SANTO TIRSO RESIDENCY: A SAMPAIO & FILHOS
I found the tour of A Sampaio & Filhos particularly exciting as they have a vigorous testing process of their performance textiles and their show room looks like it was designed in the 1980’s. As suppliers of knitted fabrics for sports and protective wear, tractability is of high importance and continuous efforts within the company for more sustainable day to day operations is in process, including the installment of solar panels for electricity and the collection of waste metal.
Yarn is carefully sourced from Belgium, Italy and Portugal where the technical team make the designers requests into a reality when it comes to performance features. It was noted that when they source wool yarn it is ensured that it is taken from non-mulesed sheep with the natural oil already removed. A separate department for flat knitting machines offers the production of ribbed collars and trims. Once the fabric has been woven the dying process is outsourced and 3 - 4 different partners are used to achieve different results, before returning to the A Sampaio & Filhos lab for testing and close inspection. The facilities for this include a daylight colour checking machine (didn’t catch the official name) which I was unaware existed, which every fabric is put under to access the tone finish. Interestingly standard light bulbs differ in England -probably due to our consistent cloud. Other machinery includes colour fast to sweat (how the dye will bleed when in contact with moisture), a thermocentre which tests how much dye will migrate in heat, a pill test machine for friction, a snagging test (how the fabric reacts when caught on spikes), and various wash tests which access the effect when different fabrics are washed with one another.