Today was another perfect day in Milan! It was especially busy, as the Alpini gathering of Milan is occurring this weekend. I’ll be heading to the festival tomorrow, where thousands of Alpini veterans gather to celebrate their rich history.
We started our day by visiting Lineapelle, an Italian leather consortium. They are responsible for hosting the International Leather Fair and exhibiting different works of leather, synthetics, and components for fashion.
A lot of time was spent discussing Italy’s role in the leather market, and the large role that Lineapelle plays. In 2016, the production value of Italian leather industry was over 5 BILLION euro, and it produced 68% of leather consumed for leather goods in Europe. 122 million square meters of leather were finished for consumption and production. Italy is one of the world’s largest exporters of fine leather goods! Lineapelle prides itself on serving as a voice for Italian tanneries and for improving sustainable tanning by using natural dye methods, humane treatment and reclaiming of animal hides, and sustainable consumption of water (~92% of water used in Italian tanning can be recycled!).
I collected many pictures of the unique hides that Lineapelle shared with us to touch and learn about to better understand the industry and its rich history.
After going to Lineapelle, we walked around and enjoyed some amazing fresh tagliatelle pasta for lunch.
We briefly visited the Milano Fashion Library, a private collection of fashion magazines, look books, and concept art from the past hundred years. It is a great resource for fashion businesses and students to come and peruse for inspiration or sources to check the accuracy of their design for certain time periods.
Later in the evening, we met with the Head of Digital Marketing of Velasca, a modern Italian men’s shoe company, Paola Parolo. We had a great conversation about Velasca’s trendsetting direct sales model, and their marketing campaign for a product that is traditionally seen as “old fashioned/expensive.” Velasca has worked to fill a niche in men’s shoes by offering quality hand-crafted leather shoes for a fair price by cutting out the middle man and delivering directly to customers. Now seven years strong, they have established two brick and mortars stores and continue to expand their online market!
I was really interested in seeing these two companies talk about their business and the sustainability aspect of each entity. Lineapelle focuses on an environmental impact by trying to find new ways to conserve and recycle resources and to treat animals with respect, will Velasca tries to find a sustainable business model with fair wages for workers, and fair prices for consumers. It will be interesting to see how other companies with very traditional practices, such as those that make cotton products like jeans, will try to revolutionize their resource usage and revamp the ethics of their labor.