Sharks, Stingrays, and Ostriches, Oh My!


We started off day six by going to Lineapelle, a leather consortium based in Milan. They work under USIC, a non-profit that promotes the success of the Italian leather industry. The walls of the room we went into for our lecture were covered in swatches of all different kinds of leather. Prior to the lecture, pretty much all I knew about leather was that it came from a cow, so I was absolutely shocked as we learned about leather that comes from goats, snakes, sharks, stingrays, crocodiles, fish, eel, frogs, ostrich, and kangaroo— just to name a few. We passed around samples of each leather, and probably felt about 50 leather samples in total. I also learned that 99% of leather produced in Italy comes from animals that were already killed for their meat. I definitely had a misconception that most animals were killed solely for their skin and the rest of the animal was wasted. The leather industry honestly doesn’t seem that unethical to me now that I know that they help avoid waste of animal parts.

For lunch, my friend and I went to a small restaurant on a side street. When we walked into the restaurant, the man talked to us in Italian for a bit before we looked a little flustered and he apologized because he thought we were Italians. It was a pretty great compliment. I had delicious pasta covered in a pea cream with bacon sprinkled on top. It was a combination I had never encountered before, but I really enjoyed its unique flavor. Of course, after lunch we got yet another cannoli.

We made our way to The fashion library, with old magazines in every language lining every wall and stacked to the ceiling. I read a few magazines from the 90s, and it was interesting to see how times have changed. Afterwards we had a lecture from Velasca, an Italian shoe company founded in 2012. It was a great presentation that was to the point and very interesting. The presenter detailed how they utilize social media to target their audience. Their tactics have been very successful and have two stores in Milan, two stores in Rome, and are opening stores in Paris and London as well. They provide handmade shoes at a more affordable price, about 200 euros.

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