Valerio Leone – Head of Fabrics• 2 minAlexandra Engdahl
After perfecting the art of fabric design from fellow weavers, Valerio Leone worked for one of our suppliers before joining Eton. Today, the ability to visualize and understand yarns and fabrics has made him one of the industry’s most sought-after specialists.
How did you learn your craft?
My family have always been in textiles. I remember even as a child that I tried to cut and sew a sweater for myself at my parents sewing mill. Later, I went to the technical school for the textile industry. Got my first job as a weaver and climbed up the ranks in the mill until I became a designer.
How did you choose it? Why do you love it?
A historical weaving mill close to my hometown was looking for someone new and I was there! Weavers are wonderful people. If you have a humble approach, they will teach you all the secrets of the art that you won’t find in any book. I really loved learning fabric making from them.
How come you specialize in shirting fabrics?
I wanted to be able to play with yarns, colors, graphics, and weaving – and shirting involves all these aspects. A shirt can be classic, sporty, formal and fashion so working with these fabrics offers a lot of variety.
How do you create a new design?
Ideas usually comes to me in my mind. I can be inspired by a dream vision, I start tasting the air, the colors, and when I see the people in this dream, they always wear the right fabrics. After I visualize this, choosing yarns, graphics and colors comes naturally. Today, we use mood boards with images to visualize. I just create fabrics according to what I can see there, it’s easy!
What kind of fabric excites you personally?
All fabrics made using a blend of natural fibers. Take some linen, wool, and cotton, weave them together and just let them take their natural shrinkage and convolutions – the fabric just comes to life! I consider all my fabric designs like my little children. In Italy we say that a child is the most beautiful in his mother’s eyes. Personally, I really love hemp. It’s a humble fiber that used to be considered as poor and controversial. But with new technology you can create a superfine yarn and mix it with cotton and silk to create a unique luxurious aspect. Kind of a fairytale…