It’s always a pleasure to get a behind-the-scenes look at how things are made. In Kiton’s latest FW11 catalog, they take us through one of the Italian wool mills they work with. This particular mill is located in Biella, a region that has been known for centuries for its fine textiles. Given the caliber of Kiton’s garments, it’s probably safe to assume that this is one of Italy’s best mills.
It takes multiple steps to transform raw yarn into woven fabric. At this mill, the process begins by storing bobbins of yarn underground at a constant temperature of 18 degrees Celsius and a humidity level of 80%. These conditions ensure the yarns’ workability until they’re ready to be sent on through the successive stages of manufacturing.
The warping process begins by unwinding the yarns and transferring them to beams, which will then be placed into the weaving looms. The worker prepares this process by twisting two threads together in order to make them stronger. On the warping machine, odd threads are separated from the even threads in order to sequence the threads correctly.
With the warping process complete, workers prepare the weaving looms. The beams, which are now filled with threads, are carefully inserted into combs and reeds. Each individual thread must be inserted into a reed, in a loop of the head, and in a tooth of the comb.
The beam is now complete and ready to be loaded onto the loom. On the loom, warp threads (longitudinal threads) are woven into weft threads (transverse thread), forming whatever pattern that has been chosen for that particular fabric. Once the fabric has been woven, it is discharged from the loom and sent to the finishing stage.
At the finishing stage, the untreated fabric is washed and dried in several ways, depending on what the final results need to be. This will determine the fabric’s appearance and how it feels to the hand.
Of course, quality control occurs throughout this entire process. Thread counts are verified, the strength and regularity of the yarn is checked, and pieces are continually inspected for defects. Special attention is given, however, after the finishing stage, just to ensure that everything has been made to the highest quality standards.
Once completed and inspected, the fabrics leave the mill and move along the rest of the production chain. Clothing companies select fabrics for their designs, manufacturers work with fabrics to produce those designs, and the finished garments are sent to stores. People always remember the designers and retailers in this system. If you’re a special kind of enthusiast, you may also think about the tailors and manufacturers. Few, however, ever think of the mills, but they determine the first thing we experience when we touch a garment. As Kiton shows, these mills have their own beautiful production processes to be appreciated.