LET'S PICK THE THREAD BACK UP:
textile manufacturers

Fashion is a many-sided idea, encompassing thoughts, people and projects. It's a collection of experiences and reflections that anticipate what is to come. …It is the thread of a conversation! (Stefano Chiassai)

When I write, I do so instinctively, building up ideas that pop up into my head. Then, when I read it back, I realise I should have added more details or information that got no further than my tablet keyboard. That's what happened with my last article. I forgot one of the most important pieces of my job - my collaboration with textile manufacturers.

I consider them to be not only friends, but above all an integral part of creating my collections, a job that begins 15 months in advance, which sounds incredible but is true. Work on the winter pieces on sale in stores in September 2015 began back in June 2014, when textile manufacturers presented their Cahier de Tendances to me.

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This is when the Creative Research begins. To me, the FABRIC is the Driving Force behind the Dream of a new Collection. This happens every time I REDISCOVER THE MATERIALITY from a fabric's Look, Feel and Smell. When I see and touch a fabric, it immediately gives me the feeling of what the end garment will be like, whether it will be nice to wear, light, heavy, constructed or deconstructed.

Intuition, experience, sensitivity and knowledge of Materials immediately tell me what kind of pattern-making and product can be Worked and Built from this fabric. The research begins when “MY TEXTILE-MAKING FRIENDS” come to my “CREATIVE LABORATORY” to look at the exclusive fabrics side by side. These “Teamwork” meetings also involve the material stored in my Vintage Archive, where we can perhaps draw inspiration from a '50s piece and use its design, colours or the feel of a fabric that has become “Interesting” over time, or even a “STRANGE” pattern!!!!!!

We might also look at Special Textures made using “Machinery” from the past, almost Hand looms that you can't find now, but that Technology can update and make “CONTEMPORARY”. It's this kind of Experimentation between the Old and the New that often (like a Random Alchemy) comes up with surprising new proposals and ideas ready for future “NEWCOLLECTIONS”.

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Studying new Fabrics is a very long and complex process. You begin by researching and choosing Threads and Colours, trying them out on small Looms, Weaving, and Finishing the Material. You then move on to the Weave (a technical term denoting how a fabric is made), the Design, the Weight, the Hand (how a fabric feels when you touch it). To make a Fabric, you need to run many Tests/Samples, you need the help of expert Organisations and Technicians that know every step in the production cycle, which takes a great deal of time and effort.

You begin with the Raw Material - Wool, Cotton, Natural Fibre, Synthetic Fibre, which determines the creation of the “THREAD IDEA”. It all starts with the thread, a seemingly simple element that actually involves a complex process of Research and Design, because you have to know how a Thread will be Applied right from the start. Working it on Machines or Looms generates a Type of Fabric, which can be “YARNDYED” or “PIECEDYED” or “READYTODYE”.

If you consider that the success of a fabric, which will become a “PRODUCT”, is determined by all these elements, you begin to understand why it takes so long to make an “IMPORTANT COLLECTION”. Today, those doing this job are called “makers”, but Italian textile manufacturers have a much more structured history than the new generations working on such revolutionary methods as 3D printing, which is increasingly used in fashion. Just think of the trade shows in Florence, Milan and Paris, where businesses from around the world present innovations of every kind. It's at these events that I speak to companies, suppliers, buyers, editors and manufacturers of every type of accessory.

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I encounter other worlds – not just the textile sector – and every time I realise that Italian product is the best. Despite everything, it stands out for its originality and quality. So, to pick the thread back up and get back to what I was trying to explain in the last two articles, every piece of the fashion system is essential, it's a part of a whole that would not exist were it not for all the other parts.

Fashion is a many-sided idea, encompassing thoughts, people and projects. It's a collection of experiences and reflections that anticipate what is to come. …It is the thread of a conversation!

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