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Apparel label Napapijri wants to question and, ultimately, improve the way we live in cities with its new technical line of digitally knitted urban futurewear garments known as Ze-Knit. To celebrate the unveiling of the radical new collection, Napapijri introduced it through Futurehood—a concept space held during the world-renowned Milan Design Week that hosted a six-day program of talks, workshops, and performances that explored concepts around the cities of the future.

Ze-Knit is born from "an encyclopedia of practices, technologies, solutions, and emotions," according to Napapijri. What that means practically is a collection of 19 monochrome jackets, trousers, sweatshirts, and even a jumpsuit. The apparel incorporates various innovations for hygiene, waterproofing, and breathability with textiles digitally knitted for warmth, moisture wicking, and flexibility.

Digital knitting could potentially change the apparel industry just like 3D printing will soon change product design and manufacturing. The process of digital knitting revolutionizes the way that garments are made allowing for functionalities and benefits to be placed where the body needs it most. In the not too distant future, Napapijri envisions this technology to pave the way for mass customization where every item is designed, made to order, and delivered to the end consumer. Each Ze-Knit item could be as individual as its wearer.

The entire project ties into Napapijri’s “Make it Better” philosophy—a commitment to conceive and produce high performing technical garments but minimize the environmental impact.  Ze-Knit therefore acts as a worthy response to questions of resource usage, over-production, and waste—central issues of debate in today’s global garment industry. Ze-Knit’s digital design and production method simplifies the design process and, in turn, reduces waste by up to 30%.

These futuristic concepts were gathered and introduced under Napapijri’s Futurehood project—a space for talks, performances, workshops, as well as an interactive digital installation, all held during Milan Design Week. Broken down into three elements, the Futurehood space hosted the Murmur Wall—a light installation created by San Francisco’s Future Cities Lab, fashioned from metal and digital lights, and which tapped into the voices of the community present at Milan Design Week. The Murmur Wall acted as a visual representation of the connectivity between cities and neighborhoods that pulled social media posts from the surrounding area and displayed them digitally in the form of messages and lights.

Talks from 12 creators, including visionary minds such as Stefano Boeri, Alessandro Guerriero, Rachaporn Choochuey, Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tesanovic, took place within Futurehood as part of the space's FutureLab component. These inspirational talks were then transferred from the physical to the digital realm via broadcast on LiveRoom, hosted on Napapijri's Facebook page—all of which you can watch here.

As part of the six-day event, Napapijri's #Futurehood space included the Futurehood Atlas, an installation projected across Milan Design Week that transformed the relationships and connections made between people into topographical lines for a new (digital) atlas. Connections were driven from calls-to-action across Milan Design Week, as well as and Napapijri's Instagram and Facebook pages. You can still contribute to the Atlas here.

The inaugural Ze-Knit collection drops September 15. For more info, head over to zeknit.com.

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