DEAN SpA's green and artisanal philosophy
We took stock post Lineapelle SS24 with Antonio De Michele-president of DEAN SpA-on key concepts for the Arzano (NA) tannery, which specializes in processing high-quality lambskins.
Leather&Luxury: In your opinion, what have been the most important milestones or challenges since the founding of Dean?
Antonio De Michele: Dean is a historic company in the tanning industry, so much so that in November 2022 we celebrated 50 years in business, a milestone achieved by only 30 percent of Italian companies. Doing business while staying abreast of the structural changes in the sector, in a particularly complex conjuncture such as that of the last few years, between the pandemic and the energy crisis, is definitely our latest challenge won. We like to repeat that ours is an "anti-fragile" mentality, that is, able to face stresses with perseverance, to see the crisis as an opportunity for change, for evolution, envisioning the future as it unfolds on the horizon.
LL: Tell me about a couple of your flagship products presented at Lineapelle. What do you think is the strong point of your production?
ADM: Among the various products offered at Lineapelle Summer 2024, I would like to emphasize LUMIERE, an item characterized by special light effects and reflections, and CIREE, which features a waxed and transparent effect with a flower in evidence, both of which are highly appreciated by our clientele. You see, the strength of the company, as well as of current production, surely lies in the coincidence between innovation, pursued through advanced skills and constant experimentation, and artisan dedication to achieving the end result: a beauty that is always current but enduring, in the age of the ephemeral.
LL: What percentage does technological innovation and research count in your work?
ADM: Doing research is fundamental for us. In the 1990s, my father Michele De Michele, then president of the company, created a dedicated division in the company, equipped with cutting-edge technologies that have allowed us to be competitive, yesterday as today. In addition, from our point of view, even offering services tailored to customers' needs or reorganizing management by bringing young people into key roles, as has happened in recent years, means making innovation. As Chairman of the Board since 2012 and now in my fourth term, I am clear evidence of the value Dean places on dynamism and the contribution of the younger generation.
LL: How important is the issue of sustainability to you?
ADM: Sustainability for us is not a mere goal or market requirement, it is rather a design attitude: Dean works tirelessly to cut down on water and energy consumption, to reduce production impacts, emissions and waste. We are also aware that the tannery plays a crucial role in the recovery and valorization of a food waste such as leather, otherwise destined for landfill. We believe that sustainably producing durable goods, which you can maintain and pass down from generation to generation, is a tangible contribution to building a circular economy and an ethical response to the spread of fast fashion. In addition, DEAN has achieved all industry certifications, most notably the SA 8000 Ethics Certification and the LWG Bronze Medal for Systemic Management of Quality, Environment, Safety and Ethics.
LL: What are the next steps - creative or market - for the company?
ADM: We have always been ready to seize opportunities for change: in the last year we have opened the DEAN Showroom in Santa Croce sull'Arno, and these months at the Arzano headquarters we are in the process of implementing a new state-of-the-art purification plant and activating photovoltaic modules. The future is today.