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TO LEAD THE INDUSTRY, YOU NEED TO COLLABORATE WITH INDUSTRY LEADERS. BLACK SHEEP SOUGHT THE EXPERTISE OF MAGLIA ROSA FABRIC SUPPLIERS SITIP S.P.A TO HELP DEFINE A NEW ERA FOR THE ESSENTIALS COLLECTION.

The adventures of a fabric sourcer in the 21st century reach some very far, and at times, unromantic locations. The breaking of borders and the advancement of Asian production have meant that one can find themselves in the backblocks of Taipei, or beneath the smog of Eastern China to find some of the best innovation. But not every part of the industry has lost its heritage to commercialism. For warp-knit fabric, the lifeblood of cycling apparel, Italy still remains both the benchmark and the driver of this very important raw material.

The story of our Essentials – Euro Collection started in a small village of northern Italy named Cene. Part of the greater Bergamo province, Cene is one of many examples of an Italian village built on industry and the worker. Cene is practically an outer suburbia of Milan, but don’t try to rationalise the village to locals in that context. It is very much independent of its bigger shadow.

Sitip S.p.A is a fabric mill that has called Cene home since 1959. Founded by Luigi Pezolli, Sitip’s initial focus was to refine the process of warp-knit fabric milling of which Italy has become synonymous. Businesses such as MITI, Carvico, and Sitip have touched almost every physical-activity inclined person on the planet with their creations. The process of warp-knitting runs yarns in parallel processions of one another along the length of a roll, or rather, from top to bottom. This method of production gives the fabric a highly stretchable quality around a mass, much needed for garments which require their fabric to be tight fitting and forgiving. Good mills are hard to find, bad mills are obvious before you even get close.

The distinction of quality amongst blended synthetic fabrics is something extremely hard to state objectively. As is testament to the power of heritage exemplified by Italian fabric mills, this is a process that is as much governed by the romance and experience of blending parts of polyesters and nylons, as it is a science. It is also largely reliant on being able to complete as much of the endto- end process in-house as they can. In the 1970s, Sitip started their own fabric dying process.

Over the last 30 years, they have refined a somewhat secondrate process of fabric production, where they take the natural colour of the blended fabric and give it a rich colour fit for fashion, and turned it into a science. Many of Sitip’s competitors outsource this process, obviously giving up a vast amount of control and quality. One thing you will notice with the forthcoming Euro Collection is the depth and vibrancy of the colours we use, something we will happily attribute to Sitip’s production and quality.

The development of Black Sheep’s Essentials – Euro Collection is a celebration of Italian heritage and a nod to the innovation occurring within the industry for the future. In what is a beautiful symbiosis, it also comes at a time when Italy celebrates the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia, with Sitip S.p.A supplying the fabric for the Maglia Rosa.

How we love it when a plan comes together.

 

EXPLORE THE ESSENTIALS – EURO COLLECTION