MEC x Santoni for Juventus Shanghai Academy


From field to city, football apparel is more than just a uniform on the pitch with MEC.

Materials Experience Center is no stranger to activewear nor the professional athlete world. In the past, MEC’s Creative Director and co-founders of Studio Eva x Carola, Eva de Laat and Carola Leegwater and the team have worked alongside Nike, as well as with Lenzing and Woolmark for seamless yoga and cycling collections. Their latest venture for athleticwear? Juventus Shanghai Academy. The renowned football club is famous worldwide for their skill, victories, and discipline. They welcome fans and aspiring athletes to not only support the team in stadiums or from the comfort of their home but to also join their academy and improve in the world’s most famous sport like a pro. To do so, these young sport aficionados rely heavily on what they wear. 

At MEC, they’re highly familiar with activewear and the desired performance features needed depending on the sport or extracurricular activity. This attire should move with the wearer and should be made of a material that properly breathes, controls perspiration, compresses where needed, and most importantly — is lightweight. Therefore, the experts at MEC alongside Santoni tech engineers decided on a collection that ecompasses Juventus-class attitude through visual design, physical feel, and in-action experience.

This Juventus seamless collection consists of four pieces: a jersey, zipped hoodie, a pair of shorts and socks. The aesthetic inspiration for these come from the busy urban Shanghai vibe and its high contrast between city and nature. By transferring this concept onto training gear, the sleek and classy design shows off the football club’s west to east impact. MEC’s team narrowed down on making this collection with monochrome colors and a splash of gold — as this is a common hue that stands out when driving past temples and other city staples.

In order to truly capture Juventus’ identity as the biggest and top youth football academy, the MEC team, powered by Santoni technology, managed to convey this message via training attire; one of a kind.

Graphic direction for this activewear was planned to embody elements of Chinese culture whilst still including Juventus’ mascot, the zebra. In addition, stripes and fade-outs for the design were decided on so these would give a feeling of speed, comfort, and confidence. These elements were chosen to emphasize the west to east influence of the team and a field to city approach.

As for the structure direction of this athleticwear material; strong and textured fabric with breathable intricate patterns for mesh ventilation, were at the top of the list to achieve an enhanced athlete’s experience. After all, the ultimate goal for this collaboration was to empower athletes with confidence and technical capability when training and playing.

For the Juventus jersey, MEC prioritized the following performance features: lightweight, moisture-wicking, flexible fabric suitable for any weather condition. Meanwhile, the shorts were designed like a regular loose sports pair rather than as compression tights. These classic black shorts were developed with an enhanced shape for motion and zoned engineered fabric placements to give breathability and support where needed. The pair of socks on the other hand, are made of a fabric with a bit of compression and medium in thickness to keep them breathable. As we know, athletes train and play for a continuous amount of time, at least twice a week. Having a pair of socks that helps regulate comfort, heat, and perspiration is important since footballers’ feet, in this case, are always on the go. Last for this collection: the zipped hoodie, was made on the lighter end to be suitable for wearing in all seasons — encompassing properties of: enhanced fit, room for full range of motion and ideal for warm up or cool down post-game. The main purpose of this piece is for casual athleisure and not for playing in, therefore, performance functionality wasn’t the ultimate goal, instead it was the comfort and aesthetic look of the material.

Overall the Juventus Academy Shanghai seamless collection embodies a balanced and necessary combination of lightweight, breathable, moisture managing and anti-abrasion attributes. Additionally, this attire set is strong and long lasting with a diverse range of customization possibilities. It’s important to highlight that the MEC team and Santoni engineers, found a way to include the Juventus logo and jersey number with name lettering, on the clothing — that’s right, seamlessly assembled while the garments were being made. This all-in-one production is game changing as it avoids the pieces from moving on to a next stage for final detailing and finishing, ideal for personalization.

This partnership collection resulted in a classic black and white zebra fade-out look — it’s bold, iconic, and powerful; who Juventus as a team continues to be. For MEC, exploring and creating new materials to enhance the end-user is exactly what they’re there for. Though it is another sports collaboration under their belt, it is also another step towards providing an alternate and better solution to what we’re used to as consumers; in this case up and coming athletes. It’s safe to say that the Materials Experience Center is always open to work on long term solutions even within a small collection of classic essentials for diverse applications. In this instance, football apparel has proved to be more than just a uniform on the pitch.

Silk, Sleepwear, and Sustainability, Oh My!


How can we take advantage of the boom in sleepwear while keeping it sustainable?

