The value of tradition. The link with the production chain. Sustainability. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Il Bisonte strongly reaffirms the founding principles of its identity. Rooted in the use of quality leather and in the “vocation towards an authentic circular economy”. This and much more is what CEO Luigi Ceccon (in the photo) tells us in this interview, who from April 2020 leads the brand controlled (from 2019) by the Japanese Look Holdings.
Present and future
What conclusions can be drawn from the transition to Look Holding and what are your prospects?
I confirm that the postponement of the celebrations by a year is due to the pandemic, the restrictions we all shared. As soon as possible, at Pitti, we gave our contribution to the messages of sustainability and optimism, that are needed to begin the journey back to normality. The passage to the Japanese company Look Holding allows us to consolidate our presence in Japan, which has always been our most important market, and to plan our international growth in the medium and long term, while maintaining our deep roots in Tuscany. The The head office in Florence, the main factory in Pontassieve and the network of suppliers concentrated in the Sieve, Arno and Mugello valleys: all within a 30 kilometres radius. This results obtained with the 2020 financial statements, which closed with a positive net profit and a consolidation of the fundamentals, encourage us to look ahead with great confidence.
Your goal at the moment is not China. On the contrary, Il Bisonte prefers to focus on Europe and the United States: why?
Our short- and medium-term objective is to further strengthen our presence in the traditional markets: Japan, Europe and the USA in particular. Once this has been achieved, we will devote ourselves to planning further expansion projects.
Does leather continue to play a preferential role in your products?
Next to and in combination with linen and cotton cloth, leather has always been our material of choice. In our 50 years of business, we have built up trusting relationships with the best tanneries, which ensure that we supply high-quality metal-free or chrome-free leather. We are appreciated worldwide, especially for our bags and small leather accessories made of vegetable-tanned cowhide. We are proud to be world ambassadors for this age-old tradition, which combines sustainability and beauty in an extraordinary way. Our customers love this unique leather which – thanks to the alchemy of tannin and sunlight – changes over time and becomes more and more beautiful. In the new collections, we have also introduced bio-tanned leathers in a selection of products, which are recyclable and biodegradable, and therefore consistent with our vocation for a genuine circular economy.
Sensitivity is an increasingly strong demand in public opinion, but the risk of greenwashing is always present: what do you think?
Sustainability has been part of Il Bisonte’s DNA since its foundation. We support it by investing both in large strategic projects and in small everyday practices. Far from the rhetoric of greenwashing, we believe that a company’s responsibility must be organic to all its activities. This is why we are not only committed to environmental sustainability, but also to social sustainability and consumption. For our brand, being sustainable means producing responsibly while respecting people and the ecosystem, valuing the skills of the master craftsmen in our short supply chain, and offering the market products that last a long time, remain beautiful and desirable for decades and can be restored and reused.
Do you think the pandemic has changed the relationship between the company and the supply chain?
The relationship with our supply chain is the foundation of our business. During the pandemic with our partners and collaborators we were able to verify and appreciate once again the solidity of what we have built together, a relationship based on excellence, trust and shared values.
A New Point Of Materials: Lineapelle and responsible innovation
A critical space for discovery and investigation, information and debate. This place “to attend live performances and thematic talks”. But it is also a place “to experience first-hand how leathers and materials embody the concept of responsible innovation”. An “exciting journey”, as Lineapelle defines it, that can be undertaken within the physical and conceptual spaces of A New Point Of Materials.
A New Point Of Materials: what, where, when
We are talking about the new project that will make its debut at Lineapelle, on September 22-24, in pavilion 15 at Fieramilano Rho. Its objective: “To put the spotlight on the way in which leathers, materials, technologies and applications are able to express the next step after sustainability: that of sustainable innovation”. And it will do so by “transparently expressing a stimulating combination of technology and craftsmanship, tradition and avant-garde”.
A critical path
A New Point Of Materials is organised by Lineapelle in collaboration with D-house by Dyloan (Urban Laboratory) and C.L.A.S.S. (Creativity Lifestyle and Sustainable Synergy). And is supported by the consultancy of Orietta Pelizzari. The event, as Lineapelle explains, “proposes a careful selection of leathers and materials characterised by an evolved and evolving green content, describing them throughout their production cycle. It does so by starting from the strategic choices of each company in relation to the theme of responsible innovation”. Choices “that are then transformed into high-performance products capable of satisfying a new generation of values”.
A rich programme
Alongside the reasoned exhibition of leathers and materials, the new Lineapelle project “proposes an agenda of talks and performances in English”. Subject? “The most trending topics regarding the approach to production, corporate finance and retail related to the concept of responsible innovation”. You can find the whole programme by clicking here. And have a good trip.