We met Filippo Clemente in his “nest” in Altamura, to talk about the project Pecore Attive. Enchants the seraphic way of telling while comparing with a slow but solid and determined tortoise.
Pecore Attive by Filippo Clemente in Altamura
He, who defines himself as a craftsman of wool, wanted in his laboratory, unique in its kind, to resume an ancient tradition, that linked to wool, produced by Altamurana and Gentile di Puglia sheep. So he created Pecore Attive business project, to revive the entire life cycle of the Apulian wool, following all the stages from breeding to shearing, from textile enhancement to research and study of the product.
At the base of all his association with the young Altamura breeder Donato Mercadante who carries on the farm started by his great-grandfather in 1945 that today has 600 sheep, which provide the wool for the exclusive yarns and fabrics produced with the Pecore Attive brand. But it makes us curious to know more: we have witnessed a mowing operation and from what it turns out it is difficult to imagine such elegant and sophisticated products being made. Above all because – Filippo tells us – until recently the wool produced by our sheep was used only to fill mattresses, in construction or, even, pulped!
Today the wool arrives in his laboratory after a cleaning treatment with natural soaps, then is carded in its natural color, creamy white, and then spun by hand or felted in the mills of Biella and Lanciano.
The yarns and fabrics thus obtained, with an imperfect charm and a strong territorial connotation due to the contamination of vegetal parts that tell the origin, are then used to create innovative accessories such as slippers, shoes, bags, backpacks, bow ties and even lamps, with the participation of young fashion designers.
Because the “reason” of Philip, rather than the sale of what he produces, is training: he continuously travels to teach in professional institutes and participate in design workshops, also collaborating in international projects. He speaks to us with pride of “TransHumance”, the project carried out with the Polytechnic of Bari, with whom he has been collaborating for four years, and with the professors Rossana Carullo and Rosa Pagliarulo, that at the Young Talent Show in New York arrived first on a good 256 institutions from all over the world.
Among the latest “conquests”, Angelo Inglese has fallen in love with the unpublished and exclusive carded yarns and the fabrics of Pecore Attive which he used for an extraordinary collection of coats presented in January this year at the 93rd edition of Pitti Uomo, historic kermesse dedicated to men’s fashion.
The current bet? The first sheep wool tactile spectacles, which can be customized and matched to the dress and which have been immediately successful, winning the award for innovation at the Oscar Green national competition of Coldiretti in the categories «Doing Network» and «Agri-You».
But as you will have understood, Filippo is one who never stops and it is already difficult to make an appointment with him as he is always around: to convey the value of his wool, rich in lanolin that makes it water-repellent and contaminated with vegetable fibers that characterize it as unique, as well as to continue hes work of design and research.
Called to Milan to attend a convention on the 4.0 industry, he conquered the audience emphasizing, with his disarming look, that in certain sectors, despite the advent of futuristic machinery, imperfection is still important and that even if the frames automated and digital do not need the hand of man, this along with the brain, is essential to do the unique products obtained with natural fibers in which each material tells a place.
The future? Making a collection of hats, for which he has already made contact with the Tuscan handicraft company Falcus in Montevarchi, one of the very few Italian producers of high-end “formed hats”.
The project that is closest to his heart? The direct management of the entire production chain, from the fleece to the finished fabric, here in his Altamura. The first steps have already been taken with the detection of an old spinning mill in which to transfer the whole process, including those that are now carried out elsewhere, with considerable savings that will affect the final product and also with the creation of new jobs that they wink at tradition, but will use modern techniques and designs.
So where can you find products with the Pecore Attive brand? Will soon be activated an online sales network, but for someone who “touches his eyes and looks with his hands”, as Filippo says, the physical store is irreplaceable and he, for a family matter, since the father is tailor and the workshop was the old shop, would prefer the tailors and their unique and exclusive approach with each customer.
However, take a look at the www.pecoreattive.it website: the story of the project told through the drawings made by Filippo himself is very nice!
Via Cavour, 23 Altamura (Ba)
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