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Santoni and Lenzing Collaborate on Seamless 3-D Knitted Denim Footwear, Accessory Capsule

Santoni S.P.A. and The Lenzing Group will introduce a den/IM footwear concept and 3-D “super performing” backpack at next month’s Munich Fabric Start trade fair in Germany.

Santoni is a pioneer in seamless knitting technology and the Lenzing is well known for creating high-quality sustainable fibers, so the capsule is as much about new technology as it is about introducing new designs.

“Our collaboration with Santoni clearly demonstrates the creative designs that result when exceptional performance fibers combine with industry-leading seamless technology,” Tricia Carey, Lenzing’s director of global business development for denim, said. “The shoe and accessories categories are natural extensions of our apparel applications and I am excited to see the other new directions we can explore based on these innovative products.”

Lenzing is the producer of the popular Tencel Lyocell fibers that are working their way into high fashion. Lenzing crafts these fibers using renewable wood sources from company-managed natural forests and the final product is produced through an environmentally-friendly process that reuses 99 percent of the waste involved. Notably, Lenzing Tencel fibers will also degrade naturally in almost any condition, closing the loop without additional effort from consumers.

Santoni, on the other hand, calls itself the inventor of the “third-millennium shoe” and regularly launches new seamless knitting technology. Santoni’s technology is capable of manufacturing seamless uppers that then can be directly attached to a sole. Its production of a seamless, 3-D-made backpack constructed from Lenzing fibers registers as the firm’s first foray into the accessory market.

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“This new den/IM knit capsule project captures the most important features of our technology—versatility, sustainability, and technical performance,” Patrick Silva, marketing manager at Santoni, said. “In the past, we focused mainly on apparel. Today, we look forward to the future with its unlimited potential to introduce 3-D performance in completely new markets such as footwear and accessories.”

Santoni created a knitting machine specifically for this project, called the X MACHINE, that uses a “revolutionary” Intarsia system to create seamless 3-D patterns for footwear. Shoes made with the X MACHINE have a production time of only “5-7 minutes per piece” and an unlimited number of patterns and combinations are possible using the fully electronic mechanism.

“Especially for shoes, moisture management and breathability are very important criteria, as they contribute to a good microclimate in the shoe,” Birgit Schnetzlinger, Lenzing’s business manager for footwear, said. “The more components are made with Tencel Lyocell fibers, the better the performance, and also the better for our environment.”

For the 3-D super performing backpack, Santoni used a MECMOR, the only existing knitting machine capable of needle-shifting movement, also known as racking. This production process also boasts a quick turnaround speed and is capable of large production quantities when operating at full capacity. Perhaps most important, the simplified manufacturing process leaves behind a negligible amount of fabric scraps and waste.

The designs will be displayed at the fair’s Santoni/Lenzing partnership booth from Sept. 4-6.