“Due di Latte” has many meanings.
First it means two (in Italian: “Due”) Italian designers discovered a common passion for milk fibers (in Italian: “Latte”). Then it means that two businesswomen from Tuscany have recovered a process from the last century, patented in 1920 by an Italian, after the First World War, when all materials were in short supply. And finally it means that two dreamers have achieved their incredible idea, to turn milk waste into quality fabric, to create a series of soft T-shirts and clothing lines. Their latest collection was unveiled at the EXPO in Milan, as it has been able to create a the happy union between clothing and food, which is the theme of the 2015 World’s Fair. This is thanks to the fact that the fibers made from casein (milk protein) have truly amazing innovative qualities. They are completely natural, have no chemical additives, are hypoallergenic and may be worn by those with the most sensitive and delicate skin in total safety, as well as by those who are lactose intolerant. Milk fibers weigh less than silk; they are very light and pleasant to touch. But they have a different texture; almost impossible to describe to those who haven’t had the chance of touching them. Silk, in fact, is described as “crunchy” by industry experts, whereas soft milk fibers better resemble cashmere. Milk fabric is naturally breathable and is a thermo-regulator, leaving you cool and protected from ultraviolet rays. But the thing which makes it truly unique is its ability to moisturize the skin. The amino acids coming from milk remain in the fabric and nourish all types of skin as it is worn.
MY FIRST MILK TEE.
Antonella Bellina and Elisa Volpi are the two of “TwoOfMilk”, the literal translation of the Italian DueDiLatte. Antonella takes care of the creative part, while Elisa does the marketing. Antonella is brunette and extroverted, Elisa is blonde and reflective. They say, “We have two opposite personalities, the Devil and Holy Water, but together we complement one other. And we’re friends.” One of their first creations was a soft creamy white T-shirt with the printed words “MY FIRST MILK TEE”, which immediately made clear their revolutionary idea for this innovative fabric. Then the clothing lines and yarns have expanded over time, and most recently, the line of elegant and creamy wedding dresses, signed by the designer Simone Marulli.
The various processing procedures have been divided into categories, which use the same classification as dairy products. The first is “WHOLE MILK”, fabric made from 100% milk, particularly soft, light and bright. Then comes “SKIMMED MILK”, made with 60% milk and 40% Micromodal, a vegetable fiber completely natural without any genetic modifications. It is always very soft and delicate but slightly stronger. Followed by “MILK CREAM”, a combination of milk protein fibers and cotton, with includes a double process (60% milk and 40% Micromodal – 100% cotton). This gives the fabric flexibility and thickness, in addition to softness for more consistent models with defined volumes. Next is “DENIM MILK”, a jean fabric smooth to the touch, yet supple and soft at the same time. And finally, “RICE MILK”, coming from rice, completely biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Each garment, as with each fabric, involves the search for absolute beauty, not only aesthetically but also sensorially, resulting in particular value. Antonella says, “Unfortunately the awareness the quality of products has been lost over time and needs to be rediscovered and revived.” And it is exactly in this direction that DueDiLatte is going, bringing once again the distinguishing taste of Made in Italian in the world.
FROM MILK TO T-SHIRT.
So, how do you get fabric from a liquid? Elisa tries to simplify the bioengineering technology used in this procedure, “We start with what is leftover from milk making; making use of the protein fiber that remains in the waste. All this is done through a particular drying process, which does not lose the creaminess of the casein, the real star of our fabrics.”
Then follows the spinning and weaving, until the different models and collections are created. This year’s babies’ summer layettes line is a point of pride for DueDiLatte, particularly fresh and soft, with the added bonus of cuddling babies in the wrapping tactile properties of this incredible fabric. Raw materials are supplied by trusted farms in Tuscany, so as to guarantee the entirely Italian origin of the products, better yet, “Made in Tuscany”, as is written on the packaging.
This project starts with the leftovers of the dairy industry and ends up with articles of extraordinary excellence in the clothing sector, with a heavy emphasis on sustainable and a deep respect for the environment. Antonella finally reveals her original source of inspiration, “Where everyone saw milk, I saw a piece of clothing. Maybe because I have always firmly believed in the inspiring words of Walt Disney, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’”
They dreamt it, they said it and they’ve done it.
Photo courtesy of DueDiLatte