Aloof aims to shine a light on the best brands and companies operating in the independent market right now, from all over the world. Those under the radar of the wider consciousness but with great stories to tell and a unique perspective on the nuts and bolts of building a brand.
Breaking away from our usual interviews with clothing companies, we take great pleasure in introducing Lorenzo, founder and curator of material.archive, an Instagram source page that provides the information and technical specificities of all our favourite fabrics. With a wealth of experience already under his belt in the textile industry, we couldn't wait to see what Lorenzo had to say when we threw some questions his way.
Aloof Studio (AS): Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do?
material.archive (MA): Hi, I’m Lorenzo, curator of material.archive. I’m based in Italy and I’m an aspiring fabric and material developer.
AS: What is your background in clothing & textiles that led you to start material.archive? Do you balance this with other projects or jobs?
MA: My first experience in clothing and textiles was about three years ago when I did an internship at Sportswear Company, parent firm of Stone Island. After that experience, I fell in love with textiles and the research behind it. I then did a two year textile development course in Biella, one of the most important textile districts in Italy, where I learnt all the technical processes behind the creation of fabrics. During my studies I did several internships in textile mills and clothing companies around northern Italy.
I decided to start the page as an outlet to share my passion and all the things I learned during those years and also to re-create my fabric archive in a digital form. Right know the page is not my only “job”, at the moment it’s more like a hobby.
AS: There’s a focus towards the more technical and innovative fabrics such as Dyneema and Corkshell. Will you be looking at more traditional materials like Gabardine or Ventile on your page? Or does that not interest you?
MA: I tend to focus on creating posts about more technical and innovative fabrics because I like to showcase what’s new and upcoming in the textile world. I love traditional materials and traditional dyeing and finishing techniques too, I just gravitate towards to what’s more innovative and current.
AS: Stone Island and Klattermusen are two brands that pop up occasionally as examples of how brands have used the fabrics you talk about. Are there any other companies that make great clothes with innovative fabrics that you’re interested in?
MA: There are lots of companies that take advantage of amazing materials and technologies. One that pops into my mind right know is Vollebak, a UK-based brand on the forefront of textile and clothing exploration, creating amazing fabrics with the most innovative technologies using materials like graphite, algae based cellulose and copper. Check them out if you don’t know them already!
AS: Do you see textile mills moving away from plastic-based materials to a more eco-friendly, plant based approach in the future?
MA: I guess yes, that’s the challenge every textile mill should have right now. Removing plastic-based materials completely won’t be easy, but textile companies are already working hard on creating more sustainable options for their clients. It’s a tough task but something that will have to change eventually.
AS: With your knowledge of materials and their strengths in performance, are there any that your personally feel stand up better than others?
MA: That’s a difficult one. I love a lot of types of materials so it’s hard for me to pick, every material is created to have a use in a specific situation and to withstand certain weather conditions, whether it needs to be water repellent, windproof or insulating. For me, it just depends what the final use of the material is.
AS: You’re currently just based on Instagram, are there plans to start a website and develop your reach further, or perhaps move it offline into books or magazines?
MA: The page is going pretty well and the audience is really supportive and interested in what I’m doing. I don’t have any actual plans but I’m considering creating a website or maybe a platform like a Patreon where I can provide more detailed information about materials. A book would be amazing, I still love to have physical copies of magazines and books in my house so it would be amazing to have one curated by me. We’ll see what the future holds!
AS: Do brands or people come to you for advice on the practical applications of materials?
MA: Not at the moment but I would love to do consultancy for brands or people and be able to collaborate on the development of new fabrics and materials.
AS: What can we expect to see in the future from material.archive?
MA: One thing I learned during these uncertain times is that your plans could be suddenly twisted by things that are out of your control. I’m trying to plan less and stay focused on the present. I’ll just keep doing my thing, sharing knowledge about materials and we’ll see what the future holds.
Stay tuned with the latest from Lorenzo and material.archive here.