SANTO TIRSO RESIDENCY: GIERLINGS VELPOR
Gierlings Velpor gave us the closest insight into their manufacturing process as we were allowed to walk amongst the weaving machines and factory floor to see for ourselves how each fabric is made. Specializing in velvet, artificial fur, 3D fabrics and blended cottons for fashion, home furnishings and auto motives, Gierlings Velpor supplies fabric for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Armani, Max Mara, Paul Smith, Zara and Versace. Producing mostly winter textiles, they export 95% of everything they make with Europe being their largest market. Patterns are created in house by the team, with digital printing facilities available and designs capable of being made as soon as 6 months in advance - as opposed to 2 years as it has been previously. Market reports are created to ensure accuracy when producing fabric for different locations, and inspiration is taken from trend reports, museums and galleries. For the jacquard designed for use in auto motives, the fabric is woven then given a flame retardant finish - the chemicals have been improved following sustainability guidelines - and over time the company has noticed the expectations of customers increasing and demand for decoration higher. For the jacquard weaving machines (which are visible in the images below) each yarn reel is changed by hand, which can be up to 4000. Gierlings can produce pony hair using a specialist machine, and any velvet they make is suspended when posted to ensure the surface isn’t spoiled.
I think the photos from this visit are the most satisfying, all the yarns suspended together look like art pieces.