While “recycled” and “eco-friendly” are buzzwords in the fashion world these days, an Italian company called Prodotti Alfa has been recycling leather since 1958.
Recycled leather the future of luxury
In the workshop Sustainable Materials in Fashion and Interior organized by Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam, there was a speaker from Italy, Mr. Mario Ferrari. He is the global CEO of Corium, part of an Italian leather recycling company called Prodotti Alfa. According to Prodotti Alfa, recycled leather is not only a better choice for designers and the environment. It is still a true luxury product.
Luxury means caring about the environment
The luxury fashion and beauty industry is constantly looking for solutions to reduce waste in the supply chain and its negative impact on the environment. However, just a few decades ago, the concept was almost non-existent. Back then, luxury meant using rare materials; highest quality and remove substandard parts.
Since the last century, Italy has been famous for its high-quality leather and many tanneries. The amount of waste from this industry is increasing day by day. Mr. Ferrari recalls: “Leather waste used to be a serious problem in Italy; to the point that people have to deal with it by building barriers or burying waste.”
Prodotti Alfa was born, answering the question “What does the leather industry need to do to manage waste well?”. “Since 1958, we have been the first company in the world to start recycling leather,” said Ferrari. At first, this product encountered many difficulties because “at that time, no one thought of recycling”.
However, the company’s founders did not hesitate about their mission. “From the beginning, recycling has always been at the heart of our company,” said Mario. They continuously improve their products, while convincing customers that recycled leather is the perfect choice for the future.
Now, many high-end brands have come to cooperate with them. Prodotti Alfa proves that caring for the environment is essential for a growing brand.
Luxury is Corium, Prodotti Alfa’s finest recycled leather
Prodotti Alfa is famous for its recycled leather made from scrap leather, latex and natural adhesive ingredients. Leather scraps are obtained from tanneries in Italy, shredded and ground into powder. Then mix more additives to form recycled leather.
“We have four materials: standard, soft, special and Corium,” said Ferrari. In which, Corium is the most advanced product. Initially, we only used Corium inside the leather designs. We then started developing it into a leather substitute for use outside of handbags; shoes… Corium occupies an increasingly important position. Because it is a unique material on the market.”
The advantage of Corium is its smooth, natural surface, which can be made into any type of leather, from full grain cowhide to rare leathers. Corium is still not soft enough to make clothes. However, thanks to its uniform quality, Corium is still a better choice than natural leather in the production of accessories and furniture.
“You can buy kilometers of Corium with the same quality, thickness and color,” says Mr. Ferrari. Perfection means creating high quality products; reduce waste in the production process and easy to process.
Thought, lifestyle, and culture of luxury
Exclusive recycled leather products have helped Prodotti Alfa successfully attract and cooperate with many famous brands in France and Italy. “You cannot think of luxury as a waste of natural resources and materials. Luxury must be a cultural trait.”
Changing mindsets will lead to improvements in the luxury market. “When I was a kid, everyone thought crocodile skin was a luxury,” Ferrari said. The previous generation thought that buying a crocodile skin item would prove to be a rich person. But, this view is slowly changing. “The new generation thinks that owning an item made of crocodile skin means that we have killed the crocodile.”
In fact, Mario Ferrari has shown that being able to live comfortably within our means was once considered a luxury. “Back in the day, we all had the habit of recycling. We used to recycle food, clothes… and recycling doesn’t mean poverty.” We make new clothes from old clothes; Use gems in heirloom jewelry to design new jewelry.
Mr. Mario said: “Recycling should be an important policy of every country, in every production process. Every citizen has to think about recycling. This is the reason we came to Vietnam. Because you have a long history of production, abundant raw materials and skilled craftsmanship. We like to work with designers because they are the soul of the product. If designers start thinking about recycling, it will become a way of life.”
At the end of the talk, Mr. Mario repeated: The concept of luxury must now be associated with culture and lifestyle.
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