THE FABRIC OF MODERN SOCIETY

Loro Piana’s new range of jersey textiles is a high-tech improvement on a form of knitting — though fear not, not the variety associated with rocking chairs, unwanted Christmas gifts, and amicable Olympic divers.

Capolavoro double jersey.

The rudimentaries of many ancient human innovations — from animal husbandry to timekeeping via beaded jewellery and blacksmithing — have been fixed ever since they were conceived. Like certain tangible inventions (the paperclip, the mousetrap and the bicycle, to name three), in terms of the principles by which they function, they have always pretty much left the patent office alone to deal with the fuzzier brushstrokes of human ingenuity. Other progressive pursuits — automotive engineering, navigational equipment, medicine and the distribution of text all spring to mind — improve, fundamentally, at a dizzying rate, and seem destined always to do so. The creation of textiles is most firmly in the latter camp.

Weaving began with Neolithic Homo sapiens stretching, twisting and lacing together plant fibres, and has since undergone constant augmentation, with more and more elaborate methods of vertical threads (warp) with horizontal threads (weft) coming into being; the earliest examples of the requisite machinery is from 4400BC Egypt, while horizontal, foot-operated looms appear around the 11th century, a few hundred years before the Industrial Revolution and its flying shuttles, spinning jennys, power looms, spinning mules and cotton gins. The innovators from that era would never have anticipated the vocabulary doing the rounds in the boardrooms of mills in Bradford and Biella (‘air texturising’, ‘Cloud-based pattern data’, ‘thread fluctuation control’) today.

Published

November 2021

Tags

Also read