"Let’s look to the future, together we’ll make a difference!”. This was the title chosen to represent the desire to restart and to impose ourselves on the market through a shared strategic plan that focuses on the need for networking. It is no coincidence that the event’s slogan is #unitiperlapelle (united by skin). With the live presence of outstanding names in the political, institutional, business and fashion worlds and a national and international audience also connected via live streaming, the Stati Generali della Pelletteria Italiana turned the spotlight on a supply chain of strategic importance for Made in Italy production, an excellence unparalleled throughout the world. Strengthening exports, networking, sustainability, digital acceleration for a new way of conceiving business and trade fairs, combining virtual and physical dimensions: these are the cornerstones of the industrial plan developed by Assopellettieri and the most important topics addressed in the three working sessions of the conference.
There was great interest in the hoped-for measures contained in the PNRR (Italian Recovery and Resilience Plan), which were illustrated by the Hon. Manlio Di Stefano, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and by Senator Lucia Borgonzoni, Undersecretary of Ministry of Culture, in the first discussion panel with a more political/institutional slant. Di Stefano confirmed the allocation of 1.2 billion euros of the PNRR to support businesses and indicated leather goods as one of the most enthusiastic sectors to embrace innovation and sustainability. The Undersecretary stressed that digitalisation should not be construed as a mere option but as a key driver of development, and urged companies in the sector to “work as a system.” He also announced a series of concrete measures such as vouchers for the digitalisation of smaller and less organised companies and incentives for consulting digital export managers, as well as the launch in autumn of a 50 million euro international communication campaign to relaunch and promote the “Made in Italy” brand. Senator Borgonzoni, in addition to emphasising that craftsmanship and leather goods are to all intents and purposes an integral part of Italy’s cultural heritage, also pointed out that the Ministry of Culture is committed to protecting Italian know-how, as evidenced by the inclusion in the PNRR of measures in favour of creative and cultural enterprises, specifically for fashion and artistic craftsmanship. In addition to a debate on the most topical issues for the sector, the meeting will also focus on the numerous initiatives implemented by Assopellettieri to encourage innovation and digital transformation of the sector and guide the restart of businesses after the difficult months of the pandemic.
A series of services designed to offer concrete answers to the needs of companies were presented during the second session of the conference, from the push towards internationalisation implemented by the association in close collaboration with ICE (Agency for Foreign Trade) – which in the last year has created opportunities within international trade fairs and implemented an increasingly hybrid platform – to the return of the physical presence of MIPEL from 19 to 21 September. “Let’s take a lesson in change management from the pandemic,” said Danny D’Alessandro, General Manager of Assopellettieri. “We can change the way we do business. The association has developed a business plan based on five growth assets: trade fairs, digitalisation, internationalisation, training and services. There is great expectation for “Mipel Lab”, the new strategic phygital project was designed to encourage the meeting of supply and demand of leather goods production and therefore between brands from all over the world and Italian manufacturers, an absolute revolution for leather goods sources. As Danny D’Alessandro explained, “Mipel Lab is the result of a new mindset that sees Assopellettieri act as a real business. A project that in its double development, digital and physical, envisages the launch of a new trade fair, in collaboration with Lineapelle for the trade fair format and a digital platform, which enhances networking and business opportunities for partner companies. The latter is an initiative that we have created together with two excellent companies in their respective fields: EY for the strategic part and DS Group for the technological part.” Mipel Lab was presented at Pitti Uomo on 30 June and will have an annual physical edition. The first one will be held at the same time and in partnership with Lineapelle, with which it will also share spaces, from 22 to 24 September 2021 at Fieramilano Rho. A further concrete example of systemic collaboration between Assopellettieri and Pitti Immagine, as Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine underlined during his speech.
The morning’s work was closed by a section dedicated to the future of the “Made in Italy” industry and its possible evolution. In addition to topical issues such as possible aggregations in the Italian supply chain, training and generational transition, the discussion panel also touched on themes of retail transformation and sustainability. It was in this context that “MISS MIPEL” was previewed. Another excellent project conceived by Assopellettieri aimed at protecting Made in Italy craftsmanship and transmitting the uniqueness and great value of Italian leather goods companies. “This project can be a stimulus for all companies that want to succeed at innovation and to offer the world of commerce an absolutely new product,” said Andrea Calistri, Vice-President of Assopellettieri and responsible for the Tuscan District. “A way of calling together companies, stylists, designers and training schools. A talent theme indicated every year by the Mipel fashion committee. A way for companies to understand that further improvements can be made by pooling the skills of the entire supply chain: tanners, accessory manufacturers, artisans, stylists, designers, etc. A stimulating challenge that can be resolved in the marketing of the product: a concrete and effective way to transfer the concept of a supply chain project to companies.”
“2021 is not the year of recovery, but of the restart of the mechanism: we expect the real recovery to start in 2022,” explains Andrea Calistri, Vice-President of Assopellettieri responsible for the Tuscan district. “The sector’s reference trade fair, Mipel, to be held in September will show us if our expectations are confirmed. To have a 2022 at 2019 levels. All this, of course, if, as we hope, there are no negative repercussions from Covid.”
During the event, Assopellettieri president Franco Gabbrielli presented the special lifetime achievement award to Carla Braccialini and commented on the morning’s events as follows: “It was an intense and truly exciting day that made us savour once again the value and pleasure of returning to physical events. Over 200 guests are physically present and many more via live streaming. It is an important turnout that shows how much companies want to discuss concrete projects and, above all, that they are looking for answers and initiatives to support them. The initiatives announced by Undersecretaries Di Stefano (MAECI) and Borgonzoni (Ministry of Culture) encourage us to continue along the path taken by Assopellettieri. This is a commitment for all manufacturers of leather goods to remain united and work together as a system to identify the most innovative solutions for the future of the sector.”
The Florence event was organised by Assopellettieri, in co-promotion with the City of Florence and with the support of Intesa SanPaolo and Baemi as Main Sponsor.

from left:  Franco Gabbrielli, On. Manlio Di Stefano, Andrea Calistri