At what is almost its sixtieth anniversary, the September edition of the international fair of leather goods and accessories wanted to present itself to the world and sector as a concrete example of resilience. Naturally, the Covid-19 emergency reduced the number of operators present, but at the same time brought out even more the importance of “to be there”, as underlined by Franco Gabbrielli, President of MIPEL and Assopellettieri: “For us, it was a real act of responsibility towards the System and all of Made in Italy, towards those exhibitors who have always believed in MIPEL and who have done so above all TODAY by siding with us at the forefront”. A concept also reinforced by General Manager Danny D'Alessandro: “We can say in a loud voice that we, as MIPEL, together with all the entrepreneurs present, have protected the Leather Goods System. Especially to the latter goes a huge applause, they are the brave captains we will not forget at the next edition of MIPEL scheduled from 21 to 23 March 2021".

For this edition, Mipel 118 ‘moved’ to Hall 1 in FieraMilano-Rho and hosted three special areas: the Trend Area, which has been transformed from the past, the Mipel Square, which hosted talks and seminars, and the MISS MIPEL project aimed at promoting the value of Italian leather goods in the world by offering producers the opportunity to show the very best of themselves and propose themselves also internationally, both through e-commerce and through numerous on-going pop-up stores.  Completing the offering of services in support of participating brands is the “MIPEL Digital Trade Show”, made in collaboration with NuORDER: a virtual event that started on the 15th of September and ended on the 15th of November, which gave visitors unable to be physically present at Mipel, for reasons related to the pandemic, the opportunity to place their orders, virtually meet the participating brands, view the new SS2021 collections and discover the latest news in the sector. Another important project was “ITALIAN STARTUP”, with which Mipel and the ITA Agency strengthened their support to emerging realities and Italian creativity.

Mipel was held at the same time, totally or partially, with the other main fashion fairs (Lineapelle, Micam, TheOne, and Homi) under the motto #strongertogether: a strong message of union of the Italian fashion and lifestyle supply chain, expressing the desire to restart that characterises the events.

Assopellettieri Annual Assembly and meeting with Alan Friedman

The time for provincialism is over

During the Annual Assembly of its members, this past 5 November, Assopellettieri organised an interesting virtual meeting open to the public, in which also renowned journalist and writer Alan Friedman participated along with one hundred or so businesses. The theme? “Covid19, the American elections and international trade policy, what is the future?” The meeting, moderated by journalist Matteo Minà, was enriched not only by the contribution of Friedman, but also by the speeches of three entrepreneurs representing the most important Italian leather goods districts (Tuscany, Marches, and Campania). One of the issues that clearly emerged was how now more than ever before the time for provincialism is over, and that in order to overcome the grip of this crisis, it is necessary for leather goods companies to join forces and come together as a team. International competition is becoming fierce and the Covid emergency requires fast action and reactions, along with the adoption of new communication and digital strategies that quite often are not a part of our small and medium-sized companies.

In his speech, Friedman underlined how the election of Joe Biden as the President of the United States will probably be completely advantageous for Made in Italy, because his political campaign was not protectionist, and unlike Trump, he never announced the desire to implement tariffs on European products. The States could accordingly return as a more reliable and open partner, and Italian businesses must be ready for this. Making a quality product at an interesting price is no longer enough. Italian companies must also learn to communicate excellence and sustainability, while investing in digital content, which is not limited only to e-commerce, but also includes the creation of valuable content to be used on various platforms. It is exactly for this reason it’s important to come together and move forward with common strategies, because in most cases, it’s a matter of enormous investments that small businesses would be incapable of making on their own.

Another central theme for the future of the sector is that of sustainability. In this case, once again, the main criticism is the unfortunate inability of Italian businesses to recount themselves properly, notwithstanding indisputable Italian leadership in this field – understood as attention to materials, and respect for the environment and workers, while maintaining traditions.

At the end of the public meeting, the assembly continued in a private session dedicated to its members, during which two new administrative bodies were elected: the General Board and the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee. “We are very satisfied that the newly-elected bodies are made up by entrepreneurs who ensure the right representation of all the main Italian leather goods production districts”, commented the President of Assopellettieri, Franco Gabbrielli.