RadiciGroup-POLIMI partnership for the design of high-performance sailing wear
Creating a mini capsule collection of caps for both professional and amateur yachters and regatta sailors. That was the objective of the UV Protection and Innovative Cap Design workshop, which recently took place at the scientific-technological university Politecnico di Milano for students enrolled in the Fashion Design Master’s programme.
As in the Sportswear Design workshop held in the autumn of 2017, the participating students from countries around the globe were split into four workgroups with the goal of developing collection proposals and presenting prototypes.
Besides RadiciGroup – which introduced the students to various yarns to be used for the specific application –, two other companies collaborated on the workshop: Master Italia S.p.A., a cap and hat specialist, and Slam S.p.A., a manufacturer of sailing sportswear.
“After the positive experience of our collaboration with POLIMI on the design of garments for the Alpine Rescue Corps of Lombardy, in the second workshop we continued our young designer training programme starting from the knowledge of raw material characteristics,” noted Marco De Silvestri, marketing director of the RadiciGroup Comfort Fibres Business Area. “The students chose their materials from the range of synthetic fibres proposed by RadiciGroup. They matched the functions of the different parts of the cap with fibres not only ensuring high UVA, UVB, and UVC protection, but also capable of retaining their high-performance characteristics over time.”
The RadiciGroup yarn portfolio includes a wide range of products incorporating additives to provide protection up to UPF 50+. The yarns are also available in solution-dyed and r- PET versions, so as to protect the body and reduce the environmental impact of the garments at the same time.
Workshop organization and activities
Firstly, the student workgroups analysed the sailing wear market and evaluated the performance of the main garments already available. They also identified the real needs of sailors, by interviewing people directly involved in the sport. Then they studied the potential damage caused by excessive unprotected solar exposure. At this point, all the workgroups made their choice of materials: the highest possible UV shielding effect, together with the best wind and salt water resistance. All of that was done taking into account the aesthetic and functional features, such as detachable cap parts to allow for washing, a way to combine sunglasses with the cap and a mechanism to secure the cap to a polo shirt.
The workgroups also dealt with the safety aspects of sailing, considering even the use of electronic devices to monitor the sailors’ health and to automatically signal emergency situations, if needed.
Professor Maurizia Botti, workshop coordinator, also expressed satisfaction with the course outcome: “All the projects boast innovative and technologically advanced aspects. The academic world always encourages students to design new garments that are beautiful, useful and high-performance in the shortest possible time. That is because the apparel industry is constantly evolving, and it is important for young people to learn sooner, rather than later, how to quickly take on the challenges thrown their way by the market.”
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. These products – the result of the Group’s outstanding chemical expertise and vertically integrated polyamide production chain – have been developed for use in a variety of industrial sectors.