Believe it or not, we spend about one third of our lives in bed. Whether sleeping, reading, or just chilling – a lot of our time is spent under our cozy covers. Sleep is known to stimulate better mental health and promote happiness, making it a key factor in self-care. That being said, we still frequently take for granted how important it is to create the perfect conditions for sleep. Not only is it important to keep in mind the fabric of the materials we are sleeping on, we should also be paying attention to what materials we are sleeping in. Breathable and hypoallergenic fabrics are ideal for us to go to sleep in. With more and more companies making the switch to hybrid or fully remote work, it comes as no surprise that people are spending increased time at home and, by extension, their beds. Market data shows that fast fashion brands are beginning to take an interest in sleepwear as well as loungewear and the market is projected to have some serious growth over the next two years. However, with fast fashion often comes unsustainable practices. Is it possible to take advantage of this boom while remaining as sustainable as possible?

Tencel, Studio Eva x Carola, MEC

It goes without saying that the past two years have shifted the way the average person works. More people have worked from home in the last couple of years than ever before due to the onset of Covid-19. Now, two years later, many employers are leaning into the fully remote workplace and giving employees the opportunity to work from home. Unsurprisingly, this has led to an uptick in demand for sleepwear and loungewear. As things continue in this vein, the trend in demand for at-home wear is expected to continue. Recent projections show that the sleepwear and loungewear markets are expected to grow by nearly $20B USD by 2024. Major fast fashion retailers are taking note and starting to invest a greater amount of sleepwear, increasing their inventory to include more variety as well. In the Style, a retailer from the UK, had a noticeable spike in their assortment of sleepwear which accounted for only 0.2% of their inventory in 2019 and jumped to 5.4% in 2021.

Now that we know the importance of what we wear when we go to sleep – what exactly should we be wearing when we go to bed? First we’ll take a look at what qualities we should be mindful of when trying to achieve optimal sleep. One key factor in your choice of fabric should be breathability – no one wants to wake up with their pajamas clinging to them, drenched in sweat. Another thing to pay attention to is the texture of your chosen material. You’ll want to go for something that is smooth, soft, and delicate on your skin. For special cases like those with sensitive skin, or who have asthma or allergies, you might have one more thing to consider when choosing your loungewear – is it hypoallergenic? These are just a few factors to think about when picking your perfect sleepwear. The 6 to 6 Collection, a collaboration between Tencel and Studio Eva x Carola, is a collection that takes into account these important considerations. Each piece in the collection is carefully crafted to meet the needs of the wearer from 6pm-6am. Designed in three phases, it includes sleepwear, bedding, activewear, and footwear that deliver important benefits to the wearer before, during, and after sleep. Phase One (Before Sleep) primarily focuses on themes of restoration, wholeness, and mindfulness. It has a sophisticated look and feel and features loose layering for comfort and multi-functionality. Phase Two (During Sleep) revolves around intention, awareness, beauty, and the feeling of being at home. It has a soft use of colour and muted tones to generate a calming effect. Phase Three (After Sleep) is made up of activewear, featuring ventilation designed into the fabric of the garments.

Tencel, Studio Eva x Carola, MEC

We’ve written previously about how fast fashion often leads to unsustainable practices. So does this mean that the interest of these large retailers in loungewear and sleepwear will spell out doom for our planet? Not necessarily. As it turns out, companies are taking a larger interest in sustainable manufacturing as well as investing in materials that have minimal environmental impact. For example, Victoria Secret’s Modal Sleepwear line is crafted with fibers extracted from naturally occurring beechwood in an environmentally responsible process. We know you must be thinking wood? Now that can’t be comfortable. But on the contrary, the resulting fabric is delicate and soft, just as sleepwear should be. Other common loungewear fabrics like wool and silk are 100% biodegradable as they are organic materials, so we can rest assured they won’t have a lasting impact on mother nature. As companies follow the sleepwear trend, it seems like they will take the sustainable route to manufacturing, which is good news for our planet. MEC aims to produce materials as sustainably as possible. And in addition to sustainability, we also focus on durability. Our seamless technology specializes in crafting long-lasting materials that are also lightweight. When you consider how sleep and loungewear are typically used daily and preferred to be lightweight and breathable, this makes seamless technology the obvious choice to use.

Tencel, Studio Eva x Carola, MEC

Following what has been a crazy couple of years, the future of fashion seems to be trending towards relaxation and comfort. The rise of importance of self-care has also led to us learning more about what kinds of materials we should be putting on our body to ensure prime sleep. Fortunately for the Earth, many of the best fabrics for us to lounge in are also eco-friendly, meaning added sustainability in our everyday wear. With the investment in sustainable manufacturing for loungewear, it stands to reason those other types of apparel will similarly see an increase in sustainability as well which is a boon for the environment.

