SANTO TIRSO RESIDENCY: LMA LEANDRO MANUEL ARAÙJO
The final factory tour of the residency, we were welcomed by Filipa at LMA - Leandro Manuel Araújo, S.A. located in Rebordões. Specialists in woven and knitted textiles, the fabrics are made on site with various treatments being added on request such as anti-bacterial, quick-drying, UV and anti-static. There is a lab available to do extensive testing and as they primarily work with plastic fibres, they are greatly aware of sustainability and the impact the fabrics may have - they believe improvements begin at LMA and not further down the line. Additionally, they only work with suppliers that can guarantee traceability and each process uses bluesign approved yarns, chemicals and oils. Rather than showing collections, progression is made each day with individual projects on the go, including currently with Puma. For independent designers, the fabric minimum is 300m and printing/dying is outsourced with nearby factories - a common process I’ve found out from the majority of Portugal fabric weavers.
The building itself was really impressive, and was once a spinning plant during the 1950’s. The large weaving area is downstairs, whilst the lab, office and design rooms are upstairs. Each department works together to create each material with a lot of ongoing communication. As well as sports fabrics, materials are made for industries such as the military, furniture, automotive and hospitals. We were shown a selection of fabrics, some had scent woven into the material - scratch n sniff esc - whilst one in particular caught everyone’s attention which had a heat responsive design (see video below) that meant the print would disappear when in contact with heat and reappear once cooled, this process could also be designed to work for water so could give swimwear two different looks.