Rewiring fashion for the future
Stockholm-based fashion designer Naim Josefi incorporates metal wire in his collections to promote a more sustainable fashion industry.
Shortly after graduating from well-renowned Beckmans College of Design, Naim came to fame when he won the first edition of Swedish Project Runway in 2012. After working with different fashion projects, he started his own brand niched in avant-garde design. His futuristic aesthetics stem from his vision to create a more sustainable fashion industry.
“My inspiration is drawn from the symbiosis between nature and technology.
I am curious as to how far we can push the innovation of material development for sustainable purposes,” says Naim.
Sustainability is one of the cornerstones of Naim’s core business. This applies not only to the material used, but also to the design. As an example, Naim uses a new design process for denim which requires 80% less water consumption than ordinary methods.
“The fashion industry uses many materials which have a negative impact on the environment, like cotton. As an industry, we must think more sustainably as every little improvement can make a real difference for the future,” explains Naim.
And the yarn used in clothes is not an exception. This is why Naim’s choice fell on metal when he looked for new ways of creating sustainable garments for the future.
“Metal is a circular material. It can be recycled and reused indefinitely. In fact, every time you melt it down, it becomes even more durable,” explains Naim.
Finding a supplier with the capacity to develop and produce a metal wire for clothes making was a challenge. The wire needed to have the right properties; fine and flexible enough to create comfortable, wearable clothes but also strong and durable enough not to break in a high-speed industrial sewing machine.
Metal is a circular material. It can be recycled and reused indefinitely.
Naim found his metal wire supplier in Kanthal.
“When Naim approached us, we had no previous experience from working with fashion,” says Peter Gillström, Expert Wire Technology at Kanthal.
“Even if we come from a long history of producing fine metal wire, it has commonly been a thicker wire as it is usually used for home appliances or industrial furnaces. We had to ask ourselves whether or not we could do it, but we are always up for a challenge.”
The undertaking proved to be successful. Kanthal developed a new, fine blue metal wire for the purpose with only 0.10 mm in nominal diameter. The wire is a composition of elements which doesn’t break in sewing, weaving or knitting machines.
Another challenge presented itself when Naim asked for a different color of the wire. While metal wire normally has a yellow or blue layer depending on its alloy contents and heat treatment, Naim requested another nuance of blue or metal colored wire. Peter and his team at Kanthal put their heads together and came up with a solution to change the color.
“It has been a fun development work trying to get a new color of the wire in this thin dimension,” says Peter.
Naim is pleased with the outcome, as well.
“I feel honored and privileged to work with Kanthal. I am thankful to share their experience, expertise and resources to create new and sustainable solutions for the planet,” he says.
Both the metal and fashion industries are enthusiastic about the unique collaboration and future possibilities of using metal wire in garments. Naim’s metal-incorporated designs have been displayed at seminars in the steel industry, as well as at trade shows in the fashion industry, and the reaction is unanimous.
“They’re pleasantly surprised that it works so well.” says Naim.
“This is the great thing about innovation. Sustainable solutions create new and endless opportunities. The future with metal in fashion is looking very promising.”