Made in Tuscany
Bright Colours, Scraps And Knives
Recently, we took a walk around the rooms of the famous Florence Leather School, which, in the buildings of the Basilica of Santa Croce, has been enthusiastically fulfilling its mission for more than 60 years: hand-made products that are top-quality, unique and exclusive, blessed with texture and colours, and much sought-after in their vast range of hides or made to measure for more demanding customers.
Tommaso Melani, Marketing Manager and grandson of Marcello Gori, one of the two founders of the celebrated workroom, took us on a tour of the creative process and manufacturing space, which enables the Leather School to keep its standards high with products which are renowned and famous all over the world.
This is a tour that reveals the fundamentals of hide and of real leather, punctuated by the knowledge of a group of artisans who share the expertise of working hides by hand and taking care of every little detail.
"Our tour begins in the showroom, where we greet the customer and where we exhibit the products hailing from our creativity and the mastery of our artisans," Tommaso explains to us.
"We create all kinds of leather items and accessories, clothing, but bags above all else! Classic bags, cut and finished by hand, in hides of exemplary quality, some of which are also braided with various wefts and dimensions of the weaving, or in bold colours, such as the ones designed and created by Francesca, the middle of my grandfather's three daughters, which are special as they are unique, limited in number and photographed, so that they are never repeated and, if made to order, bear the name of the customer who purchased them.
The epitome of personalization!" After having chosen a design, the customer is offered countless options in terms of hide and colour.
Scales of green, brown, blue, beige and red interact with the customer's imagination with minimal tone-on-tone variations so as to satisfy fully the buyer's expectations.
Tommaso continues: "Having decided the design, hide and colour for the order, the actual manufacturing stage gets under way.
On the floor below the showroom, the work begins in the expert hands of the cutter, the person who uses a sharp blade to cut out the pieces, which will go on to make the product.
This is a fundamental stage, in which the careful and expert eye must select the best pieces of the hide for the most visible parts of the artefact, discarding the faulty ones and always bearing in mind the way in which the bag is assembled and the fashion in which it "moves"".
The selection completed, the thickness of the hide must be reduced and prepared for the "rimbocco", the phase in which the leather is folded and sewn.
The "salpe" (labels) and "gomme" (rubber parts) are prepared, used to support and stiffen the leather, where required, as well as the metal parts. The material prepared in this way goes back to the first floor workshop where the artisans create bags using movements that are centuries of years old.
"The final step consists in the finishing touches, when we check that all the threads are fully complete and that no imperfections have arisen during manufacturing," Tommaso concludes, happy with the tour. "If everything's perfect, Bob's your uncle!"
The time scale can take up to 60 days from the date of the order. Then the product is chosen and envisaged by the customer, it is created and delivered to his/her door, wrapped in a soft cloth bag and in a super-strong box, which protects it during the journey.