Let us know if you would like to learn more about the collaboration

Nylstar: A Trailblazer in Textile Sustainability


Zero waste may be a huge goal, but Nylstar is taking major steps to make it a reality.

With nearly 8 billion people on Earth and still counting, it’s surprising to no one that we consume a ton. Perhaps even less surprising is that along with all this consumption, we also produce a lot of waste. As the planet continues to increase in population, the issue of waste and what to do with it also becomes more of a problem. How can we minimize our consumption of nonrenewable resources? And how can we minimize or even get rid of waste altogether? One company is making it their mission to find a solution to these problems. At tech company Nylstar, the goal is simple: initiate radical change in the textile industry by using advanced hydrogen technology. To find out more about exactly what this all means, we sat down with Nylstar’s head of marketing and customer relations, Zuzana Vaskova.

Image: Nylstar

In order to get into how Nylstar dives into sustainability, we need to take a step back and look at their hydrogen technology. Ms. Vaskova notes that their top seller is actually hydrogen yarn, a super soft and breathable yarn with natural stretch. Additionally, it also has hydrating properties which make it excellent for use with garments that have close contact with the skin. But what is so special about their hydrogen tech? For starters, their technology helps with a major environmental impact issue that the textile industry often faces – microplastic generation. Textile products create a large amount of microplastics as byproducts of the production process. These microplastics wind up being released over the duration of product use and washes which in turn pollutes the air and water, harming wildlife. With hydrogen tech, they are able to create high performance fabrics with absolutely zero microplastic release that are 100% recyclable. By preventing their garments from releasing microplastics, Nylstar ensures maximum protection for the environment during their production process. Another problem textile manufacturers run into is water consumption during the dyeing process. In addition to their hydrogen technologies, Nylstar has also developed a sustainable waterless dyeing technology called Meryl ecodye. Meryl ecodye ensures high quality color while protecting the environment by reducing waste of natural resources.

When asked about how we can boost sustainability in the textile industry, Ms. Vaskova replied that the focus for Nylstar was creating 100% recyclable garments to close the loop from production to wear. Often even though a garment is made from recycled material, the finished product itself is not recyclable and we wind up back at square one. As noted earlier, Nylstar’s yarn generates zero microplastics which means that garments produced using this yarn are able to be recycled. As if this weren’t enough, they also have their line of Meryl recycled yarn which reuses post-production waste to bring it a new life in the form of a super sustainable fabric. With Nylstar’s Meryl yarn, consumption of natural resources is nonexistent. They have recently started a new collecting and recycling center where they can revive your waste by turning them into new garments. Once they collect your used materials, they shred it so that it can be spun into new fabric. After that, it is made into apparel and ready for you to wear. When you’re all done wearing the garment and ready to recycle, it can be sent back to the Nylstar collection center to begin the process again and reincarnate into a new yarn, closing the loop.

Image: Nylstar

At MEC, we are big proponents of incorporating sustainability in our practices, so we love using Nylstar yarn when we have the opportunity. Our seamless technology is designed to produce textiles that are both durable and lightweight in nature. In Ms. Vaskova’s own words, Nylstar’s yarns work perfectly in conjunction with our seamless/circular knitting technology. The seamless garments that result from the collaboration of MEC and Nylstar have high moisture management, natural stretch, and odor control. All in all, making for a garment that is not only pleasant for the wearer but eco-friendly as well. We have used Nylstar yarn in some of our garments such as loungewear and athleticwear. The natural stretch provided by the hydrogen technology makes for highly flexible and super comfy apparel for the wearer plus it allows for a 100% recyclable solution – thanks to the natural stretch, Nylstar avoids the use of elastane thus ensuring the recyclability of the garment. In addition to cozy new attire, you get to rest assured that you are contributing to absolutely minimal environmental impact.

These days with fashion being right at our fingertips, it gets increasingly difficult to minimize your impact on the environment. During the production process, textile factories can use up a lot of water. Nylstar provides a sustainable alternative with their hydrogen technologies which allow for the manufacturing of yarns with zero water consumption. In addition to zero water consumption, yarns produced using their hydrogen tech also boast zero microplastic generation, no use of chemicals, and they are 100% recyclable. To further commit to sustainability, they have a new collecting and recycling center where old garments can find new life after being shredded and spun into new yarn. MEC has previously collaborated with Nylstar to create a collection for renowned football academy Juventus Shanghai. The jerseys and shorts from the Juventus Academy Shanghai collection were woven using Nylstar yarn. The use of Nylstar yarn resulted in athleticwear that is strong and breathable, the perfect gear to enhance an athlete’s experience and boost their confidence as well as technical ability. In the future we hope to continue collaborating with innovative and sustainable entities like Nylstar.

