Whilst in Paris to give a keynote on Manufacturing Fashion Tech at Look Forward, I knew that I had to take a moment to get to know Regina Polanco and Marie Lietard-Montigny from Pyrates. Nominated for the Look Forward Fashion Award, the two womenpreners were in Paris to pitch their innovative startup to a panel of judges. As we settled down for our chat, our conversation flowed with ease as I set out to find out what exactly makes PYRATES tick.
Persistence is Key
Showcasing their latest work at #FASHIONTECH Berlin, following Look Forward a couple of days before, it sometimes feels like PYRATES came out of nowhere. We first heard of them when they took part in the Deutsche Telekom international competition, Fashion Fusion. “We wanted to get noticed, so we decided to enter some competitions,” confessed Marie. PYRATES was a finalist of the Fashion Fusion Program organised by Deutsche Telekom and sponsored by Adidas and Intel gathering the most promising European fashion-tech start-ups.
PYRATEX first capsule collection was a merger between their technology and premium organic fabric. Designed to benefit the skin and body, the active components heal, soothe and care for your body. PYRATES’ special technology is not injected nor added, it is embedded in the fabric and thus has no expiration date. PYRATEX fabric is also fully biodegradable and produced in an environmentally friendly manner, using only products and techniques that are harmless for the nature. We think that it is great how PYRATEX fabrics are ideal for underwear, sportswear, loungewear and Activewear.
Revolutionizing everyday clothing through intelligent fabrics that care and protect your body and skin, PYRATES was an idea that has been brewing for 10 years. “I was 16 years old when the idea came to me. I wanted to make clothes of the future that are easily adaptable to our life. I wanted the clothes to protect the wearer from external elements” shared founder Regina. Blending natural patented innovative fiber containing protein and amino acids with organic cotton, Regina continued to explain, “I believe that the future of fashion is greatly linked with health and well-being. We are becoming increasingly conscious of the absolute need to care for our mind and body, investing more time and money into sports, natural products and super-foods. I believe that just like super-foods became the evolution of food, smart-fashion is the logical evolution of fashion. I believe in a technology that brings us a real added value, but also in an invisible technology. Smart fashion doesn’t mean that we will have to look like we are coming out straight from Star Wars, that we will have cables and sensors everywhere. PYRATES aims at offering to the fashion world textiles with an added benefit, this invisible technology, or natural technology as I like to call it.”
The Power of Collaborations
“For us PYRATES is not just a product, it is a mission, and like any mission you do not do it alone” explained Marie. It has been through partnerships that PYRATES has been joining forces with brands and designers to create fashionable armours against external elements. A great example is the collaboration they did with Zuzana Kralova, who developed her core collection with 100% PYRATEX fabric. On establishing business partnerships with weavers Regina told me, “Natural fibers are rebels. So it is good to have partners who know what they are doing. This presented a challenge. How can I go about finding people who were prepared to have us work with their machines. This was not easy.”
As a start-up taking on this challenge, Regina confessed, “As a young woman, I found it hard to get things done in the man’s world”. She continued, “I was a 23 year old girl trying to create a uniform for the future generation and start brand using personal funds.” It was inspiring to hear the passion in her voice as she told me about the journey that she took to take PYRATES from idea to product. As we continued to talk, Regina confided that most of their decisions were based on their instincts and authenticity. “Authenticity is what people looking for.” With those words, we ended our chat. It was lovely to spend an hour or so talking with two women who show no signs of slowing down. For them PYRATES is educating the consumer on super fabrics.
Founding editor-in-chief of FashNerd.com, Muchaneta is currently one of the leading influencers writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology. She has also given talks at Premiere Vision, Munich Fabric Start and Pure London, to name a few. Besides working as a fashion innovation consultant for various fashion companies like LVMH Atelier, Muchaneta has also contributed to Vogue Business, is a senior contributor at The Interline and an associate lecturer at London College of Fashion, UAL.