Even at the start of my entrepreneur journey, I knew that I wanted to build a company centered around quality, innovation and sustainability. This dream ultimately led me to found KAESA, where my team and I have the opportunity to create thoughtfully designed, sustainable handbags and accessories.
As KAESA’s founder and lead designer, I’m always on the lookout for innovative, eco-friendly materials to incorporate into KAESA's growing product line. A few weeks ago, my search for new fabrics brought me halfway around the world to picturesque Italy for the Lineapelle Trade Show.
What is Lineapelle?
First launched in 1981, Lineapelle has become the most prestigious international exhibition of leather, garments, components, synthetics, accessories and other goods from all over the world. Hosted at the Milan exhibition centre, this event occurs twice a year to showcase summer and winter collections.
Highly regarded for its ongoing leadership in style innovation and quality, Lineapelle has become a cornerstone in the global fabric industry, including sustainable fabrics. At this esteemed exhibition, brands from around the world have the opportunity to showcase their latest fabric innovations and meet with interested designers. This event has become the global standard of fabric exhibitions, showcasing materials from roughly 1,200 companies from more than 40 different countries each year.
My Experience at Lineapelle
In September, I had the opportunity to attend the Lineapelle Trade Show in Milan, Italy and experience the exhibition firsthand. As expected, this event truly was the creme-de-la-creme, showcasing this year’s most innovative and luxurious collections of handbags, shoes, leathers, textiles and other various clothing materials.
Focused on my quest for new eco-friendly materials, I spent most of my time exploring the Sustainable Textiles exhibit. I especially enjoyed visiting the booths that highlighted eco-bio materials made from plants and fruit waste. Three companies that I particularly enjoyed speaking with were Desserto, Natural Fiber Welding and Mabel Industries.
One of the booths I visited was for a company called Desserto. Based in Mexico, Desserto is a world-renowned company that creates sustainable materials from the nopal cactus plant. KAESA has partnered with Desserto for some of our existing handbags, so I really enjoyed finally getting to meet with one of the co-founders, Marte Cázarez, in-person.
During our discussion, Marte spoke with me about the inspiration behind his company and the reasons why he started it. We then had the chance to chat about their new production factory in Italy. With this new factory, Desserto can now craft their trademark cactus leather onsite in Italy. With this expansion, Desserto fabrics will now be more globally accessible, especially in Europe.
Before leaving, I was also able to learn more about their newest collection, which they actually developed in Italy. With rich, earthy tones and unique textures, this new collection showcases their ongoing growth and innovation in the sustainable materials industry.
Natural Fiber Welding
Another company I met was an American-based company named Natural Fiber Welding. Their company creates materials made from a variety of plants and is committed to being 100% sustainable and petroleum free. We also discussed how they’re partnering with various designers and brands to bring their sustainable materials to life.
While at their booth, I had the opportunity to see some of NFW’s materials in-person and was really impressed with their fabric offerings. Despite being plant-based, the textures, look and feel of each piece were as rich as a traditional leather. This was my first time seeing their fabrics in-person and I loved how seamlessly they were able to blend sustainable innovation with quality craftsmanship.
A third, particularly memorable company I met with was Mabel Industries. Based in Italy, Mabel is a leading manufacturer of synthetic leathers for a variety of industries. But what really drew me to this booth was their cutting-edge, plant-based material called AppleSkin.
AppleSkin is a synthetic leather Mabel produces made from apple waste. They partner with food industries to utilize apple peels and cores that would otherwise be discarded as waste and transform it into an innovative, eco-friendly material. Having now seen these fabrics firsthand, Mabel’s assortment of AppleSkin leathers are truly just as beautiful and durable as traditional leathers. But unlike traditional leathers, AppleSkin is vegan, plant-based and even waterproof.
I loved speaking with Mabel Industries and learning more about their plant-leather journey. It was truly inspiring to see a company that not only strives to create more sustainable fabric options, but is also working to fight food waste in the process.
Looking to the Future
Although my visit to Lineapelle was fairly short, I was able to walk away from my trip with a renewed sense of creativity and drive. It was truly inspiring to meet with other companies who are working to bring sustainability to the fashion industry. And being able to experience such a variety of beautiful, sustainable materials in-person was a genuine breath of fresh air.
I also left with revived hope for the future after seeing the incredible ways technology is being used to create a safer, more sustainable world. In an age where technology can give new life to plants, fruits and waste materials in the form of sustainable fabric, the opportunities for eco-friendly innovation are nearly limitless. After this incredible experience, I arrived back home feeling more driven than ever to grow KAESA’s presence as a sustainable brand that makes a meaningful and positive impact in the world through eco-friendly products.
If you’d like to learn more about the Lineapelle exhibition, make sure to visit their website for additional information. And don’t forget to check out the 3 awesome companies I met at the event! Learn more by visiting their websites linked here: Desserto, Natural Fiber Welding and Mabel Industries.