The A³ Chair in Leather, Fashion and Textile Innovation at the UPC's Igualada School of Engineering was founded in an agreement signed on 27 January 2012. Initially it worked in the field of leather tanning, and later —when addenda to the agreement were signed on 20 January 2014— in the fields of textiles and fashion.
The Chair was founded with the aim of bringing together academics, researchers and representatives of businesses and institutions, with the involvement of the leather tanning, textile and fashion sectors, to strengthen leather, textile and fashion clusters in Igualada. These industrial clusters have achieved a high degree of specialisation and include a significant number of companies.
The partnership between the University, through the Igualada School of Engineering (EEI) and the School of Igualada Consortium (CETI), and the Chair’s sponsors—the Igualada City Council, the Spanish Chemical Association for the Leather Industry (AQEIC), the Association for Research in Leather and Related Industries (AIICA), the Private Foundation for Textile Innovation of Igualada (FITEX) and the Catalan Textile and Fashion Association (ACTM)— brings together significant global knowledge of the leather tanning sector industry and tradition, experience, specialisation and expertise that are highly valued within the textile and fashion sector, which is defined by prestigious brands and the wish to offer unique products. The Chair's multidisciplinary work aims to increase the added value of these two important economic sectors in the region of L’Anoia through innovation, quality and care for the environment.
The Chair's aims are part of a larger endeavour to continuously improve, innovate and contribute to maintaining regional balance and retaining talent. Its activities are designed to emphasise the sustainability of leather tanning and textile processes and the application of new technologies. These activities are principally the following:
Publishing a scientific journal (the AQEIC Journal).
Participating in committees with international connections through the IULTCS (International Union of Leather Technologist and Chemists Societies), in IUE (environment), IUP (physical testing), IUC (chemical analysis) and IUF (fastness tests).
Organising conferences and seminars.
Liaising and maintaining stable relations with companies, universities and institutions in the tanning and textile sector.
Designing and delivering continuing education courses for professionals in the sector.
Developing research lines on topics of interest and work on the transfer of research results.
Writing materials to support companies (analytical reports, appraisals, advice on quality and processes, among others).