A jacket made out of marble? Meet the brand Fili Pari
Francesca and Alice
When you think of the applications of marble, fashion is not the first thing that comes to mind; marble evokes images of a cold, heavy and rigid structure. However, the Italian designers Francesca Pievani and Alice Zantedeschi have found a way to make marble wearable! After selecting the finest Italian marble, the rocks are put into a machine with supporting materials to create a patented powder called Veromarmo. The Veromarmo is then applied to the outer layer of the jackets, which not only makes them resemble marble's earthy colors, but also gives it a soft, rubbery touch due to the calcium carbonate in the rock. Having met these ambitious, go-getting founders, we are excited to share our interview on how they are revolutionising the way that marble can be applied to a fashionable setting.
How did the two of you meet?
We met at the Polytechnic University of Milan as we were both studying fashion design.
Where does the name Fili Pari come from?
The brand was launched in 2014 and its name, while evoking the realm of the textile industry, is an anagram of our nicknames Fripi and Ali. Our name is also the concept of our vision: two parallel lines, going in the same direction
What do you picture as a typical Fili Pari wearer?
Our raincoats are ideal for a curious, dynamic and conscious woman, yet unwilling to compromise on elegance and ease of wearing. Our collection is a mix of colours from marble stones, a pastel palette that reflects the neutral and base tones inspired by nature. We are now also prototyping a new, more darker color, made by marble waste, for a woman who wants to dress in black.
If you could describe the Fili Pari brand in three words what would they be?
Minimal, fresh, feminine, avant-garde... oops there are four!
If you could describe your brand as a type of music, what would it be?
We love the music of Devendra Banhart, a mix of indie folk with naturalism, especially in Mala and Ape in Pink Marble, his last work (*still marble). The passion for research is also reflected in musical innovation and investigation of styles and instruments.
What’s currently one of your favorite pieces from your collection?
Fili Pari’s collection consists of four different styles of female jackets which are suitable for all seasons. We feel a particular connection with the Nina Jacket because that was one of our first designs. In terms of color, we probably love the Nina Jacket in peach most, as it is also our bestseller.
It is incredible how your jackets are made out of Veromarmo, a type of marble powder. Tell me about how this material was created and the research that went behind it.
Marble is one of the main products of the industrial evolution in Italy, inspiring the birth of the marble and stone districts. The specialisation of this productive district is combined with the skills of the textile district, in order to create new synergies and forms of expression of the 'Made in Italy' mark. Having our garments 'Made in Italy', is an added value to our jackets as it reflects a way of life, a symbol of beauty, tradition, techniques and unique skills, typical of the Italian Peninsula. It might be odd, but we consider marble one of the most important elements of Italian heritage. Throughout centuries, it has gained an important role in enhancing the natural, architectural and industrial environments. Marble can be applied to a wide variety of industries: construction, art, design and fashion. Until now, the use of marble in fashion design has been considered a source of aesthetic inspiration, thanks to its natural grain printed on textiles. The international trend consists of the evolution of marble from a cold, heavy and immobile material to new concepts of lightness, fluidity and heat. This trend has affected different sectors of the design world, from furniture to jewellery. The challenge has been connecting the stones with textiles, actually making the marble wearable. A mixture of marble dust and supporting materials go into special machines to create Veromarmo (R) microfilm, glued with fabric. We are free to choose any type of fabric to match the microfilm and customize our material.
How is Veromarmo different from other traditional materials to make jackets?
The research of new materials and innovative solutions lead to the development of Veromarmo: a patented wearable microfilm made of marble powder. The membrane is waterproof, windproof, abrasion-resistant, breathable and fire retardant. The soft base color comes from the type of marble itself, and the soft and rubber-like feeling is due to the calcium carbonate contained in the rock. The best marbles from Italy are selected to create high-quality garments. You cannot find another way to wear stone and history, such as Veromarmo (R).
Around how long does it take to produce a Fili Pari jacket from start to finish?
The production cycle is quite similar to a typical raincoat, but the research of the raw materials takes up an important part of the first steps. Contrary to others jackets, we start from marble powder to find the perfect type and size to use. We work with factories in North Italy to produce Veromarmo (R) and to tailor our raincoat collection. We follow fashion seasons, so now we are producing SS2018, which you’ll find in selected Italian and international shops at the end of February.
What would you say is the most difficult part of having your own brand?
Selling. As we are designers, we know how to design and produce a jacket, but the selling part is an area we are not as familiar with. We know our product offers a high value to the customer, but the difficulty is communicating this to other people; to actually promote the brand. We are now searching for a person that can market our product and manage the retail. For us that's really important.
Do you two have different roles within the company?
As we went to the same university, we have a similar background but with a different set of strengths. However, as it is just the two of us working at Fili Pari at the moment, we both control each part of the process. In the future, we hope to work in different areas of the company. But now we have so much to do, that we are both involved in everything.
What are your plans for the future?
First and foremost, we want to be recognised for our jackets. But we would be interested in collaborating with other companies to make other garments and expanding our product range. We also want to improve our retail by selling in larger number of stores.