Lineapelle New York, January 2019
Yes - we have here an extensive recap from an event I attended 7 months ago but given that this is the first day of Lineapelle Winter 2020, I was reminded of how much of an impact attending this two-day show had on my confidence to jump full-fledged into Maragold Designs.
Lineapelle is a show that exhibits the "latest trends in leather, textiles and synthetics, accessories and components for shoes, handbags, leather goods, and leatherwear." The main event is in Milan but there are smaller shows in NY and London, twice a year to showcase Summer and Winter trends for the following year.
Rewind to when I had my middle of the night lightbulb moment in December 2018 to start a leather goods business - I woke up the next morning and let curiosity and determination lead the way. I researched the leather industry, types of materials, construction, and educational opportunities at length (and still continue to!). I came across Lineapelle New York and only being a few weeks away took the chance and sent my registration form with an explanation that I would be going to research for my new business. Talk about feeling like an imposter!
I received confirmation a few days later that my registration was accepted and it felt like a sign - to be accepted with only about a week's notice and to not really have any idea what I was doing to be quite honest. I decided to go to NYC to attend the show and learn as much as I possibly could, to hopefully get inspired, and to make some connections with producers in Europe. I went wanting to ultimately decide if it left me underwhelmed at my idea (in which case this wasn't my calling) or if I would leave wanting to learn more and pursue this thing. You already know the outcome, but below is some more about my experience there.
To say the least, it was a pivotal experience for me. I walked in the first day scared and intimidated but jumped way outside my comfort zone to talk to people who had many, many more years of experience and knowledge than I did. The feeling of intimidation didn't go away but over the two days I started to feel like things were making sense. I started imagining all of the possibilities and opportunities I had both right in front of me and ahead of me. I left the show feeling so inspired and excited to get home and start working on what is now Maragold Designs.
I found that everyone I opened up to was fully supportive, commended my efforts to start this business, and was interested in my leap from marketing to leather goods. I was even interviewed for the show's newsletter!
I learned so much about the role that the leather industry has in creating a more sustainable fashion industry. Read: they're working hard on it - leather isn't a material that can be recycled or used completely in the way that, say, a cotton textile can be. As designers, there are ways we can help, like by knowing where our materials come from, supporting producers that have ethical standards, and using as much of the hide as possible.
I got the chance to learn about the circular model of Eileen Fisher Renew from Carmen Gama. Susan Neal spoke about Atacama, a moisture control technology for textiles. Carla Silva presented on nanotechnology and the ability to change properties of a material at a molecular level. Michael Ferrano, the Executive Director of the Design & Tech Lab at FIT spoke about the lab's efforts to design for the future by solving problems with design and technology. Suzanne Lee, founder of Biofabricate and CCO of Modern Meadow talked about her experiences running a design team within a biotech company which was truly fascinating and forward-thinking. Lastly, Hannah Croft of MUUNA is the founder of an experimental materials studio and grows crystals to embellish wovens. Her work is stunning - take a look here.
It was a truly eye-opening experience that confirmed for me that I mayyy just have been right all along (I initially entered college as a Fashion Merchandising major but graduated with a Marketing degree) and that my constant desire to work on retail clients in my previous job was due to an innate passion I have for this industry. Attending Lineapelle was a great educational, sourcing, inspirational and networking opportunity. I look forward to, fingers crossed, being able to attend the Milan show one day!