Our sixth day in Italy began with a mini tour and lecture at the Linneapelle leather consortium. We entered the modern looking building and continued through the sun-drenched courtyard and into a presentation room. There, we learned about the company and leather’s part in the fashion industry. Our lecturer stressed that Linneapelle follows sustainable, ethical practices with their animals, never killing an animal solely for its skin. She then showed us a map of leather imports and exports with Italy comfortably leading both, stressing the importance of leather in the Italian fashion market. My personal favorite part came when she handed us at least fifty different pieces of leather from various different species ranging from cows and pigs to crocodile, shark, and ostrich.
After a short lunch break, we traveled to the Milan fashion library (outside courtyard pictured), where thousands of fashion magazines are kept in a basement for research and records. On the main floor, a decorated living area for various events and parties. Curious about the greater purpose of this strange building, I asked about the profit stream for the library. Our guide explained that the parent company is a publishing business that houses multiple profit centers such as the library and event center under its umbrella of influence. I found this diversified business fascinating and elegant as I browsed fabrics from the early 1890s. Likewise, I found the elegant decorum of the event center to be an interesting representation of stylish Italian home design.
To finish the day, we received a lecture from Paola Parolo, the digital marketing head at the Velasca shoe company, on supply chain management. She explained how Velasca’s image combines high quality with affordability. After describing the company, she defined her personal responsibilities as digital marketing head. Using popular social media sites such as facebook and instagram, Parolo targets specific groups of buyers based on their interests. She also explained that Velasca is a direct customer company, meaning that they don’t rely on retailers, but sell directly through their website and personal stores. Tomorrow, we plan to receive a first-hand look at Milan’s fashion center, can’t wait!