Fueled by the beginning of Italy's conquest to take over the fashion industry in the '60s, the country's superb textiles began to receive recognition by more than garment producers and became adored by a worldwide population of savvy fashionistas. Nonetheless, the quality and beauty of Italian textiles goes back much further than a few decades ago as Italy's fabric industry has been seen as a world standard since the Middle Ages and continues to this day.
Rather than outsourcing textile production to cheaper markets, these Italian materials are produced by a skilled workforce through nearly every stage of production from yarn spinning to garment and upholstery manufacturing. Traditionally, silks and wool were their focus but material producers also put the same level of dedication and craftsmanship into their blends, synthetics, cottons and new high-tech fabrics. There should be no question whether Italy's excellent fabrics have played a vital role in their emergence as a fashion powerhouse. Their textiles have proven practically impossible to reproduce and help give Italian clothes an unmatched elegance.
Luckily, DIY clothes makers and interior decorators can get their hands on Italian fabrics to create their own pieces. Though it's possible to purchase these materials online (and without much hassle), there is a lot to be said about feeling a fabric's quality glide gently between your fingers before making a purchase.
In New York there are a ton of fabric shops that offer Italian products; however, a couple seem to continuously stand out above the rest by offering some stunning materials:
Best for patterned brocades and suit or wool materials.
225 W 37th St., 3rd Floor
Best for nylon tulle, silks and hard-to-find textiles. Make sure to check out their Armani stretch satin.
525 7th Ave., 2nd Floor
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