Photos by Matt Donders
Patricia Voto is a designer on a mission: to resurrect time-honored craftsmanship based on luxury’s original tenets. For her senior thesis, the Parsons graduate dove deep into exploring artisan crafts, finally settling on nuno felting as subject of her ethically and sustainably minded collection. Designed to be easily assembled by artisans who are already familiar with the art of weaving and felting, “Silk & Lye” distinguishes itself for having no seams. In lieu of stitching, Voto bridges disparate pieces of fabric with strips of wool roving, which she squirts with soap and water, then needle-punches into shape.
“Silks and woolen textiles are easily produced in a smattering of developing countries around the world,” Voto says, “but oftentimes, the products created by artisans are not desirable due to a lack of market knowledge.” By marrying couture garment-making and nuno-felting, Voto proposes a way for high-end designers to produce clothing entirely by hand.
Nuno-felting could offer couture designers a way to produce clothing entirely by hand.
And although luxury is more readily associated these days with logos, rather than quality workmanship, Voto sees a renaissance in sight. “Luxury goods are filled with rich heritage and require skills to be produced,” she says. “My goal is to find a way to tie the consumer back to the maker and allow the materials to create a unique item.”