MIPEL Lab, the show dedicated to sourcing Italian leather goods, is back: its protagonists tell about it
From February 21st to 23rd, MIPEL Lab, the exhibition show designed to bring together international brands with the excellence of Italian leather goods manufacturers, now in its fourth edition and born from the collaboration between Assopellettieri and Lineapelle, returns to FieraMilano-Rho as part of the Lineapelle event. A unique appointment, the meeting point between demand and supply of the best of Italian leather goods production.
To tell the best about it, we listened to the voice of Franco Gabbrielli - President Assopellettieri and some of the protagonists who believed in the project from the beginning: Anton Magnani, CEO BMB - Manifattura Borse and Stefano Giacomelli, CEO Tivoli Group.
Speaking of MIPEL Lab: a challenging and ambitious project, conceived in a difficult time and historical context due also to the global health emergency. Assopellettieri, however, as well as the companies interviewed, believed from the start in its success.
Franco Gabbrielli, President of Assopellettieri, describes the initiative this way "Mipel Lab is one of the projects implemented during my presidency and I am proud of it. It was born to open a cross-section on the realities of leather production that are real excellences in our sector. We have therefore dedicated to them a physical and virtual space within Lineapelle where the visitor -and therefore the brand or designer, can find the excellence of leather goods manufacturers that offer guaranteed and quality services," and he adds, "The selection of participating companies is rigorous, with first-rate companies able to develop the entire production process starting from the prototype. In total, Mipel Lab has fourteen outstanding companies."
Addressing the participating companies: What motivates you to participate? What do you consider to be the added value?
Anton Magnani, CEO BMB - Manifattura Borse commented, "We believe in Mipel Lab and for this reason we think it is important to give our contribution to the project of making known to the fashion world the value of Italian leather goods, a leather goods of excellence, modern and structured. The added value of the project is, in my opinion, to give visibility to the supply chain and reach an international audience of brands and operators in the sector to create opportunities."
Stefano Giacomelli, CEO Tivoli Group also supports the project and believes it to be a great opportunity for the market: "I think it is a very important initiative for the sector that, as Tivoli Group and as the General Council of Assopellettieri, we strongly wanted and supported. It represents an opportunity to broaden the market, offering our services and our savoir-faire to brands that do not yet rely on Italian companies. We offer them the skills, creativity, technology and expertise of competent, certified and financially sound companies that can position themselves as "one-stop" Vendors and provide not only production but a 360° service. Mipel Lab is also a tool to strengthen Italy's role and image in sourcing quality leather goods. ".
Coming now to the next edition, which, as anticipated, will take place from February 21st to 23rd at the FieraMilano-Rho exhibition center, we asked the initiative's protagonists what they expect from this and the upcoming events
Anton Magnani's expectations turn to an expansion of the now defined and well-oiled format "I expect exactly the enhancement of the production chain but, possibly, attracting more and more participants to MIPEL Lab to give breadth and depth to its message. It seems to me that the formula is already well defined and I think more participation is useful. I think it is important to focus the association's attention on this aspect, as well as emphasizing the modernity we want to strive for through presentations with technological content."
Instead, Stefano Giacomelli in the future of MIPEL Lab sees quality of contacts and visitors:
"Edition after edition, we have seen growth in the quantity but above all in the quality of contacts and visitors, so we hope that this trend will continue. The formula has an established base, which works and complements Lineapelle. Visitors, brands and foreign designers who come to Italy to develop and produce often fear that they will find only small companies with which it is difficult to work. Instead, thanks to the MIPEL Lab project, they find realities such as Tivoli that represent the partner with qualified expertise and craftsmanship skills, but at the same time solid and structured, that can support them in the design and production of their leather goods collections without having to structure internally. "
Assopellettieri's vision for the evolution of the project is very clear, Franco Gabbrielli stresses as MIPEL Lab has a wide margin for improvement thanks also to the unprecedented but important synergy that has been created among the participating companies and that has transformed individuals into a close-knit community. "For the future, our goal would be to follow Lineapelle in all the trips it will make, and we are also considering being present in new markets where brands need to introduce themselves and produce, such as China and the United States. MIPEL Lab stands for extreme excellence; the selection committee looks at very specific parameters: production, turnover, certifications."
Thus, Mipel Lab stands as a unique opportunity for supply and demand to meet the excellence of Italian leather goods production. In this regard, we know that historically the term "Made in Italy" is synonymous with "beautiful and well made" especially when referring to bags and accessories. But what does "Made in Italy" mean today? And how is it protected?
For Anton Magnani, the term means, precisely, high quality and know-how as well as creative ingenuity. "The various manufacturing supply chains must be protected. In the case of leather goods, technological modernization, digitalization and generational turnover are needed above all at the moment, attracting young people to perpetuate our know-how. Going beyond the pure artisan vocation to create more solid, aggregated realities with superior investment capacity," he explains.
Stefano Giacomelli, is of the same opinion and believes that Made in Italy and the leather goods sector need first and foremost a skilled and specialized workforce, especially in a scenario in which, according to a Confindustria Moda survey, in the next five years, about ten thousand workers will be about to retire. "It is necessary to invest in technical training," he says.
According to the President of Assopellettieri, "Made in Italy" is increasingly a guarantee of quality and in leather goods it represents an excellence where all brands are coming to produce in Italy," he continues his thoughts then, stating that "Made in Italy" should be treated as a luxury brand and therefore must meet the usual parameters of excellence that define them: having sustainability standards, companies in compliance with certifications, training, technological updating and so on. We are going in the right direction; this will strengthen us even more. Assopellettieri, in particular, will have to contribute by investing a lot of resources especially in training both on the skilled labor side and on the entrepreneurial side. This is the real challenge for our future."
Appointment, then, for the next edition of MIPEL Lab from February 21 to 23 to discover all the peculiarities and novelties of the participating manufacturing companies.