Fili Pari was born among the desks of the Politecnico di Milano while Francesca Pievani and Alice Zantedeschi were studying Design for the Fashion System. The founders had the desire to create new narratives and new ambiences for unconventional materials and found in marble the perfect source of innovation; a cutting-edge technology that, thanks to the presence of marble powder, brings together technical performance and aesthetics into fabrics.
Interview taken by Riccardo Aimerito assisted by Luiza Pegrucci within the Maieutics Capital Programme of ERA Kapital whose purpose is to draw attention to brilliant female and male entrepreneurs who have an impact on their communities and create shared value.
What differentiates FILI PARI from the conventional one?
Fili Pari is a ground-breaking Start Up that develops and promotes unconventional materials for the textile sector, while respecting both the environment and the territory. The company specializes in leading-edge technologies for the enhancement of marble powders, with the aim of designing new materials capable of combining style, innovation and technical performances altogether. We have patented MARM \ MORE, an innovative coating which contains more than 50% of marble powder and that can be used in combination with any kind of fabric. The uniqueness of Fili Pari lies in its ability to create innovative materials and give them a new shape through the Fili Pari clothing collection.
Can you tell us how FILI PARI transforms marble powders into fabrics?
Since ancient times, marble has been used in art, architecture and design, and is a symbol of Italian culture recognized throughout the world. Today, marble is used in various industries such as the agri-food, chemical and construction ones, but it has never been used in the textile sector except as pure aesthetic inspiration through prints that recall the veins.
Now marble is finally wearable thanks to MARM \ MORE, the innovative fabric which combines technical performance and aesthetic features thanks to the presence of marble powder inside. We acquire the raw materials in various italian districts, mainly from Bergamo and Verona, and then we prepare them to enter the production circuit. The patented MARM \ MORE membrane is made of marble powder mixed together with a special composite to obtain a thin microfilm. The recipe starts off liquid but, once it is dried, it creates this thin microfilm that is combined with the chosen fabric, whether it is natural, artificial or synthetic, as needed.
Waterproof, windproof and resistant to abrasion, MARM/MORE is a fabric coating that exploits all the potential of stone to give fabrics completely natural colors and a soft, pleasant feeling.
Where did you two meet? Where did the idea of FILI PARI come from?
Our project was born among the university desks, more precisely those of the Politecnico di Milano. It stems from our desire to tell new stories and create new atmospheres that are both innovative and emotional, introducing our very own Italian research, design and creativity.
The name, Fili Pari, represents the anagram of Fripi and Ali, the two founders, Francesca Pievani and Alice Zantedeschi, both graduates from the Faculty of Design for the Fashion System of the Politecnico di Milano. The goal was to give an immediate reference to the thread, the textile world and above all to the overall vision of the brand. Fili Pari right now is incubated in Polihub, a business accelerator of the Politecnico di Milano and partner of the Start Up.
We know that sustainability is a latent topic nowadays. What has been the response from the fashion industry and customers to the fabric?
Sustainability is now a necessity and more and more customers are becoming aware of their choices and the products they wear. The material with which our garments are made is something that really intrigues the final consumer, who is usually fascinated by the possibility of wearing a stone that up until that moment was perceived as heavy, cold and stationary.
The consumer proves to be increasingly fascinated by the research and the project behind the material and the collection - a project based on the desire to enhance the Italian territory through the use of natural materials typical of our Peninsula for the development of high quality fabrics. Our MARM \ MORE material is made with either waste or production marble powder, depending on the type. The material is patented and is entirely made in Italy, starting from the choice of marble to the creation of the fabric. The clothing collection is entirely made in Italy as well. We select the different types of marble in the Italian stone district and then we proceed to produce the material in northern Italy in cooperation with specialized companies.
For us, sustainability means respect for our territory and circular economy. With our product we try to recover the waste of a district in order to transform it into opportunities and commodities for the textile industry, fully connecting the fashion sector with that of marble with respect to the circular economy. We have also developed a local supply chain located in northern Italy, optimizing transport and reducing the impact on the environment, with the aim of enhancing the entrepreneurial realities that our country has to offer.
Do you believe that the marketing sector is becoming more aware and sensitive to fashion consumption? Do you see a future shift in the way fashion is consumed?
In recent years, sustainability has become a very important factor in all industries, and particularly in the textile one, that is one of the most polluting sectors in the world. Up-and-coming designers and small brands are the most willing and reactive in promoting sustainable products on the market, offering the final client a more ethical and innovative fashion. The biggest challenge is that of the big luxury and fast fashion brands, which increasingly try to think about the impact their products can bring to the ecosystem, rather than continuing to carry out mass productions. The numbers of these industries are strictly linked to price logic, and the vicious circle between this type of offers and the final consumers who prefer these products does not allow a real change of course. However, we can feel a change starting from the customers, who are every day more aware of the products they’re buying and are developing a greater responsiveness to everything that is sustainable and eco-friendly. We therefore believe that it needs to be a collective movement, involving new brands as well as major fashion companies and final customers.
It has come a long way since the creation of this brand, which led me to ask what are the next steps?
The next step will be the launch of our new Fili Pari collection: a collection of raincoats for women with a minimal, yet ironic style. This collection pays a strong attention to both technical and stylistic details - essential and clean lines, refined fabrics and craftsmanship that make each garment unique. These garments are entirely made in Italy and show our passion for craftsmanship and research.
The new SS21 collection confirms the brand’s attention to increasingly ethical and responsible fashion. The MARM/MORE coating contains more than 50% marble powders and, when combined with recycled nylon, offers a variety of fully natural colors. White Marble, Black Ebony Marble, Verona Red Marble and Alpine Green Marble give pastel nuances together with a fresh and light style, to express a positive energy and our desire for redemption. The collection will be available online from March on our website filipari.com and on other selected marketplace platforms that care about sustainability and innovation.
Our choice of a responsible kind of fashion is reflected in every detail - even the packaging is made with recycled and compostable materials, to fully express the brand’s philosophy.
A 2021 news already online is our Fili Pari facemasks - a small collection for both men and women, in different colors, created thanks to the conscious recovery of waste fabrics deriving from the cutting garments process. Thanks to the skilled craftsmanship of small local tailors, it is possible to enhance the excess fabric and transform it into a new product, consistent with the principles of the circular economy of our supply chain.
Undoubtedly, Francesca Pievani and Alice Zantedeschi have been able to offer what was still missing on the eco-sustainable fashion market: a unique, innovative, comfortable and high-quality product.
Article & Interview by
Riccardo Aimerito & Luiza Pegrucci