Today, we continued our lessons in the fashion supply chain. Traveling to University Catholicca, we began our day with a lecture from Francesca Romana Rinaldi, an expert in both supply chain and sustainability within the fashion industry. She explained how efficient, environmentally conscious supply chains help satisfy the three P’s of sustainability, “Planet,” “People,” and “Profit.” She cited specific examples within the fashion industry, all portraying the various problems with sustainability, such as how much water it takes to make one pair of jeans. Before revealing the answer, Rinaldi asked the class to guess how much water it takes, only to receive numbers between five and five-hundred liters. This proved that I certainly was not the only one dumbfounded by the actual amount, 10,000 liters. She also explained that there are 40,000 deaths per year due to unhealthy practices within the supply chain of a pair of jeans. Once again, this number left me astonished and determined to never again buy denim.
After the eye-opening lecture, we received a tour of the University and a lunch in their dining hall. This beautiful collection of buildings has stood since the 13th century and echoes it in its beauty and architectural timelessness. The delicious lunch that followed not only served as a nice break in between activities but allowed us to compare the high quality of Italian cafeteria food to the questionable quality of Pittsburgh’s.
To finish the day, we toured the National Museum of Science and Technology, another breathtaking piece of 15th century architecture (pictured). Our tour guide explained that the building was erected as a monastery and then served as a military hospital during the Napoleonic era. When Napoleon left, it was left abandoned yet preserved until 1953 when it became the museum that it is today. After the history of the building, we learned about Leonardo Davinci’s many machines and everlasting influence on science, technology, art, and academia itself. We have been lucky enough to visit Italy on the 500 year anniversary of the great thinker’s death, thus witnessing numerous tributes to his life and work. We continued on through the museum learning about topics varying from plastic, astronauts, and ship building. However, I was most interested in the final exhibit which portrayed the work of a modern Italian engineer who builds wooden animals that can walk using the wind and cleverly designed bodies. Although not an engineer, I found myself fascinated with these brilliant designs and the innovative opportunities that they can provide. Thus concluded another great day in Milan. Can’t wait for Lake Como tomorrow!!