“When I was 20 years old, working in the sector was not socially rewarding. Now it’s different. Young people are calling us. It means that work in leather goods is appreciated by the new generations”. So says Leonardo Calistri, who is 40 years old (in the photo to the right, at Mipel). Together with his brother Niccolò, he represents the third generation of the Sapaf Atelier 1954 family, founded in Florence by his grandfather Silvano Calistri and his wife Valdivia. The company is now run by Andrea, Leonardo and Niccolò’s father, and his wife Luciana.
Working in leather goods
In Tuscany, training schools are able to guarantee a large part, if not all, of the generational change needed in the leather goods industry. The need to introduce young people into the sector is constant, but Tuscany does not feel the alarm that other regions do. “We collaborate with various schools in the area. But it is this paradigm shift of young people towards leather goods that is crucial,” explains Leonardo Calistri.
How Sapaf works
Nowadays, Sapaf collaborates with international brands in designing collections and distributes products under its own brand Sapaf Atelier 1954. It employs about 25 people, and its main outlets are in the Italian, US, and Japanese markets. “The prospects for our brand are the result of a moment in which there is great uncertainty,” says the young Florentine entrepreneur. “These are difficult times. We continue to invest in the product, in communication and more”.
Sapaf presented “Aenigma” at Mipel, a capsule collection of bags created by designer Edoardo Marziari (pictured in the centre) and made by master craftsman Andrea Calistri (left). Marziari focused on the futuristic and geometric transformation of the Art Nouveau design that has so far distinguished Sapaf Atelier 1954 collections. Among the materials used is a special split-varnished leather. “The name of the collection is inspired by an anecdote: after researching the company archives, Marziari came up with the idea of transforming Art Nouveau details into geometric ones for this new collection. At the same time, an old mould turned up in the company. We interpreted the discovery as a confirmation that the idea was right,” explains Leonardo. Thus, the two initials of the names of the collection’s creators (Andrea and Edoardo) are the same as the word Aenigma. “This is a first step towards an important future”.