Fashion design shaped by the choice of materials

RadiciGroup partners with the Politecnico di Milano to organize a “Sportswear Design” workshop course for the Master’s Programme “Design for the Fashion System”

In Milan, a “Sportswear Design” workshop course, organized as part of the Master’s Programme in “Design for the Fashion System” has recently started at the technical university Politecnico di Milano. The initiative is supported by RadiciGroup, an industrial multinational engaged in the production of numerous materials used by the technical and sports apparel industries, among others.

The workshop, conducted in English, runs from September to December 2017 and is attended by about forty international students who are focusing on the design and development of garments with innovative shapes, materials and styles, specifically intended for the sportswear sector.

“For many years now, synthetic fibres have played a fundamental role in a variety of applications: high-end intimatewear, innerwear as outerwear and sportswear; automotive, furnishings, and many other industrial uses,” said Marco De Silvestri, marketing manager of the RadiciGroup Comfort Fibres Business Area. “The intrinsic versatility of synthetic fibres is the very reason why they have become fundamental allies in creating innovative solutions in a field that cannot ignore the knowledge of materials.

Polyamide and polyester – each having its own distinctive characteristics, to be covered during the workshop – ensure very high aesthetic and functional performance. RadiciGroup, with its vertically integrated production (from chemicals to polymers and textile yarn), has the know-how and capability to adapt fibre properties in step with the rapid changes in trends and needs of the highly competitive textiles market, which is always trying to set the bar higher to achieve new goals. “It is important for these students, our future designers,” Mr De Silvestri continued, “to learn how to design by combining the desired goal with the characteristics of the raw materials and the required innovative content. Knowledge of raw materials and the ability to maximize their utility must become an integral part of a modern designer’s background.”

Polyamide, better known as nylon, ensures lightness, comfort, excellent moisture absorption and breathability. Thanks to its light weight and high resistance, it is the ideal material for skin contact garments like intimatewear, as well as for outerwear and sportswear.

On the other hand, garments made with polyester yarn feature excellent tenacity and resilience, high abrasion resistance, good resistance to chemical and physical agents, rapid drying and a high elasticity modulus. Furthermore, polyester allows for superior customization with any kind of printing. The RadiciGroup offering includes a wide range of polyester yarn – including yarn made from certified recycled PET – in a huge selection of colours (both yarn-dyed and solution-dyed). Custom-tailored yarn can also be supplied for small lot orders.

Some yarns can be endowed with special functionalities, such as anti-bacterial, anti-odour, anti-bug and UV protection. Among the most recent innovations for the world of competitive sports is ceramic polyester yarn, which may enhance endurance by reducing muscular fatigue.

“In the field of amateur as well as competitive sports, companies invest their resources and skills to devise and manufacture performance enhancing sportswear, “ stressed Maurizia Botti, coordinator and instructor of the “Design for Sportswear” workshop. “Research, innovation, technology and sustainability are the operative words in developing fibres, fabrics and state-of-the-art treatments capable of transforming a garment into a genuine ‘second skin’ or realizing enhanced-performance accessories that attain maximum performance in all human activities, even the most extreme ones, all the while providing better and safer protection.”

The students will have the opportunity to deal with a variety of sportswear fields of application, working side by side with the instructors and RadiciGroup contributors. At the end of the workshop, students will be required to present their advanced design concepts for garments and accessories, through the creation of digital images or models/prototypes, depending on the complexity of the project.

With approximately 3000 employees, sales revenue of EUR 946 million in 2016 and a network of production and sales sites located throughout Europe, North America, South America and Asia, RadiciGroup is one of the world’s leading producers of a wide range of chemical intermediates, polyamide polymers, engineering plastics, synthetic fibres and nonwovens.