INSPIRATION: A MATERIAL WORLD
I've recently returned from a 25 day inspiration + knowledge seeking trip, covering London, Milan, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid + Porto.
I don't take the opportunity to travel for granted - and with Australia being so far from Europe + the UK, I ensure I cover as much ground as possible whenever I plan a trip. This particular journey centred around getting to Milan for Lineapelle, Micam + Mipel trade fairs. The other cities provided inspiration, catchups with friends + associates, along with daily immersion into the retail scene in each location.
I've been attending Lineapelle off + on over the years - most of my visits were in my past professional life, looking at animal hides + talking to tanneries. Nowadays, my feet are walking the material + accessory halls that cover newgen biobased 'leathers' + a variety of synthetics. I'm pleased to say there are more + more material suppliers coming to market offering materials for handbags + shoes that are not animal derived. Be it for environmental or ethical reasons - the environmental tends to resonate more loudly than ethical in my experience - this area of the handbag + shoes space is growing.
While scale continues to challenge biobased material makers, it's encouraging to see with each passing year, more brands embracing these new materials - and thus ensuring longevity for what was once considered a niche outlier in the 'leather' space.
The Desserto team are always a delight to catchup with. I feel very lucky that I was able to get to their cactus fields within months of them launching their business back in 2020. Times have changed for the owners, Marte + Adrian, and I couldn't be happier for them as they work with automotive, fashion + interior design industries, bringing their nopal derived materials to the world. We'll have our much loved Francisco (named after the Mexican ranch owner who oversees the nopal plants) Crossbody returning in January 2024.
The team at Mabel have expanded their collection of Uppeal materials that utilise waste from the Italian apple industry. We've had one collection earlier this year made from the Uppeal Appleskin + for 2024, we have more styles coming through.
A new product shown at the fair was Wastea - a leather-look material that utilises waste from the tea industry. The handfeel, texture + appearance were encouraging - definitely one to sample + wear test.
The theme of the show was Metamorphosis. The trend talk visuals were completely AI + 3D render-centric - everything felt otherworldly. Given where the world is at currently, it's not surprising that the fashion industry is suggesting a transformation is required.
The EU will be introducing measures over the next 2 years to curb greenwashing + ensure 'we' (those of us making products) are producing responsible collections. I'm still learning what the parameters are - I'm not well versed on this front to write with any authority + need to dive into reading more. I'm very curious to see how animal products are going to be treated within the confines of this Product Passport, given the lobbying that goes on to keep animal products (and the profits they make) firmly in demand. I can only hope that ethics + wisdom will prevail in the long term.