Day 6 here in Milan was a busy one! We first went on a site visit to Lineappelle. Lineappelle is a leather consortium, so we were able to learn a lot about leather and the leather industry during our time there. Italy is the largest exporter of leather, so learning about the industry while in Italy was a great opportunity.
Leather comes from the dermis of animals, and since the industry is dependent upon raw materials, it is a volatile industry. It is also an industry that is working on sustainability. Throughout the process of making leather, they are able to return 92% of the water that was utilized. This reduction of water usage, along with reduced waste and energy consumption in the leather industry, has come at a higher cost.
I also found it interesting to learn that 99.5% of the animal skin used for leather comes from animals used for food. As a vegetarian and animal lover, I was glad to hear this. The other approximate .5% comes from more exotic animals, such as kangaroo. Prior to our time at Lineappelle, I had always just thought of cows when I thought of leather. There are, however, so many different kinds of leather I was unaware of. At Lineappelle we got to pass around such a large variety of raw leather pieces that I lost track. Some pieces were more normal: cow, sheep, goat leather. Other pieces however, were a little more out there: lizard, toad, shark, fish, ostrich, and even chicken leg leather (which I personally was not a fan of). Lineappelle was an interesting visit to learn a little bit about the leather industry and see many unique types of leather.
Next, we went to the Fashion library. There they had over 70,000 magazines with some dating as far back as the 1870s. It was crazy the sheer number of magazines they have available for fashion students and professionals, and I enjoyed getting to look through some of the older ones. We also were able to see the upstairs of the building, which was furnished to be photographed, which I thought was neat.
Our last group activity of the day was a lecture that took place at our hotel. The Head of Digital Marketing from Velasca, a leather shoe company for men, came and presented. Velasca sells handmade leather shoes at a fair price. They are able to lower their prices by eliminating the intermediaries in their supply chain, a business model which I thought was really cool. This was definitely my favorite part of the day. The company was really neat to learn about, but I especially enjoyed hearing about digital marketing because that is something I am really interested in.
I can’t believe tomorrow is our last day in Milan before heading to Verona!