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A digital ecosystem to connect the textile-knitwear manufacturing system with future design talents


25 November 2022 — 2 minutes read

Con-text is a project introduced by the research groups Knitdesign.polimi and ImagisLab of the Design Department of Politecnico di Milano, with the aim of analyzing, understanding, and returning Design-oriented solutions to connect young creative talents to the rich Made in Italy Textile-Knitwear manufacturing sector.

In the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) the Italian Government underlines the importance of creating, updating, and training specific skills for the innovation of the Italian industry, engaging in the relaunch of active labor policies, with the aim of tackling delays and historical problems in the relationship between education and work.

Today, within the Italian Made in Italy production, the design of Knitwear is grafted by representing companies of a different nature, including spinners, knitwear factories, brands and consulting firms. For this reason, the Knitwear Designer is no longer just someone able to "design" something, but it emerges the need to train a professional who knows the upstream and downstream processes of the product creation.

The project Con/text was born from the first results of the PhD thesis “Designing Knit Designers” which traced the profile of the Knit Designers and their skills; on the other hand, the research practice experimented with the WTDT project, which conducted listening and needs analysis activities, with the aim of activating a dialogue between future professionals and companies in the communication and marketing sectors, also identifying the main weaknesses of the stakeholders involved.

The observation of the dynamics of relationship and communication between companies and students introduced during the Final Synthesis Workshops in Fashion and Communication Design, have generated various results highlighting how strategic it is to collaborate, even during the education phase, in order to bring demand and offer closer together.

The objective of the research is, therefore, on multiple levels: the first, to make young talents aware of the manufacturing reality and of the brands that offer job opportunities in various fields, from the creative one to the more technical one, including those related to consultancy, marketing, and communication. A second level, to increase the attractiveness of companies and create the right space for growth for these talents and their creative and technical skills, suitable for guiding the innovation of processes and products.

The research project aims at innovating educational contents, identifying communication channels between young professionals and companies in order to create a more direct path with the aim of defining a system of physical and digital connections (digital ecosystem), creating an awareness-raising process for companies that activates the student-company bond. The same will function as a "showcase for talents" available to companies: a photograph of typical profiles with specific characteristics that companies can draw on.

Finally, Con-text aims at generating a network, a virtuous short circuit, to ensure that the work field is not an unknown territory; textile-knitwear today is rediscovered as a sector in which the culture of "know-how", the soul of a modern and contemporary work, deals with products capable of describing the here and now using, in large part, traditional techniques inserted within an industrial sector in full technological upgrading.

Project Coordinator:
Giovanni Maria Conti - Associate Professor
Members of the Research Team:
Mariana Ciancia - Researcher (RTD/B)
Martina Motta - Researcher (RTD/A)
Francesca Piredda - Associate Professor
Beatrice Zagatto - Research Fellow