Bandavej di Vaglio Tessitore Filippo
technical sportswear

Double layer: why?

Why did we develop the bandavej® fabric? We could have produced a pure wool fabric that needed much less research work and was much easier to make.

Why did we not just produce the wool fabric that slogans advertise as “the solution to keep your skin warm and dry”?

Because our direct experience proves that it cannot be!


Filippo Vaglio Tessitore, company owner and bandavej® fabric developer, briefly tells us about the path he followed to develop his product.


The bandavej® adventure started in autumn 2008, when in a sports shop I bought a 100% wool, crew-neck T-shirt. The shop keeper extolled it as a revolutionary garment in sports base layers.

I was very happy about my purchase and the day after I was already mountain bound to try it out. I thought I had finally found a base layer that meets my performance needs and solves my heavy perspiration problem. My salesman friend assured that the wool fabric would keep me warm and dry, so no spare garment in my backpack and no chill during breaks.


My first feeling upon wearing the T-shirt was very pleasant, but as perspiration began my perception changed. I started to feel an annoying tingling in the most sensitive areas and an unpleasant moist feeling on the skin that grew worse as I went on. And when heat from exertion stopped, the unpleasant feeling of damp cold grew more distinct.


I though “No, this is not the ideal solution for sports activity”.

So the desire emerged in me to use the know-how of the district where I live and my own experience in the industry to develop a fabric that brought a real solution to this kind of problem.

I live in Biella, a town that has been working with wool for centuries, where companies like Fila, Ermenegildo Zegna and Cerruti prospered, a territory with a tradition in quality textile processing that is renowned worldwide.

I had more than 20 years of experience in cashmere knitwear production, so I thought I would use it to try and produce a performance base layer. My goal would be top quality and Made in Italy. Even better, 100% Made in Biella.


This is what appealed to me most. Developing the whole product chain in my area, working “at home”, with the experience of the best Biellese manufacturers. My experience in the textile industry coupled with my passion for mountains and outdoor sports boosted me to face this new challenge.


So, where should the new path begin? Simple enough, from the start. To cook good food you need a good cook, but first you need good raw material. That's what we did we for our base layer.


Our starting point was the merino wool fiber thin gauge.

Other sports base layer manufacturers use wool fiber gauges from 21µ to 17.5µ . We chose a 16.5µ gauge, which is close to cashmere gauge.


Then we started to try out several finishes on wool, thread and fabric in order to create our 'warm and dry T-shirt'. Each time we added a finish, we immediately tailored a few garments that we could be tested by sportsmen and experts.

Sometimes we achieved slight improvements, sometimes we failed. We tested 20 different fabrics or more. The T-shirt performance had improved, it might have been good enough, but we still were not 100% satisfied.


So at the end of the path we decided to start it all over again. We asked ourselves if we could actually expect the fiber with the highest capacity to absorb water (about 33% of its weight) in the world to expel perspiration without getting soaked.

And the answer was NO!


To reduce soaking, the wool fiber is “mercerized”, a process with several treatments including chlorine, sodium metabisulphyte, a first resin finish, a silicon finish and finally spinning.

Our wool has now lost most of its natural features.


But we wanted to retain the thermal insulation and other natural features of wool while keeping the skin dry. So we concluded we needed to have a different fiber in contact with skin.

The idea of a dual-layer fabric was born.


But, which fiber could we use for the inner layer in contact with skin?


We carried out a study with textile research laboratories and found that polypropylene is the best fiber to use in contact with skin, as it is nonallergic, antibacterial and antistatic. And, most important, polypropylene is the hydrophobic fiber PAR EXCELLENCE: it absorbs 0,13% of its weight in water, which is negligible. And this feature was extremely important for our goal.


Besides, the excellent polymer “isotactic polypropylene” was invented by an Italian researcher, Giulio Natta, and earned him the Nobel prize in Chemistry 1963.


So, finally we had found out how to produce a fabric that met our needs: dry on the skin with the 'hand' and natural thermal properties of wool


A series of tests followed that enabled us to manufacture en excellent fabric, that was later patented. A 100%, 16.5 micron merino wool outer layer spun with the Zinser CompACT 3 system, and a polypropylene inner layer with two differentially twisted yarns forming sinusoidal microchannels. When the fabric moves, these microchannels help expel perspiration drops and, what Is more, they create an air cushion which further improves the insulating effect of wool.