In 2012 Rapha initiated this inspiring factory visit to Italian knitting company Manifattura Italiana Tessuti Indemagliabili or in short Miti shot by the talented English photographer Gavin Karl Campbell. Miti has been an innovator in the knitting industry since its foundation in 1931 and is located in the Northern Italian town of Urgnano, not far from Bergamo. The first and foremost innovation made by the company was the nationwide introduction of wrap knitting techniques, which allows for the construction of durable and stretchy fabrics, introduced by founder Vincenzo Polli through his fascination with the technology and his decision to acquire the German-made machines which would carry it out; establishing Italy’s premier fabric mill. Today the raw fabric is milled six hours away in Hungary, near the border with Slovenia, close enough to monitor total consistency in the highest possible quality after which processing, dyeing and finishing takes place in Urgnano by this major supplier for almost all the cycling brands.
Reputation is everything and to get the reputation you need to have consistency and quality.
Miti now a days supplies a range of fabrics to everyone from small niche companies to big name players like Rapha. It is perhaps best known for its Roubaix fabrics. Superroubaix and Thermoroubaix have been developed for the most severe cycling conditions, hence the Paris-Roubaix reference in its name name. These Soft, comfortable and durable brush-back fabrics are an intrinsic part of Miti’s catalogue, as a leading product in the cycling fabric market since the 1980s, superseding the use of wool and acrylic, making it very likely the best of its kind on the market.
We are also fascinated by the images of Miti’s chemical lab where the colors and dyestuffs are mixed from beakers and test tubes, then sampled on small pieces of greige fabric. They try to simulate the industrial process, matching the colors reference supplied to them by the designers and then applying it to the appropriate fabric. When the demanding answers to all requests are found in the lab Miti uses two different processes for dyeing, depending on the construction and fibres of the fabric. Some are steady in the machine and the water and chemicals are pumped through. These look like oversized washing machines. Other fabrics are rolled and whisked in other vertical barrels more reminiscent of ice cream makers.
We love this insightful and aesthetic look behind the scenes of this silent innovator out of the world of cycling.
For the full inspirational story see here.
For the full series and more work by Gavin Karl Campbell see here.