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LEATHER CLASSES: Florentine fashion school Polimoda is teaming up with Lineapelle, the organizer of the namesake tannery trade fair, to create an educational hub dedicated to leather at the school’s Scandicci unit, a stone’s throw from Florence.

The unit is located in the Tuscan district best known for housing a range of premium leathergoods manufacturers and industrial complexes dedicated to the category, including Gucci’s state-of-the-art ArtLab facility for leathergoods and footwear prototyping.

Called Research Hub, the new schooling initiative is aimed at fostering research and innovation in the leathergoods manufacturing and tannery fields, spotlighting trends, designs and products. Covering a 32,291-square-foot area of laboratories, the hub will leverage the expertise of the fashion school’s teachers, as well as machinery and materials supplied by Lineapelle.

The two entities said jointly the new partnership will encompass not only regular classes but also training of artisans based in the region, in addition to exhibitions and the creation of a material archive.

“The creation of the Research Hub dedicated to leather is going to be an added value for the fashion students, while at the same time promoting the excellence of our territory, which represents a precious resource for our companies,” noted Ferruccio Ferragamo, president of Polimoda and the chairman of Salvatore Ferragamo, touting the collaboration with Lineapelle as instrumental in leveraging a shared know-how.

Gianni Russo, president of Lineapelle and owner of the Russo di Casandrino tannery, added that “the partnership with Polimoda is exciting as it projects us toward a new, more concrete and knowledgeable way of educating.” In late May, the Italian government passed a law regulating the use of the term leather, which cannot be employed to describe non-animal materials, including vegan leather.

Polimoda is not new to such partnerships, having sealed collaborations with Salvatore Ferragamo for its first master in shoe design; with Valentino on the master in bag design, and with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s Institut des Métiers d’Excellence for the Leather+ program, aimed at training leathergoods artisans.

In addition to the Scandicci outpost, Polimoda operates two other campuses, at Villa Favard in the heart of Florence and at the Manifattura Tabacchi, one of the city’s most impressive industrial monuments which dates back to the Forties.

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