Vitelli is creating colourful, experimental knits with deadstock yarn

One of Milan’s rising stars, Mauro Simionato of Vitelli finds inspiration for his sustainable, upcycled knitwear in Italian nightlife

Two people sitting in chairs wearing colourful knitwear pieces by Vitelli
Katie wears top, €755; top (worn underneath), €595; trousers, €980, all by Vitelli. Wilfred wears jumpsuit, €885, by Vitelli
(Image credit: Photography by Grace Difford, fashion by Nicola Neri)

As seen in the March 2023 Style Issue of Wallpaper*, meet six rising stars – including Vitelli, featured here – tearing up the catwalks of the Milan fashion scene with a fresh energy and creative spirit. 

Given that the Italians have always set sartorial standards, it comes as no surprise that one of the country’s most exciting rising stars is redefining knitwear as we know it. Vitelli, a genderless label known for innovation and artistry, has pushed the benchmark of sustainable manufacturing since it first emerged in 2017. Founded by Mauro Simionato, Vitelli uses textiles it has created from discarded yarns and selvedges that have been handpicked from deadstock fabrics. These are then woven into new materials at Spazio Vitelli, the brand’s workshop and creative headquarters based in a former knitwear factory in central Milan. 

Vitelli’s accomplishments are made possible thanks to the creative community that it holds at its core. ‘I conceived Vitelli as an Italian “bottega”-inspired practice, where the artistic and artisanal activity becomes collective,’ says Simionato of the brand’s philosophy. ‘The body of work transcends the individual expression of every single member of the team, and converges in a wider collective aesthetic under my creative direction. The fact we create from deadstock and upcycled fabrics is a must-do, though the process and techniques we use to regenerate waste are unique. For us, sourcing always starts from the threads. Finding deadstock from knitting labs, yarn spinners, and deadstock re-sellers [is like] a seasonal harvest. Since we create from what we source, the available seasonal leftovers dictate the design of our collections.’

‘Finding deadstock from knitting labs, yarn spinners, deadstock re-sellers [is like] a seasonal harvest’

Mauro Simionato, Vitelli

Vitelli’s experiments with the remnants of the Italian fashion industry are wide-ranging. Its proprietary ‘Doomboh’ textile is a needle-punched, slightly felted knitted fabric that exudes a marbled, multi-dimensional effect. Other recent trials include ‘felting panels of knits onto denim swatches, which we dissect from vintage jeans leftovers’ and ‘using a vintage hand-weaving machine to create a fabric using leftover wool and tea-bag waste turned into paper stripes’. Simonato adds, ‘We’ve also treated fine-gauge deadstock linen panels with Sardinian cork industry leftovers, blowing cork powder on them (Nanocork technology) to create a sort of knit-corduroy which is all-natural, sustainable and also water-resistant.’

The highly complex results are perfectly juxtaposed by Vitelli’s embrace of a youthful, club-inspired aesthetic. Rooted in the Italian Cosmic Youth club scene of the 1980s, intricate, oversized silhouettes, often brandishing seductive hoods and cowl necklines, exude a lived-in and languid quality that underscores both the finesse and durability of the textiles.

‘The narrative behind the brand may be about youth culture, but the products speak the language of couture,’ says Simionato. ‘We create our own fabrics from deadstock, leftover and end-of-cone yarns, and by using mechanical machinery in unconventional manners. That makes us fabric makers and fashion designers at the same time.’

Models: Katie Johnson at Models 1, Wilfried and Adeline at Xdirectn, Alexander Carey-Morgan at Tomorrow Is Another Day. Casting: Svea Casting Hair: Tosh at Streeters. Make-up: Jimmy Owen Jones at Julian Watson Agency using Dior Forever Foundation and Capture Totale Super Potent Serum. Manicure: Cherrie Snow Set design: Lizzy Gilbert. Photography assistants: Max Glatzhofer, Benedict Moore. Fashion assistant: Stoyan Chuchuranov. Set assistant: Aliou Janha Hair assistant: Leanne Millar.

A version of this story appears in the March 2023 Style Issue of Wallpaper*, available now in print, on the Wallpaper* app on Apple iOS, and to subscribers of Apple News +. Subscribe to Wallpaper* today

Pei-Ru Keh is a former US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru held various titles at Wallpaper* between 2007 and 2023. She reports on design, tech, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru took a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars, actively seeking out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.

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