High-tech luxury: Alcantara and Not Just A Label launch a textiles experience

An exhibition at London's Protein Gallery
Fabric manufacturer Alcantara, best known for its work with supercars and luxury interiors, has teamed up with Not Just A Label to launch its first foray into fashion, with an exhibition at London's Protein Gallery. Pictured: installation view
(Image credit: TBC)

Fast-lane fabric manufacturer Alcantara – more usually known for supplying Ferrari and Aston Martin supercars with materials suited to their high-end interiors – launched a fashion exhibition in London this week, in collaboration with UK-based designers hand-picked by global design network Not Just A Label (NJAL).

The idea was to test the high-tech luxury faux suede material’s versatility away from its usual trimming role in cars, yachts, aeroplanes and furniture, so Alcantara approached NJAL to propose which designers should come onboard for the project. 'It was important they were open to adopting new materials in their work,' says NJAL CEO and founder, Stefan Siegel. 'Like Fannie Schiavoni, who is known for her chain-mail jewellery for big celebrities like Rihanna. They all had to present an idea and we picked the best ten to fly to Italy to work with Alcantara’s designers to then develop their ideas.'   

The results are free to view at Protein Studios’ ground-floor space in Shoreditch in east London for a week (until 20 July) and include a dramatically-structured coat with copper mesh interwoven into the Alcantara by Sadie Clayton, a beautiful geometric flower-like hanging objet d’art by Jule Waibel and an interlocking modular dress by Lazerian. Designer/maker Liam Hopkins from Lazerian says he was inspired by the way Alcantara is made for the construction of his dress. 'One of the things I found out was that Alcantara kind of explode one of their raw materials into multiple particles and then bring it back together to make the fabric strong,' he enthuses. 'So I wanted to take a form of a dress, explode it and then bring it back together as one. My idea was to potentially 3D scan someone to capture their form and through this process alter the form of each section.'

While the exhibition does not directly signal Alcantara’s entry into the fashion business, CEO Andrea Boragno was excited by its possibilities, as he concludes: 'This is something new and different from the usual uses for Alcantara, which is good, and the automotive industry is moving towards a more lifestyle approach – so this show offers a different standpoint and [perhaps] an opportunity.'

The idea was to test the high-tech luxury

The idea was to test the high-tech luxury faux suede material’s versatility away from its usual trimming role in cars, yachts, aeroplanes and furniture. Pictured: bags, by Cat Potter

(Image credit: TBC)

Open to adopting new materials in their work'

NJAL CEO and founder Stefan Siegel explains how it was important for any designers involved to be 'open to adopting new materials in their work'. Pictured: Jule Waibel's geometric, flower-like hanging objet d’art

(Image credit: TBC)

The best ten to fly to Italy to work with Alcantara’s designers

Siegel continues, 'They all had to present an idea and we picked the best ten to fly to Italy to work with Alcantara’s designers to then develop their ideas.' Pictured: sculptural dress, by Kay Kwok

(Image credit: TBC)

The results are free to view at Protein Studios’ ground-floor space

The results are free to view at Protein Studios’ ground-floor space in Shoreditch, and include a dramatically-structured coat with copper mesh interwoven into the Alcantara by Sadie Clayton, a beautiful geometric flower-like hanging objet d’art by Jule Waibel and an interlocking modular dress by Lazerian (pictured)

(Image credit: TBC)

A dress by Martine Jarlgaard

A dress by Martine Jarlgaard, with sleeve detail

(Image credit: TBC)

The fashion business

While the exhibition does not directly signal Alcantara’s entry into the fashion business, CEO Andrea Boragno was excited by its possibilities

(Image credit: TBC)

Something new and different from the usual uses

Boragno concludes, 'This is something new and different from the usual uses for Alcantara, which is good.' Pictured: dress by Sadie Clayton, neckline and sleeve detail

(Image credit: TBC)

INFORMATION

’Made in Italy, Designed in Britain’ is on view until 20 July. For more information, visit the Not Just a Label website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Protein Studios
31 New Inn Yard
London, EC2A 3EY

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Guy Bird is a London-based writer, editor and consultant specialising in cars and car design, but also covers aviation, architecture, street art, sneakers and music. His journalistic experience spans more than 25 years in the UK and global industry. See more at www.guybird.com (opens in new tab)