Film by Laura Gutierrez, Art Direction by Maria Clara Genis, Story by Nicole Rigas
It began with a roar of water, the rush of horse-drawn carts, the scent of leather in the air. Hides of all sorts were sold and traded by the tanners of Igualada throughout the 1800s, propelling the progress and development of this small Catalonian town. Igualada’s history would be impossible to explain without its tanners, who have woven its narrative, century after century, generation after generation. Over time, economic changes forced many of Igualada’s tanneries to close, but those that survived took quality as their mainstay. They perfected their craft to a high level of specialization, earning Igualada the legendary status it holds today as the cradle of fine leather. It was only natural that our search for an ideal tannery partner for Reishi would lead us to this unique region.
“My first reaction when I saw Reishi™ was surprise,” says Xavi Badia, the fourth-generation owner of Curtidos Badia, one of Spain’s oldest and most respected tanneries, “The material seemed to be leather, but was not. I realized that if we applied our knowledge and expertise, we could help it to evolve and progress. We could create new possibilities.” Our collaboration with Curtidos Badia began in 2019. We needed a tannery partner that was not only technically capable, but also one who shared our respect for quality and our desire to create something new and beautiful.
For four generations, the Badia family has endeavored to safeguard centuries-old traditions, producing only the highest quality leather, chosen by luxury brands all over the world. Their innovative processes, dedication to waste reduction and quality over volume philosophy have set a new standard within the leather industry. Today, Curtidos Badia is our preferred tannery partner, and their experience has been critical in shaping Reishi™ into the material it is today.
“Quality, in the leather world, is something everyone can understand,” says Xavi, “It’s pleasant, almost meditative to touch. It has a warmth and softness that translates into a product. It instantly attracts you and invites you to touch it. Quality at Curdios Badia is the summary of four generations’ passion and focus, working day by day to continuously improve the touch and the look of our leather. We listen to the market and adapt—either through technical improvements or process improvements.”
Under Xavi’s leadership, Curtidos Badia has committed to eliminating the discharge of hazardous chemicals, conserving energy and reducing water consumption, without compromising on quality standards. They source hides from the best farms, hire the most skilled technicians and conduct rigorous quality checks. The result is a faultless leather, found in the stores of high-end brands worldwide.
Now, in close cooperation with the Mycoworks team, the Badia family continues to improve their techniques using Reishi™—a material which Xavi believes is the future of the leather industry. “As a fourth generation business owner, I have an obligation to ensure there is something to pass on to a fifth generation,” he says, “Reishi™ has a lot of potential for our clients. It’s a product that does not exist yet—there’s nothing similar on the market. It’s something new, something different, something high quality, that I believe will have a long journey in the fashion industry.”