Alba Andres




Meet the Makers | Karen Millen x Manteco Interview

A champion within the world of textiles, Manteco prides itself on its production of sustainable luxury fabric. Leading the way with innovative solutions and state-of-the-art technology, Manteco is committed to ensuring the sustainable production of its premium quality fabrics. We spoke with Marco Mantellassi, CEO of Manteco, to uncover how they have mastered the art of wool recycling, the process behind our latest collection of premium coats. Crafted with authenticity and transparency in mind, this series allows us to visually witness the journey our coats have made across the globe, from the fields of Italy to our rails in London.

How has Manteco achieved its celebrated status over the year?

We have always relied on our heritage and expertise, while keeping an eye to the future. Research and innovation are key parts of our DNA, with sustainability at the heart of it all. Through the decades we have continued to scale up our products and processes to a luxury standard.

Ever since our business was established, generation after generation, we have never stopped investing on new solutions and processes to take our products to the next levels.

Karen Millen Manteco

What makes you work with a brand like Karen Millen?

We really enjoy working with Karen Millen, as it is a brand that chooses high quality materials and engages in expert craftmanship to create beautiful garments. One of things we appreciate the most is their “Meet the Makers” initiative, through which they have taken great steps towards bring more transparent with their customers.

What is the key to your expert craftmanship?

The key for our expert craftmanship is our zero-mile supply chain, one of our strongest pillars. We have never delocalized any of our production phases. Making fabrics in Italy is special because we – as a population – have excelled in this role for centuries, accumulating expertise and a legendery reputation, which has been passed on through the generations. This has made the ‘Made in Italy’ merchandise mark what it is today: a guarantee of singular quality and excellence. All the partner mills we work with are within 10 miles from our headquarters and are visited daily by our professionals in order to check quality and production progress.

Karen Millen Manteco

What is your favourite part of the process?

Whether it involves virgin wool or MWool® fabrics, the most fascinating part of the textile process is the spinning and finishing phase. During the spinning phase, raw materials are processed in a big carding machine, which mechanically disentangles, cleans, intermixes, and parallelizes fibers to produce a continuous and homogeneous web, which is then separated into long rovings and spun. The yarn is formed by several intermittent actions, the rovings are drawn out by means of a moveable carriage, and then twisted to increase their strength. So, starting from raw fibers, we eventually obtain durable and strong yarns ready to be woven. The finishing part is particularly exciting, as ‘greige’ fabrics undergo a series of wet, physical processes and treatments: such as fulling, tumble washing, KD, raising, depending on the final result that is requested by brands or chosen by us. Starting from a single woven fabric, you can obtain numerous different looks, from compact and elegant ones, to more casual and sporty ones.

What are the biggest challenges you face?

The major challenges we are currently facing are cost increases for energy, transportation and a global lack of raw materials, all this is putting great pressure on our entire supply chain.

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