather from many different animals, some that one would never expect. These exotic skins included manta ray, toad, tilapia, lizard, and frog, in addition to more traditional niche skins such as alligator and ostrich. Because of all of this variety along with its surprising sustainability, LineaPelle does not foresee it being overtaken by any type of synthetic advancement just yet.
With this trip finally coming to a close, I would say I have a lot to reflect on in terms of my attitude towards travel. Though I have been out of the country before, travelling to Southeast Asia at age 7, this was the first time that I had been out of the country with only my peers instead of heavy supervision. I will say that I have much more confidence with navigating foreign surroundings than I have ever before because of this. This does not extend only to navigation in terms of travelling either. With this tour of Italy, a country whose native language I did not know, navigating personal interactions was also something that I gained a good deal of confidence.
My reasons for wanting to come to Italy were, for the most part, just to see Italy. The fashion aspect of this trip was a little secondary to me at the start. As time went on however, I found that the production methods and the business models were just as fascinating as some of the sightseeing that we were doing, which made me glad that this wasn’t merely a vacation of sorts.
That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the vacation aspects of this trip however. Except for some of its more well-known foods, I was fairly uneducated about the culture of Italy, what with the fashion and the attitudes of its citizens. Getting to view some of the more boisterous, but familial interactions between other Italians as well as interacting myself with them was a huge treat, and an insight into a culture very different from my own. Overall, I have zero regrets about coming on this trip. From the friends that I made, to the places I saw, and to the food I ate, I don’t think there was a better way to spend these past two weeks of my life.