Could you be the next innovator to work with us?

Connect with MEC to find out more about how we can work together to bring your ideas to life –

From Yarn & Machine Up: The Future of Savvy Textile Making Has Arrived


MEC is not reinventing the wheel, it’s reinventing the future.

Material Experience Center (MEC) aims to find user-centric material solutions — that last and perform above expectations — for designers and brands alike. We highly encourage collaboration as our creative hub is a catalyst for textile innovation and future reinvention. The path we take to arrive at our material destination isn’t just done by simply mapping out our design and creating numerous prototypes for testing — that’s the traditional and less sustainable way. Instead, our product development process begins by selecting the right fibers and the adequate technology to bring swatches to life first. We call this procedure Yarn and Machine Up.

The reason why we take this reverse approach to the traditional way of developing products comes from tailoring products and materials to the specific end use and needs of the consumer. By selecting the right yarns, we are able to create products that are built for the value of the user or wearer. Value that encompasses comfort, aesthetic, function, sustainability and more. When something is of more value to you, you will make sure it lasts a long time — hence, making these materials sustainable in place of acquiring more down the line without having to.

We think it is savvy to choose your yarns first as if they’re your ingredients; this gives you an idea of what your final material will end up looking like, feeling, and what performance properties it offers in relation to what this textile will be applied for. This fiber pre-selection helps diminish material wastage since we’ve already done our deep research on the yarn and machine possibilities. By extending and applying our understanding via testing and experimenting, we further on the case to create alternative approaches.

At MEC, we have created our very own Material Library — a material, design and knowledge platform that showcases how we combine products, samples, yarns, and design. In addition, we elaborate on our machine technology — providing opportunities for designers, manufacturers and consumers to acquire knowledge, get inspired and brainstorm how to enhance the industry. Having access to the Material Library gives you insight on how your next product can be its best version. This is maintained as we collaborate and create innovative solutions by applying the Yarn and Machine Up product development process.

Post-desired fiber selection, choosing the adequate machine isn’t simple. However, MEC experts in the industry — both designers and technical engineers — orient you on which would be best. Though, the path to getting to your final prototype isn’t linear, pre-determining your yarns and machine will allow you more time to explore textile possibilities with what you’ve chosen rather than making test swatches that aren’t close to what you are looking for and need.

Product and fabric examples of our Yarn and Machine Up development process can be found in our Material Library as previously mentioned. For some insight, MEC recently collaborated with Juventus Academy Shanghai for a four piece football uniform set. As it is known, Juventus is a well known European football club made up of excellent athletes that constantly train and of course, perspire. For this partnership, we selected fibers that possessed the following performance features: moisture control, versatility, second-skin feel, breathability and quick-drying to name some. Some of these garments were created on the same machine and others on different ones — still, all made seamless in one go. Due to choosing yarns and machines before designing and fabricating, we were able to play with these fiber qualities and combinations. In addition, the jersey, hoodie, and shorts for this small collection have the Juventus logo already integrated. While, the pair of socks already is an all in one production with toe-closing — a traditional detail finishing that is no longer necessary. For more prototype collaborations you can visit our Material Library and Projects Section.

In conclusion, our reverse approach allows us to create new materials from scratch while inspiring potential discoveries regarding materials and design processes. Yarn and Machine Up allows materials to reach their purpose and exceed expectations. We are always working on finding possible directions to recreate what is already existing with an innovative touch.

Seamless Merino Wool Cycling Kit


Discover the new prototype collection of women’s cycling garments that illustrate the full potential of Merino wool technical seamless performance apparel.

When combined with the latest technological advancements in yarn development and knitting technology, Merino wool provides garments with superior comfort, durability and performance for the modern cyclist.

Innovative knitwear designer studio Studio Eva x Carola designed the collection with Südwolle Group Merino wool yarns knitted on a Santoni knitting machine.

The fabrics in the collection utilise Merino wool’s superior softness, breathability, moisture management, elasticity and odour resistance.

Seamless cycling collection for women

The collection comprises a Merino wool cycling bib, jersey, arm-warmers and socks, that together create a complete, layered kit for ultimate cycling performance.

Learn more and see the full collection at Woolmark